Hypnosis May Help Lessen Hot Flashes

U.S. researchers suggest hypnotic relaxation therapy may help decrease hot flashes in menopausal women.

The effects of hot flashes -- such as loss of sleep -- also significantly decreased in the majority of women receiving hypnosis, says lead investigator Gary Elkins of Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

The study, published online in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, involved 26 breast cancer survivors receiving hypnotic relaxation therapy had a 68 percent decrease in hot flashes compared to 25 breast cancer survivors not receiving hypnosis.

"This study validates that this type of treatment is effective in decreasing hot flashes," Elkins said in a statement. "There is a real need to study emerging mind-body interactions to treating these ailments because many times medication are not an option."

Elkins says breast cancer survivors were chosen because medications given to prevent cancer re-occurrence often times cause them to go into menopause in a matter of days but an increased risk of breast cancer rules out hormone replacement therapy as an option.

Elkins is starting a large, randomized five-year clinical trial of hypnosis and other mind-body interventions involving 180 post-menopausal women who entered menopause naturally and are experiencing hot flashes.

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