Edited by Andreas Kopf and Nilesh B. Patel

Hypnosis has been studied extensively and found effective for a wide range of symptoms, including acute and chronic pain, panic, surgery, burns, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), allergies, and certain skin conditions, and for controlling unwanted habits. In 1996, the U.S. National Institutes of Health judged hypnosis an effective intervention for alleviating pain from cancer and other chronic conditions. Research suggests that hypnotic sensory analgesia is at least in part mediated by reduction in spinal cord antinociceptive mechanisms in response to hypnotic suggestion. Hypnotic analgesia also may be related to brain mechanisms that prevent awareness of pain once nociception has reached higher centers via brain mechanisms. It also may reduce the affective dimension, perhaps as the subject reinterprets meanings associated with the painful sensation.