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Hypnosis prevents the cardiovascular response to cold pressor test.

To highlight the effects of hypnotic focused analgesia (HFA), 20 healthy participants underwent a cold pressor test (CPT) in waking basal conditions (WBC) by keeping the right hand in icy water until tolerable (pain tolerance); subjective pain was quantified by visual scale immediately before extracting the hand from water. The test was then repeated while the participants were under hypnosis and underwent HFA suggestions. Cardiovascular parameters were continuously monitored. Pain tolerance was 121.5+/-96.1 sec in WBC and 411.0+/-186.7 sec during HFA (p < 0.0001), and visual rating score 7.75+/-2.29 and 2.45+/-2.98 (p < 0.0001), respectively. CPT-induced increase of total peripheral resistance was non significant during HFA and +21% (p < 0.01) in WBC. HFA therefore reduced both perception and the reflex cardiovascular consequences of pain as well. This indicates that hypnotic analgesia implies a decrease of sensitivity and/or a block of transmission of painful stimuli, with depression of the nervous reflex arc.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Padova, Via Giustiniani No. 2, Padova, Italy.

Am J Clin Hypn. 2007 Apr;49(4):255-66.

Posted: 06/21/2007

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