A new study might represent a key piece of health advice for post-menopausal women: Hypnosis might reduce hot flashes by as much as 80%.
The health news comes from Baylor University, where “hypnotic relaxation therapy” led to significant health benefits in postmenopausal women. It also showed that women had an improved quality of life and suffered less anxiety and depression.
The study comprised 187 women, and lasted five weeks. The women received weekly sessions of hypnosis by clinically trained therapists. At home, they also practiced self-hypnosis using audio recordings and calming visualizations such as a mountain stream or a snowy path.
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It’s believed to be the first study that found the number of hot flashes themselves decreased through hypnosis. In fact, by just the fourth session, the subjects’ hot flashes had dropped an average of 70%. Three months later, the average was 80%. Some women reported having nearly complete elimination of hot flashes. And, the few hot flashes that were experienced were milder. The results are officially clinically significant.
The study used electronic skin monitors. When women had a hot flash, they pressed a response and the monitor recorded physiological changes such as temperature.
Hypnosis may prove to be a safe and effective choice for women struggling with menopausal symptoms. There are other treatment options out there, and they usually begin with hormone treatment (estrogen or progestin). These are linked with a 90 to 100% reduction in hot flashes, but there have been some very serious side effects. Some well-known studies in the past decade found that hormonal treatment may raise the risk of breast cancer or heart disease. Antidepressants are also sometimes used. While they can reduce hot flashes by 45% to 60%, they carry side effects as well. Herbal remedies have not outperformed placebo in studies to date.
The next steps in the investigation include determining if hypnosis can be delivered solely through audio or video recordings. This could lead to widespread use of the therapy, making it available to any woman with Internet access.
These new findings proved similar to an earlier study out of the same university that used hypnosis to reduce hot flashes in breast cancer survivors.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Hypnosis Can Almost Eliminate Hot Flashes
Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society