Tim Brunson DCH

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Hypnosis and Allergies, Hay Fever, Mild Asthma



Researchers from the Division of Psychosomatic Medicine at The University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland, investigated whether hypnosis is a useful adjunct in the treatment of allergies.

In a randomised parallel group study over an observation period of two consecutive pollen seasons, 79 patients with a mean age of 34 years (range 19-54 years; 41 males), with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis to grass or birch pollen of at least 2 years duration and mild allergic asthma, were assigned to an average of 2.4 sessions of hypnosis, along with continuation of standard anti-allergic pharmacological treatment.

The controls, who received standard anti-allergic pharmacological treatment alone, were added to the study in season two. Outcome measures consisted of nasal flow under hypnosis, pollinosis symptoms from diaries and retrospective assessments, restrictions in well-being and use of anti-allergic medication.Of 79 randomised patients, 66 completed one, and 52 completed two seasons. Retrospective VAS scores yielded significant improvements in year 1 in patients who had learned self-hypnosis: pollinosis symptoms -29.2 (VAS score, range 0-100; SD 25.4; p < 0.001), restriction of well-being -26.2 (VAS score, range 0-100; SD 28.7; p < 0.001.

In year 2, the control group improved significantly, having learned self-hypnosis as well: pollinosis symptoms -24.8 (SD 29.1; p < 0.001), restriction of well-being -23.7 (SD 30.0; p < 0.001). Daily self-reports of subjects who learnt self-hypnosis do not show a significant improvement. The hazard ratio of reaching a critical flow of 70% in nasal provocation tests was 0.333 (95% CI 0.157-0.741) after having learnt and applied self-hypnosis.

The randomized, controlled clinical trial concludes that hypnosis is indeed a useful adjunct to the treatment of hay fever symptoms, allergies and mild asthma.

Citation: Langewitz W, Izakovic J, Wyler J, Schindler C, Kiss A, Bircher AJ. Effect of self-hypnosis on hay fever symptoms - a randomised controlled intervention study. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 2005;74 (3): pages 165-72. wlangewitz@uhbs.ch

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