Hypnosis and relaxation with pain patients: Evidence for effectiveness

Rodger S. Kessler, David R. Patterson, Joseph Dane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Hypnosis and relaxation are prominent ancillary clinical techniques in the treatment of acute and chronic pain. This article evaluates the evidence and support for the use of these techniques as part of medical treatment. Questions are raised about the utility of grouping hypnosis and relaxation together and we review a continuum of self-regulation techniques upon which hypnosis and self regulation appear to be points. We conclude that we are not yet able to identify a continuum of effectiveness despite there being significant support for hypnotic interventions and some, but more modest, support for relaxation. In addition to clarifying methodological dilemmas we urge that future research must specifically assess hypnotic suggestibility independent of whether the intervention is or is not hypnosis, evaluate non-specific effects, and review dose effect as part of further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-78
Number of pages12
JournalSeminars in Pain Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Hypnosis
  • Pain
  • Relaxation
  • Self efficacy
  • Self regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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