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Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth in the body triggered by hormonal changes. These flashes can be accompanied by other symptoms such as reddened skin, profuse sweating, and an elevated heartbeat. Studies show that between two-thirds and 80% of all women experience at least moderate hot flashes during menopause, and a third of women continue to experience them 5 to 10 years after menopause.
If you suffer from hot flashes, hypnotherapy may be able to help. A 2012 study demonstrated that hypnosis can help reduce the number and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. The research, conducted at Baylor University’s Mind-Body Medicine Laboratory, found that hypnosis reduced hot flashes and night sweats by up to 74% in the research group.
The 187 women who participated in the study were divided into two groups. The control group received weekly counselling and listened to a recording of facts about dealing with menopausal symptoms on a daily basis. The trial group received weekly hypnosis sessions and listened to guided meditations on a daily basis.
During the hypnotherapy sessions, subjects were asked to visualise images associated with coolness. Most chose to think of mountains, flowing water or snow. This study is one of several conducted by the Baylor group showing that imagining an event and experiencing that event in reality may trigger exactly the same effects in your brain.
Results were monitored over a five-week trial. Participants kept a log of their hot flashes and doctors measured physical symptoms. Before the study, the average participant suffered from seven or more hot flashes per day.
The physiological monitoring confirmed that the women in the hypnotherapy group did not just develop better coping skills. They actually showed a marked decrease in symptoms. In fact, subjects reported around 70% fewer hot flashes by their fourth weekly session. They also reported reduced stress, lower anxiety, and better sleep quality.
The best news is that these benefits seem to be long lasting. Three months after the end of the study, the women reported an 80% average reduction in hot flashes, with some subjects reporting that their hot flashes were almost completely eliminated! When hot flashes did occur, the women claimed their symptoms were milder than before.
Advantages of using hypnosis
The only treatment proven to be more effective in preventing hot flashes is the controversial hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Estrogen is the most effective treatment, but it is not usually prescribed alone due to an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Hormone therapy is most often a combination of estrogen and progesterone. But studies have shown that HRT treatments can be harmful over the long term, so doctors now recommend that women take them for five years or less.
The problem with this approach is that many women suffer menopausal symptoms for more than five years. In the study above, the average length of symptoms suffered by the participants was nine years, and even short-term HRT can increase your risk for blood clotting and gallbladder inflammation.
Other alternative treatments have been tested over the years, including vitamin supplements, chiropractic treatments, massage therapy, and acupuncture. But none of these methods have been as effective as hypnosis in the ongoing decrease of symptoms.
Hypnotherapy has no side effects, so there is no risk in trying it. The results mentioned above took place in just a few sessions, so you won’t have to make a long-term commitment to see how effective hypnosis can be for you. If you are concerned about the health risks associated with HRT and want to try a natural, effective non-drug treatment, you should give hypnotherapy a chance.
(Photo by Xannah)