Science Supports Hypnosis for Pain Control


Hypnosis is a tool that offers considerable leverage in changing behaviours and experiences related to pain. (1)

We believe that a clear understanding of the nature of pain, and an awareness of the evidence that hypnotic techniques can help, is an excellent step towards freedom from unnecessary suffering. It helps provide a sense of control. It enables you to take responsibility for your well-being.

Tales of seemingly miraculous relief of pain have been associated with hypnosis from antiquity to the present time. 

A meta-analysis of controlled trials of hypnotic analgesia indicates that hypnosis can provide significant relief for 75% of the population. (2)

The effect is largest for those who are highly suggestible, but is also relatively large for moderately suggestible people. 

Because hypnotic pain control includes a placebo element, almost everyone can experience a reduction in pain through suggestive techniques.

Pain has a 'sensory / physical component', and an 'affective  / emotional component.' 

The sensory component pertains to the intensity of the pain experience. 

The affective, concerns the unpleasantness of the pain. That is the individual's subjective level of distress, which may be driven by conditions that fluctuate over time. 

Hypnotic suggestions can affect both components.

Self-Hypnosis and pain control

Self-hypnosis can be defined as self-induction into the hypnotic process produced by self- generated suggestions. (3)

Self-hypnosis doesn't require the presence of a hypnotist to guide your thoughts and deliver suggestions. You do it yourself. This puts you in control of your own hypnotic experience, and allows you to have responsibility for your own well-being.

More studies have explored the effects of self-hypnosis on pain than any other application using self-hypnosis.

Four studies found that self-hypnosis outperformed active controls of electromyography (EMG) feedback, cognitive restructuring, structured attention, and EMG-assessed relaxation training in reducing pain. (4,5,6,7)

Two additional studies reported that self-hypnosis outperformed more “passive” control groups, including conscious sedation, empathy, standard care, or no active treatment. (8,9)

Studies have also used self-hypnosis for pain management in children. (10,11)

All of the eight self-hypnosis pain studies mentioned indicate that self-hypnosis is useful in reducing pain. This is great news. It means we can not only help our clients experience relief from useless and unnecessary pain, but that we can teach them how to experience such relief themselves.

What's next?

Our aim in this post was to provide you with clear information about pain, and let you know about the scientific research suggesting that you can experience relief from it using suggestive techniques. If you would learn hypnosis techniques that will enable you to reduce or eliminate useless pain in others, then check out our free trial at the Jacquin Hypnosis Academy.


(1) Lynn, S. J., Kirsch, I., Barabasz, A., Cardeña, E., & Patterson, D. (2000). Hypnosis as an empirically supported clinical intervention: The state of the evidence and a look to the future. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 48, pp. 235-255.

(2) Montgomery, G. H., DuHamel, K. N., & Redd, W. H. (2000). A meta-analysis of hypnotically induced analgesia: how effective is hypnosis? International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 48, pp. 138-153.

(3) Eason, A. D., & Parris, B. A. (2019). Clinical applications of self-hypnosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 6(3), 262–278.

(4) Jensen, M. P., Barber, J., Romano, J. M., Hanley, M. A., Raichle, K. A., Molton, et al (2009). Effects of self-hypnosis training and EMG biofeedback relaxation training on chronic pain in persons with spinal-cord injury. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 57, 239–268.

(5) Jensen, M. P., Ehde, D. M., Gertz, K. J., Stoelb, B. L., Dillworth, et al (2010). Effects of self-hypnosis training and cognitive restructuring on daily pain intensity and catastrophizing in individuals with multiple sclerosis and chronic pain. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 59, 45– 63.

(6) Lang, E. V., Benotsch, E. G., Fick, L. J., Lutgendorf, S., Berbaum, M. L., Berbaum, et al (2000). Adjunctive non-pharmacological analgesia for invasive medical procedures: A randomised trial. The Lancet, 355, 1486–1490.

(7) Tan, G., Rintala, D. H., Jensen, M. P., Fukui, T., Smith, D., & Williams, W. (2015). A randomized controlled trial of hypnosis compared with bio- feedback for adults with chronic low back pain. European Journal of Pain, 19, 271–280.

(8) Lang, E. V., Berbaum, K. S., Faintuch, et al (2006). Adjunctive self-hypnotic relaxation for outpatient medical procedures: A prospective randomized trial with women undergoing large core breast biopsy. Pain, 126, 155–164.

(9) Lang, E. V., Joyce, J. S., Spiegel, D., Hamilton, D., & Lee, K. K. (1996). Self-hypnotic relaxation during interventional radiological procedures: Effects on pain perception and intravenous drug use. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 44, 106–119.

(10) Liossi, C., White, P., & Hatira, P. (2006). Randomized clinical trial of local anesthetic versus a combination of local anesthetic with self-hypnosis in the management of pediatric procedure-related pain. Health Psychology, 25, 307–315.

(11) Olness, K., MacDonald, J. T., & Uden, D. L. (1987). Comparison of self-hypnosis and propranolol in the treatment of juvenile classic migraine. Pediat- rics, 79, 593–597.