Review Article

Hypnosis, anesthesia, pain management, and preparation for medical procedures

Donald Moss, Eric Willmarth


Hypnosis has a long history of use for anesthesia and pain management, as well as in assisting patient to prepare for medical procedures. This article reviews the history of hypnosis applications in clinical medicine and dentistry. Research on hypnotic susceptibility or hypnotic ability shows that the ability to respond effectively to hypnosis is a relatively stable trait, partially heritable, and measurable by means of several standard procedures. Persons low in hypnotic ability may benefit from alternative therapeutic interventions; however, the majority of medical patients will benefit from the integration of adjunctive hypnotic therapies into their medical and dental care. The article closes with a discussion of the stronger evidence-based applications of hypnosis in healthcare, and the need for well-trained certified hypnosis practitioners.

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