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.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org