For many women, the menopause is a particularly difficult phase of life. Some turn to hypnotherapy to relieve symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, hot flushes, stress and more.
It works because hypnosis helps people put mind over matter. Because the mind is capable of telling the body how it should and should not feel, it can help alleviate symptoms.
For example, in the case of hot flushes, oestrogen has been proven to play a part in setting the temperature of the body in the brain. So, when oestrogen levels are low, the brain believes the body is getting hot and starts to cool the body down through sweating and releasing that heat. As hot flushes are just a small malfunction in the brain, hypnosis can help train the mind to influence the body to cool down the hot flush.
As reported recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, a group of 51 women took part in a trial. For the 26 (half the group) who received hypnotherapy, they had a 68 per cent decrease in hot flushes and most of them also foundthey had fewer uncomfortable side effects f(such as loss of sleep and difficulties in social interaction). The study’s lead investigator, Gary Elkins, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, said:
"This study validates that this type of treatment is effective in decreasing hot flushes. There is a real need to study emerging mind-body interactions to treating these ailments because many times, medications are not an option".
After the success of this research, the researchers now intend to recruit 190 post-menopausal women to take part in a five year study so that they can analyse the physiological response to hypnosis.