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Hypnosis

Hypnosis found to reduce anxiety during breast biopsies

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: hypnosis, biopsies, mind-body medicine

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(NewsTarget) Women put into a hypnotic state experienced less pain and anxiety during breast biopsies compared with women that are given standard treatment, according to doctors.

New findings were presented at the annual conference of the Radiological Society of North America as researchers looked at 236 women who were undergoing a needle biopsy to test tissue for cancerous cells. All 236 women had their procedure carried out under local anaesthetic in an outpatient setting, but various types of care were assigned throughout the group.

Although there were various methods for care during the biopsies, the researchers found that all the women were anxious before their biopsy. During the procedure, those receiving standard care felt an increase in anxiety, another group with care emphasis on empathy patients stress levels remained the same and the last group who underwent care with hypnosis felt significantly less anxious.

The researcher's findings showed that non-pharmacologic means of care can be very powerful -- and there are no side effects. All three groups reported pain during the biopsy, but the patients given the empathetic and hypnosis care felt significantly less discomfort than those given the standard treatment according to the team's report.

Elvira Lang -- lead researcher and associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School -- stated "The results extend prior assumptions about mind-body interventions in that self-hypnotic relaxation can be learned very quickly right on the procedure table without additional cost, challenging the notion that extensive office visits or preparation are necessary."

Another team member -- Dr. Alexis Willett -- stated that "The development of new ways to ease side effects, such as pain and anxiety which some women experience when having a biopsy, are always welcome.

"Studies like this which assess the potential effectiveness of different therapies are important in increasing understanding of how best to support patients at a stressful time."

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