Listed in Issue 42


GINANDES and ROSENTHAL, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, USA write that hypnosis has been applied to many medical interventions for functional and psychological improvements, but that it has not been adequately tested for anatomical healing . The authors conducted a randomised controlled pilot study to determine whether a hypnotic intervention accelerated bodily tissue healing using bone fracture healing as a site-specific test.



12 healthy adult patients with the study fracture were recruited from the orthopaedic emergency department at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Mass, and McLean Hospital, Belmont Mass, and randomised either to a treatment (n = 6) or a control group (n = 6). One of the patients randomised to the treatment group withdrew prior to the intervention. All 11 subjects received standard orthopaedic care which included serial radiographs and clinical assessments throughout 12 weeks following their injury. The treatment group received a hypnotic intervention, which consisted of individual sessions and audiotapes, designed to enhance fracture healing. The main outcome measures included radiological and orthopaedic assessments of fracture healing 12 weeks following injury and the hypnotic subjects final questionnaires and test scores according to the Hypnotic Induction Scale.


The results indicated trends toward faster healing for the hypnosis group through week 9 following their injury. Objective radiographic results revealed a notable difference in fracture edge healing at 6 weeks. Orthopaedic assessments showed trends toward better healing for the hypnosis group through week 9, which included improved ankle mobility, greater functional ability to descend stairs, diminished use of analgesics in weeks 1, 3 and 9 and trends toward lower self-reported pain through 6 weeks.


These data suggest that hypnosis may be capable of enhancing both anatomical and functional fracture healing. In view of the limited sample size and restricted statistical power, further investigation of hypnosis to accelerate healing is warranted.


Ginandes CS and Rosenthal DI. Using hypnosis to accelerate the healing of bone fractures: a randomized controlled pilot study. Altern Ther Health Med 5(2): 67-75. Mar 1999.

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