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Originally published May 1 2009

Hypnosis Therapy Helps Pediatric Cancer Patients

by Steve G. Jones, Ed.S.

(NaturalNews) According to the National Cancer Institute, almost 11,000 children (under the age of 15) will be diagnosed with a form of cancer in 2008. Advances in cancer research and cancer treatments have greatly improved since the 1970`s. Before the 1970`s children with cancer had a 50% 5-year survival rate. Now the 5-year survival rate is 80% and the 10-year survival rate is 75%. These survival statistics are based on children from infancy to the age of 18. New studies have now found that hypnosis, as an adjunct therapy, can help speed up the healing process due to the treatment of cancer in children.

Research has been performed using adjunct therapies to help children with cancer cope with the side effects of various cancer treatments. The goal in treating cancer is to cure the child of cancer, but there are usually unpleasant side effects of treatment. All treatments can cause fear in the child because with each procedure, they already have a preconceived notion of what is to come. There are a lot of physical and psychological side effects that go along with cancer. There have been many studies that have tested different therapies including hypnotherapy.

A study appeared in The American Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology that tested the benefits of self-hypnosis on children with cancer. The study involved 25 children at the Minneapolis Children`s Health Center that were undergoing cancer treatments. Researchers wanted to see how hypnosis would relieve side effects from the treatments.

All 25 of the pediatric cancer patients were recently diagnosed with cancer at the start of the study and were asked to use self-hypnosis exercises to help relieve their symptoms. The self-hypnosis exercises included imagery and teaching the children that they could have control over their symptoms. Twenty-one of the 25 participants agreed to use self-hypnosis. Of these 21 participants, 19 children reported substantial relief from their symptoms.

This study goes to show that substantial benefits can be realized in children suffering from the side effects of cancer. The research focused mainly on nausea and pain and most of the participants reported a reduction in both. This improvement in side effects could have a major impact on the quality of life for both pediatric cancer patients and their parents. Teaching children self-hypnosis can put them in control of their symptoms (Sugarman, 1996).

Hypnotherapy can be considered an ideal treatment for children suffering not just from cancer, but from any other disease as well. The procedure is completely painless and has very little chance of discomfort. It is also very effective on children because children have the power of imagination that exceeds that of most adults. It is simpler to make a child believe that they are well when they are sick than it would be for an adult.


Olness, K. (1981). Imagery (Self-Hypnosis) as Adjunct Therapy in Childhood Cancer: Clinical Experience with 25 Patients. The American Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Fall; 3(3). 313-21.

Sugarman, L.I. (1996). Hypnosis: Teaching children self-regulation. Pediatrics.

About the author

Steve G. Jones, Ed.S. has been practicing hypnotherapy since the 1980s. He is the author of 22 books on Hypnotherapy. Steve is a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, American Board of Hypnotherapy, president of the American Alliance of Hypnotists, on the board of directors of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Lung Association, and director of the Steve G. Jones School of Clinical Hypnotherapy.
Steve G. Jones, Ed.S. is a board certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Florida (1994), a master's degree in education from Armstrong Atlantic State University (2007), and is currently working on a doctorate in education, Ed.D., at Georgia Southern University. Learn more at:

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