Mindfulness training and hypnosis can reduce pain in hospital patients

Although Mindfulness is not something new, it is still regarded as a ‘new-age’ or alternative therapy by many. Mindfulness training teaches people to focus their attention fully on the present moment and to be aware of the sensations they experience.

In fact, Mindfulness has been in use in the West for decades. In psychology and psychiatry Mindfulness training has been developed to reduce depression symptoms, psychosis, anxiety and drug addiction. Yet many chronic pain patients are dubious of the benefits of mindfulness and other mind-body therapies.

However, according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine; hypnosis and mindfulness training can significantly reduce acute pain in hospital patients.

Even more encouraging was the finding that mind-body therapies can give immediate relief to people suffering from acute pain.

mindfulness training reduces pain

Mindfulness training reduced pain in hospital patients

At the University of Utah researchers enrolled 244 hospital patients in the study. These patients had reported “intolerable pain” or “inadequate pain control” as a result of illness, disease or surgical procedures. They were randomly assigned to a single 15-minute session in one of three mind-body therapies: mindfulness, hypnotic suggestion or pain coping education.

All three types of intervention reduced the patients’ pain and anxiety, while increasing their feelings of relaxation.

Those who received mindfulness training had a 23 percent reduction. Whilst those who learned pain coping techniques experienced a 9 percent reduction.

The best results were seen by those who received hypnosis. They experienced an immediate 29 percent reduction in pain.

Patients who received hypnosis or mindfulness training also had a significant decrease in their desire for opioid medication.

mindfulness training can reduce pain in hospital patients

Mindfulness training can reduce pain in hospital patients – image University of Utah

The author of the study is Eric Garland. Garland’s previous research has found that multi-week mindfulness training programs can be an effective way to reduce chronic pain and decrease prescription opioid misuse.

However; the new study added a new dimension to that work by showing that brief mind-body therapies can give immediate relief to people suffering from acute pain. “It was really exciting and quite amazing to see such dramatic results from a single mind-body session,” said Garland.

Garland is now the director of the Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development. He and his research team are planning a larger, national study of mind-body therapies to involve thousands of patients in hospitals around the USA.

Read the full study here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11606-017-4116-9