Case Study Explores Hypnosis as Potential Treatment For Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

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Two Dragons Hypnotherapy recently announced the results of a one-year case study that assessed the effects of hypnotherapy on a patient with multiple sclerosis (MS) named Kristen. Case studies such as these, while not enough to establish new scientific conclusions on how to effectively treat a disease such as MS, add to a growing number of novel therapeutic approaches that are gaining more and more attention among patients.

At age 24, Kristen noticed that her vision started to become blurry, leading her to do a check-up at the optometrist. The doctor thought at first she had optic neuritis, a nerve disorder widely known as the first sign of MS. “I said, ‘Oh my God,’” Kristen explained in a recent news release about the case study. “That’s when I started to freak out.”

MS affects about 350,000 people in the United States and can cause loss of hearing, blindness, and paralysis. Unfortunately, the only available medications currently for MS only treat symptoms and not the underlying cause.

In her efforts to learn more about treatment options, Kristen began researching Mind Body Medicine (MBM). MBM therapies like hypnosis, yoga, and acupuncture have been acknowledged as potential treatment resources, with NIH-funded studies showing that MBM therapies are successful in improving patients’ pain intensity, quality of life and anxiety for many diseases.

Kristen eventually met Cynthia Chauvin, a hypnotherapist in Northern Virginia who has been using hypnosis as a therapy for over ten years, and who wanted to assess the efficacy of the technique. “I’ve been interested in seeing if hypnosis could be used to help someone literally heal themselves,” explained Chauvin in the news release. “But it needed to be the right person.”

Chauvin felt that for her to explore hypnosis to treat medical conditions, she had to find a patient who would truly believe in the potential of the technique, and Kristen was the ideal candidate.

Kristen suffers from relapsing remitting MS, however, doctors told her that she will likely reach progressive MS. To delay her symptoms’ progression, she wanted to try hypnosis.

In hypnotherapy, the therapist uses the power of hypnosis to “suggest” behaviors in patients for comedic effect. “Sing in Martian, believe that a belt is a snake or fall in love with a complete stranger,” said Chauvin. “It’s all in good fun. But it’s also a clue as to what’s possible.”

The therapist also helps the patient to un-learn negative behaviors, such as a smoking habit. Chauvin calls her technique “trance-based learning.”

In the first session, Kristen’s MS symptoms included a sandpapery feel in her hands and numbness. Over six sessions, Chauvin put Kristen in a trance, and then “suggested” that her body repair the connections that MS has destroyed.

“We’re visualizing building bridges and getting the body and nerves talking again, something that multiple sclerosis literally interferes with,” explained Chauvin. “I don’t think this is just about changing her body to a relaxed state; I suspect we’re actually re-wiring her system on some level.”

“I don’t talk about the malady at all,” said Chauvin. “The entire session is about connectivity, working with Kristen’s deepest innate abilities and letting her body do the rest. I never use the words healing, it infers disease. I only refer to the body establishing a healthy balance on a cellular level.”

Chauvin clarified in the news release that the sessions are quite simple: “I put her into a deep relaxed state and using a basic structure I have developed, I improvise the session from that point.”

Mind-body medicine techniques are now recognized to have a positive effect on some diseases, with prestigious research centers such as Georgetown University and Harvard University launching programs on the mind-body connection. The National Institutes for Health is also actively supporting complementary medicine investigations.

“Since its establishment 16 years ago, the center has funded thousands of important research projects. Without this work, the American public would lack vital information on the safety and effectiveness of many practices and products that are widely used and readily available,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. in the news release.

After two sessions of hypnotherapy, Kristen noted that the sandpapery feel in her hands had vanished, with an MRI performed after 12 weeks showing the lesions in her brain had gone from severe to a stable state.

Kristen attributes the positive symptoms’ delay to Chauvin’s work. “I’m a lot more grounded, not as much mind chatter,” she said. “Things don’t bother me as much as they used to. I’ve reduced my stress level, and I don’t react the same way to things, my body doesn’t react the same way.”

Chauvin is now using hypnosis on other patients with chronic conditions, and according to her, the results so far have been impressive. Although there is no scientific evidence, which would require large randomized trials, the fact that Kristen’s symptoms went from a daily frequency to absent is evidence of the potential of the therapy’s effectiveness. “I would recommend Cynthia for any physical ailment you’re trying to move past,” said Kristen in the news release. “Especially if you’ve been told you have something chronic and incurable. Before you get stuck in that mindset, I would definitely recommend Cynthia’s work with hypnotherapy because I think it will make a big difference.”

“Those that believe they can be healed, can be healed,” said Chauvin. Kristen continues to be treated at Two Dragons Hypnotherapy and she is also under care of a neurologist.

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Daniela holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, a MSc in Health Psychology and a BSc in Clinical Psychology. Her work has been focused on vulnerability to psychopathology and early identification and intervention in psychosis.
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  1. Research such as this is invaluable. Of course it helps the patient themselves, but it also helps to expand the information about how using hypnosis can help with so many issues and this is just one more. I work in the UK and I am lucky enough to work with the NHS health service and talk to doctors about hypnosis. Much of this time is in helping to bust myths based on what they have seen on TV shows of course, but work such as this MS study can only help to further the use of this therapy. Wonderful news.

  2. Hats off to Two Dragons Hypnotherapy for publishing their results! It may only be a tiny sample, but everything has to start somewhere and hopefully, other sufferers of MS will see this and realise that there are other alternatives open to them and that they do not have to spend the rest of their lives managing their symptoms and suffering.
    The kind of hypnotherapy which I specialise in is different from the suggestion-based treatment outlined in the article; but with Curative Hypnotherapy too, enormous improvements can be experienced by MS sufferers.
    Here’s hoping that many others benefit from the work that Kristen and Chauvin have done!

  3. Daniel Latch says:

    Congratulations on this fine work and all who care enough to see its value for those who suffer. As a former aerospace technologist, I learned early to seek and resolve root causes rather than treat the indicating issues. As such, recognizing that patterns of frequencies of energy interact to form all structure which then provide function, we use quantum assessment to identify and clear debilitating patterns and open channels for energy flow where body-mind issues have created blockage. I do not treat disease but rather support the conditions for greater joy, wellness, wholeness, and success in life and living in ways that are noninvasive and productive in body, mind, and spirit. My fervent hope is that one day all clinics, hospitals, and medical practices will incorporate such technologies for more productive patient treatment . Good job with this effort as data is the only thing the medical community will listen to and anecdotes are easy to ignore.

  4. Bobbi says:

    Before I was diagnosed with MS, 36 years ago, I went to a Hypnotherapist to learn to deal with the pains in my neck that preceded each “attack”. He helped me hypnotize myself back to sleep and I went into remission for over 25 years!

  5. I was diagnosed with MS about 10 years ago. As a practicing hypnotherapist, I know first hand the power of the mind. I’ve been using hypnosis on myself – and there is no way I would have survived this ordeal without it. The pain (both physical and mental), the stress, anxiety, depression, the lack of sleep – all of these were improved in so many ways with hypnosis. I can’t recommend highly enough for people to learn how to use hypnosis and the power of their own minds. You can get through the struggles of MS.

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