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    Hypnosis Halts Hot Flashes for Some Women

    Hypnosis and Hot Flashes continued...

    The rest of the women had an equal number of sessions with a clinician, but hypnosis training was not given.

    Instead, clinicians talked to the women about their symptoms and gave them encouragement about how to deal with them. These women were also asked to listen to a recording each day at home, but their recording simply had information about hot flashes.

    The study participants kept "hot flash frequency" diaries, and they also wore small sensors on their bodies that recorded their hot flashes.

    Hot Flashes Less Frequent and Intense

    After 12 weeks:

    • Women in the hypnosis group reported 74% fewer hot flashes on average, compared with 17% fewer among the other women.
    • The skin sensors showed a 57% reduction in hot flashes among the hypnosis group, compared to a 10% reduction in the non-hypnosis group.
    • The women treated with hypnosis were far less likely than the other women to report that their hot flashes interfered with their daily lives and sleep.

    “Many women do not want to take hormone therapy or any drug for hot flashes,” Elkins says. “This study shows that an alternative, non-drug treatment can be highly effective.”

    Elkins recommends that women who want to try the treatment seek out a qualified practitioner affiliated with either the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis or the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.

    Gass says she would like to see Elkins’ findings duplicated, but she adds that hypnosis could prove to be a badly needed new treatment for hot flashes.

    “This will certainly appeal to women who want to avoid drugs and who want a treatment that has few, if any, side effects,” she says.

    The study, which was published this week in the journal Menopause, was funded by the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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