A new study shows that combining hypnotherapy with mindfulness training has a significant positive effect on stress levels.
Mindfulness is an ancient mental technique that is an acknowledged means of helping people manage stress and anxiety. It involves learning how to stop and become consciously aware of one’s present moment as a revitalizing respite from the ongoing rush of daily life.
A new study from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, finds that combining mindfulness with hypnotherapy may make its benefits more accessible.
The researchers concluded that hypnotherapy might allow people to achieve mindfulness goals more readily and quickly.
“Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves focusing attention on present moment awareness. It can help people cope with stress but can require months of practice and training. Hypnosis also involves focusing attention, but it includes mental imagery, relaxation, and suggestions for symptom reduction.”– study co-author Gary Elkins, Ph.D.
The researchers call their new mind-body therapy “mindful hypnotherapy.”
It represents a novel use of hypnotherapy, which more commonly serves as a treatment for pain and symptom management. The study authors assert that applying hypnosis to the practice of mindfulness speeds up the acquisition of mindfulness skills.
They hope to address concerns that learning to manage stress and anxiety with mindfulness can be a prohibitively extended, expensive process involving more than 24 hours of training.
Corresponding author Elkins cites mindfulness curricula that involve eight weekly sessions of 2–2.5 hours, in addition to an all day retreat that can last more than 8 hours. Such training can involve a major investment of time and money in what Elkins says research has not unequivocally proven to be more effective than standard cognitive therapy.
According to the authors:
“Therefore, if a mindfulness treatment could be developed that obtains results equal to or better than existing treatments but with shorter or fewer sessions, it could have advantages and represent a valuable contribution to treatment options for anxiety and stress reduction.”
Medical reference: Medical News Today