Guide to Controlling Cancer Pain

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Hypnosis is the trance-like state of high concentration in which you are awake but calm and still. In this relaxed state, people might become more open to suggestion. Hypnosis can be used to blunt the awareness of pain, to substitute another feeling for the pain, or to change the feeling to one that’s less painful. You can be hypnotized by a person trained in hypnosis, often a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health therapist. You can also be taught to hypnotize yourself.

During hypnosis, many people feel much like we do when we begin to wake up in the morning. Even with our eyes closed, we are very aware. We can hear sounds inside or outside our house. We may feel as though we either can’t or don’t want to wake up and open our eyes.

A trained hypnotherapist can teach people to put themselves in a hypnotic state, make positive suggestions to themselves, and leave the hypnotic state when they’re ready.

Choose a hypnotherapist who’s licensed in the healing arts or who works under the supervision of someone who is licensed. To find a therapist skilled in hypnosis, ask your cancer care team, or contact a large cancer center near you.

Last Medical Review: 07/15/2015
Last Revised: 07/15/2015