Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Two years of results show that hypnosis (or ‘guided imagery’) is highly effective at reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes. This approach is effective with both Menopausal women and those with hot flashes driven by medical conditions.

The approach has been so effective with hot flashes caused by post-breast cancer medication that we have undertaken a study with several physicians at Women and Infants hospital.

For most women two to three sessions are all that are needed to dramatically reduce hot flashes. In many cases excellent results are achieved using recorded discs.

See the case study below:

Information provided by:
Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:

Premenopausal women with breast cancer who receive endocrine therapy (e.g. tamoxifen) and/or chemotherapy are at risk for experiencing premature menopause because of their treatment. The resulting symptoms, most notably hot flashes, can cause significant detriment to a patient's quality of life. Treatment for menopausal symptoms with the gold standard of hormone replacement therapy is not done routinely as it is unclear whether it can increase risk of tumor recurrence. In addition, many medical oncologists feel it is contraindicated in this population, especially among women whose breast cancers have estrogen receptors. This has lead to an increased interest in options other than estrogen replacement in the treatment of hot flashes, though most investigations of alternative medications have shown a suboptimal response.

Recent studies have suggested that non-drug treatments using alternative or complementary therapies may be effective. Specifically, hypnosis has been promoted as a means to control hot flashes, though it has not been tested in a randomized fashion. In accordance with the National Cancer Institute's recent initiatives to expand the goals of clinical trials to include symptom management studies, our purpose is to evaluate the role of complementary and alternative therapies for improvement of symptoms in women with breast cancer. Specifically, we plan to evaluate the use of hypnotherapy for the treatment of therapy-induced hot flashes in breast cancer survivors. We intend to recruit 60 women into a pilot feasibility trial comparing hypnotherapy to the drug gabapentin (Neurontin®) for the treatment of therapy-induced hot flashes in eligible women who are receiving care at the Breast Health Center. We have chosen gabapentin based on recent studies showing it may be an effective non-estrogen treatment for this indication.

We will identify patients who are experiencing at least one daily hot flash as a result of the treatment they received for their breast cancer for participation. When enrolled, they will be randomized into either the treatment arm, in which they will receive daily gabapentin, or the experimental arm, in which they will undergo weekly hypnotherapy.

Our study hypothesis is that hypnotherapy will be more effective than gabapentin in the control of hot flashes in this population.

Hypnosis For Better Living

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