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Chemotherapy Relief

Vancouver, Washington Chemotherapy Relief

Clinical hypnosis has been defined as a mind-body therapy that involves a deeply relaxed state, individualized mental imagery, and therapeutic suggestion. Clinical hypnosis has a very long history, with reports of medical application dating back to the 18th century.


Hypnosis has been specifically employed in the palliative care of cancer patients to reduce symptoms associated with radiation and chemotherapy, such as pain, nausea, fatigue, hot flashes, and sleep dysfunction. Length of in office hypnotic treatment typically is approximately five sessions. Patients are provided with individualized self-hypnosis MP3s after each session to use at home. The practice of self-hypnosis helps patients achieve a relaxed, therapeutic, hypnotic state.


Patients with cancer frequently experience pain, sickness, and nausea. For women with breast cancer, hot flashes, loss of self-esteem, and fear of surgery are also highly common.

These and other benefits of clinical hypnosis have been researched and presented to the medical community:

  • Reduced pain and stress associated with the cancer itself.

  • A decrease in the after-effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments

  • Improved mental state with less stress, less anxiety, and the feeling of a greater control and acceptance of the situation

  • Better postsurgical response measured as decrease in pain requiring less medication, less tiredness, and a faster healing from the surgery itself


Picture of IV drip chemotherapy

Studies have shown that patients who undergo hypnosis before surgery or before chemotherapy or radiation therapy generally heal faster, experience less pain and therefore need less pain medication, and are less anxious about their situation. The use of hypnotic techniques on pain management found that 75% of the participants in the studies reported less pain compared with the control groups. Another study in that literature review also reported that participants experienced less anxiety, less pain, less blood loss, and less postoperative nausea and vomiting.


Patients with cancer can use hypnosis to activate and trigger their immune system and aid their body in fighting the disease. Patients are often given instructions on using guided imagery to visualize their immune system working with their treatment to defeat the disease and eliminate toxins from their body.

Hypnotherapy for the management of chronic pain has been demonstrated to provide relief for the symptoms of pain in cancer, arthritis, sickle cell disease, temporomandibular disorder, and fibromyalgia. Hypnosis has demonstrated positive outcomes for the reduction of chronic and procedural-related pain in oncology.


A study of breast cancer patients found that those assigned to treatment (standard care or expressive-supportive therapy) that included clinical hypnosis demonstrated significantly less pain. In addition, patients who underwent hypnosis reported significantly less of an increase in pain over time.


It has been reported that 70% to 80% of all cancer patients who receive chemotherapy experience nausea and vomiting. In a randomized study of the effectiveness of hypnosis in reducing nausea and vomiting in patients receiving chemotherapy, researchers found patients participating in hypnosis had less anticipatory nausea and vomiting and less overall vomiting compared with controls who did not undergo hypnosis. This finding was replicated in a later study also demonstrating that patients using clinical hypnosis showed a reduced need for antiemetic medication. Results of a study of a 200 breast cancer patients who underwent a presurgical hypnosis intervention to improve postsurgical side effects suggest that, to reduce postsurgical nausea, clinical hypnotic interventions should be designed to specifically target patient expectancies and distress


Cancer-related fatigue has long been recognized as one of the most difficult symptoms to manage during cancer treatment, and it remains the most common unrelieved symptom of cancer. Research suggests that fatigue is a multidimensional syndrome which results from both cancer and cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 


Fatigue can affect 60% to 90% of patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy. A study was conducted to test the effectiveness of hypnosis for radiotherapy-related fatigue with breast cancer patients. The results showed that the hypnosis patients’ fatigue did not increase over the course of treatment, whereas fatigue among non-hypnosis patients receiving standard care increased linearly until the end of treatment.


Clinical hypnosis for the treatment of hot flashes has been found to produce a 69% reduction of hot flashes relative to baseline and are comparable or superior to results from open-label studies with SSRI and SNRI medications.


At the conclusion of the 5-week treatment period, not only did cancer patients report fewer hot flash related daily disturbances, but they also reported significant improvements in sleep quality, as well as fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. This study provides an example of how hypnosis may be effective at treating a target symptom and improving the patient’s overall quality of life.

Hot Flashes

Hypnosis can be an effective treatment option for cancer patients suffering from sleep problems. Cancer patients experience sleeping difficulties for a number of reasons, including anxiety related to diagnosis, depression, pain, fatigue, and other treatment-related side effects. Cancer patients have been reported to be nearly three times more likely than members of the general population to meet diagnostic criteria for insomnia.


Hypnosis provides cancer patients with a safe alternative treatment option that not only improves the ability to obtain restful sleep, but also leads to improvements in other symptom areas.


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Let's help you get back to feeling like yourself, again.  

Program includes 6 Hypnotherapy sessions and 2 personalized MP3s to maximize your relief,

1. Montgomery GH, Schnur JB, Kravits K. Hypnosis for cancer care: over 200 years young. CA Cancer J Clin. 2013;63(1):31-41. doi: 10.3322/caac.21165.


2. Hypnosis, meditation, and relaxation for pain treatment. WebMD web site. Reviewed on August 1, 2016. Accessed January 11, 2016.


3. Elkins G, Fisher W, Sliwinsky J. Clinical hypnosis for the palliative care of cancer patients. Oncology (Williston Park). 2012;26(8 suppl nurse ed):26-30. Accessed January 11, 2017.


4. Patterson D, Jensen M: Hypnosis and clinical pain. Psychol Bull 129(4):495–521, 2003.


5. Spiegel D, Bloom JR: Group therapy and hypnosis reduce metastatic breast carcinoma pain. Psychosom Med 45(4):333–339, 2009.


6. Elkins GR, Cheung A, Marcus J, et al: Hypnosis to reduce pain in cancer survivors with advanced disease: A prospective study. J Cancer Integ Med 2(4):167–172, 2004.

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