Lowering stress-related high blood pressure though self-hypnosis
For many people, essential hypertension is an unfortunate consequence of leading a stressful life. Essential hypertension refers to high blood pressure that is not caused by any medical problem but instead caused by something else, such as stress from the way in which people live their lives.
The standard treatment for essential hypertension usually involves some type of drugs, which sometimes involve unpleasant side effects and typically need to be taken indefinitely. A team of researchers from a variety of backgrounds recently published findings from a preliminary study on the effectiveness of self-hypnosis for treating essential hypertension.
Twenty-three inpatients at a veteran's hospital volunteered to participate in the study. They had all been recently diagnosed with essential hypertension. The participants were divided into three groups: the treatment group, the attention-only group, and the control group. The participants in the treatment group were taught how to hypnotize themselves across several sessions and were instructed to practice the technique at home twice a day. The participants in the attention-only group were just asked to try to relax as much as they could during several sessions at home twice a day. The participants in the control group just had their blood pressure taken.
Based on the results of the present study, the use of self-hypnosis to treat essential hypertension seems promising. The participants who practiced self-hypnosis tended to have lower blood pressure than did those who did not. Although the present study did not involve many participants and should be repeated with a larger number of participants to corroborate the findings, it appears as though self-hypnosis could prove to be a worthwhile supplement to drug-based treatments of essential hypertension.
Source: Raskin, R., Raps, C., Luskin, F., Carlson, R., & Cristal, R. (1999). Pilot study of the effect of self-hypnosis on the medical management of essential hypertension.