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Are you considering trying hypnosis for anxiety? Do you experience panic attacks, insomnia, or other symptoms of anxiety? Wondering if hypnotherapy is right for you? Well, we’ve got relevant research to help you know more about hypnosis for anxiety.

But first, here’s a bit of information about anxiety.

What is anxiety?

When you’re anxious, you feel uneasy and worried. You might even have increased blood pressure, palpitations, and muscle tension.

Now, what causes anxiety? It’s still unknown.

But researchers think it’s a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

However, when this feeling becomes really intense and affects your daily life, it may be an anxiety disorder. Some common types include panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder.

Some anxiety symptoms are irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, and sleep disorders.

What’s the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

Two main concepts you need to understand are hypnosis and hypnotherapy. When a hypnotherapist guides you towards a trance-like state, this is hypnosis. In this state, you’re deeply relaxed, hyper-focused, and more open to positive suggestions.

On the other hand, hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis to help bring about change in the person’s behavior— get rid of bad habits, eat healthier, or feel less anxious. Significant research has supported hypnosis for weight loss, pain control, smoking cessation, promoting better sleep, and more.

Hypnotherapy can help bring about powerful changes.

Hypnosis for anxiety: How can hypnosis help with anxiety?

Hypnosis can help you cope with anxiety in three significant ways.

First, while in a hypnotic state, you become calmer and more relaxed.

Second, during the hypnosis session, the hypnotherapist can give you ‘pre-hypnotic’ and ‘post-hypnotic suggestions’ to help you cope in anxiety-inducing situations.

For instance, you are anxious about the COVID-19 pandemic.  Your therapist may say ‘ When you have thoughts about this pandemic, taking deep breaths makes you feel more relaxed.’

Those words are embedded into your subconscious so that when those distressing thoughts come in, you’re able to cope better.

Third, in some cases, hypnotherapists, such as Carla Chalah, of Hemisphere Hypnotherapy harness the power of neuroplasticity, by teaching pragmatic “brain-hack” techniques to begin rewiring the brain towards reducing anxiety. Join one of Carla’s Anti-Anxiety Toolkit classes coming up.

Is hypnosis for anxiety effective? 

Research says yes. Studies also reveal that hypnotherapy can be very effective when combined with other treatment modalities. Some wonderful adjunct modalities are acupuncture, crystal bed therapy. and Ajna Light Therapy.

Certain physical and medical conditions can make us anxious. For example, undergoing a medical procedure can cause emotional distress. In this regard, a 2008 systematic review revealed that hypnosis was an effective treatment in reducing anxiety related to surgical procedures (bypass surgery, cataract surgery, plastic surgery).

According to a 2018 study at Baylor University, hypnosis was also successful in alleviating the anxiety of post-menopausal women with hot flashes.

Several studies have also explored the efficacy of hypnosis in treating specific anxiety disorders. For instance, according to a 2015 study, hypnosis helped obstetric patients overcome their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) before giving birth. As a result, they had positive birth experiences.

Meanwhile, in 2018, a study identified clinical hypnosis as an effective treatment method for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). When used in combination with mindfulness, it can help people who suffer from this disorder learn new helpful strategies, worry less, and feel more hopeful about the future.

More recently, a 2019 review of 15 studies concluded that the average participant who underwent hypnosis reduced their anxiety a remarkable 84% more than those who didn’t receive it.

So, if you’re constantly apprehensive and restless, hypnosis can be a non-pharmacologic and non-invasive but effective anxiety treatment to consider.

Be sure to do your homework when deciding on a hypnotherapist to work with. Training, experience, and rapport with the practitioner are vital.

Would you consider hypnosis for anxiety?