A world-first study has found medical hypnosis can reduce pain and anxiety in children being treated for serious burns.
The University of Queensland’s Child Health Research Centre (CHRC) analysed whether hypnotherapy decreased pain, anxiety, and stress for children undergoing potentially painful changes to their burns dressings.
UQ medical student and PhD candidate Stephen Chester conducted a randomised controlled trial at Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital involving 62 burns patients aged between four and 16.
“The children were randomly assigned to either the hypnotherapy or standard care group, and measures of pain, anxiety, stress, and wound healing were taken at each dressing change,” Mr Chester said.
“Children in the hypnotherapy group reported 70 per cent lower pain and 67 per cent lower anxiety scores on average, compared with those receiving standard care before their second dressing change.
“Before the third dressing change, the hypnotherapy group had 90 per cent lower pain and 84 per cent lower anxiety. These results are clinically significant.”
Mr Chester said the parents of children in the hypnotherapy group also reported significantly lower ‘worst pain’ ratings on behalf of their children across all dressing changes.