When might it be helpful?

Irritable bowel syndrome

Some research studies have suggested that hypnotherapy may help with the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) , such as abdominal pain.

These studies don't provide any strong evidence for its effectiveness, but the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has nevertheless recognised hypnotherapy as a possible treatment for IBS in those who haven't responded to other treatments.

Losing weight and quitting smoking

There's only limited research evidence that hypnotherapy may help some people to lose weight and to quit smoking, so we can't be certain of its benefit.

Read the 2010 Cochrane review on Hypnotherapy for Smoking Cessation and the 2009 Cochrane review on Psychological Interventions for Overweight or Obesity .

Skin conditions

Some studies suggest that hypnotherapy can be beneficial for childhood eczema . It may also be useful for treating other minor skin conditions, especially those made worse by stress, if used alongside medicine.

Anxiety, pregnancy and childbirth

Hypnotherapy is widely promoted as a treatment for anxiety, although a systematic review of the effectiveness of hypnosis for the treatment of anxiety found there wasn't enough good evidence to support this.

That said, it has shown some promise in preventing anxiety in pregnancy and relieving pain in labour and childbirth .

Bottom line

Overall, the evidence supporting the use of hypnotherapy as a treatment in these situations isn't strong enough to make any recommendations for clinical practice.

No firm conclusions can be made, because the studies are generally only small and of poor quality.

Thatdoesn't meanhypnotherapy won't help you but if you wish to try it, be aware of the relevant safety and regulation issues,outlinedbelow.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018