Hypnosis in the alleviation of procedure related pain and distress in paediatric oncology patients



The aims of this study were: (1) to evaluate two different therapeutic approaches, namely direct versus indirect suggestions, in reducing pain during lumbar punctures; and (2) to explore the relationship between hypnotizability and outcome. Thirty children with leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who were undergoing regular lumbar punctures were randomly allocated to two groups. In one group, children were hypnotized and given direct suggestions associated with pain relief whilst undergoing lumbar puncture. In the second group children were given indirect hypnotic suggestions associated with pain relief. After hypnotic intervention, there was a statistically significant reduction over baseline for pain and anxiety during lumbar punctures in both groups. Direct and indirect methods were found to be equally effective. The level of hypnotizability was significantly associated with the magnitude of treatment outcome. Copyright © 1998 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis