It is well documented that hypnosis may actually be used as the sole anesthetic for both minor and major surgeries (August, 1960, 1961; Bowen, 1973; Elliotson, 1843; Esdaile, 1846/1976; Finer & Nylen, 1961; Lait, 1961; Marmer, 1959; Minalyka & Whanger, 1959; Monteiro & de Oliveira, 1958; Rausch, 1980; Steinberg, 1965; Tinterow, 1960). Some of these operations have included mitral commissurotomy, coarctation of the aorta, hysterectomy, thyroidectomy, hemorrhoidectomy, transurethral resection, dilation and curettage, mammaplasty, amputations, cesarean sections, tonsillectomies, and cholecystectomy. It should be noted, however, that the use of hypnoanesthesia as sole anesthetic is seldom necessary except under extenuating circumstances. Also, perhaps only 10%-20% of patients are sufficiently talented hypnotically to accomplish this.
Crasilneck and Hall (1985) cited the following indications for hypnosis in anesthesiology:
1. In situations where chemical anesthetic agents are contraindicated because of allergic reaction or hypersensitivity.
2. For certain surgical procedures during which it is desirable for the patient to be able to respond to questions or commands and when it is important to observe the patient's state of consciousness during surgery (e.g., stereotactic neurosurgical procedures, therapeutic embolizations of carotid and vertegral arteries, and for monitoring intraoperative spinal cord function).
3. With patients where fear and apprehension of general anesthesia are so significant that they may contribute to anesthetic risks.
4. When organic problems increase the risk of using chemical anesthetics and interfere with diagnostic or surgical treatment.
More commonly, hypnosis may be used in combination with chemical anesthesia. There is evidence that when hypnosis is used to augment chemoanesthesia, less general anesthesia is required (Bartlett, 1966; Crasilneck et al., 1956; Fredericks, 1980; Van Dyke, 1970). Hypnosis may also be very helpful in combination with local anesthesia (Crasilneck & Hall, 1985; Golan, 1975; Lewenstein, Iwamoto, & Schwartz, 1981).
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Hypnosis is a capital instrument for relaxation and alleviating stress. It helps calm down both the brain and body, giving a useful rest. All the same it can be rather costly to hire a clinical hypnotherapist, and we might not always want one around when we would like to destress.