HYPNOTHERAPY OUTPERFORMS ANTIEMETICS
Study by Alena Guest, Clinical Hypnotherapist
Though at present it is atypical for hypnotic intervention to be ordered in a critical care facility, as the following summary demonstrates, it may be the more effective strategy and a more cost effective approach than antiemetics, in the management of a case of
Mendocino Coast District Hospital, October 2010
A 32 year old female, in her eighth week of pregnancy, presents with hyperemesis gravidarum (morning sickness) with an onset of nausea, constant pain in her upper right quadrant, accompanied by severe vomiting. The nausea does not subside and the ongoing vomiting disallows food to be kept down, despite the administration of antiemetics, in the emergency room, over a twenty four hour period.
Her attending physician, orders an hypnotic intervention.
Upon arrival bedside, the staff hypnotherapist observes the patient as she complains, “ I'm afraid to eat... nothing stays down...I keep having dry heaves.” When asked where she is, on an analog scale of zero to ten, the patient answers,“ten.”
Because the patient is in a highly suggestible state ( breathing rapidly and shallowly) the hypnotist uses a rapid induction (a modified Elman “Two Finger Eye Closure” method). When the patient shows the axiomatic signs of being in an analgesic state, the hypnotherapist combines a dissociation and dilution method (Medical Hypnotherapy, Volume 1, Tim Simmerman) to ameliorate the patient's discomfort.
Specifically, the patient is guided to create a perceptual distance from her own body; to drain the nausea out of her abdomen; and to fill her abdominal region with soothing comfort (represented by a =refreshing blue color). The therapist suggests:
1) She imagine herself enjoying the sight, smell and taste of her favorite food;
2) She sense how easily the food goes down into her relaxed stomach;
3) She visualize the remainder of her pregnancy progressing smoothly and comfortably.
Restored to a full awareness, the patient reports being at a “two” on the 0 to 10 scale. She says, “I'm surprised at how well I feel.” The duration of the medical hypnosis session is fifty five minutes, including SOAP notes.
When the hypnotherapist follows up with the patient the next day, she says that she is successfully recreating her own “blue” comfort, that she is sustaining the level “two,” and that she feels quite positive. The patient is released that day, as she is no longer in pain, she is eating well and her nausea is under control.
The following week, at a medical staff meeting, the patient's physician reports,“ I can attest that hypnosis works better than any drug we have.”
This case illustrates the potential for medical hypnosis to be utilized in a critical care setting, for the expedient improvement of a patient, as well as a reduced hospital stay, which may translate to a lower cost for the patient and the hospital.