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Yes to Life's website content is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information is for educational and informational purposes only and has not been reviewed by medical doctors or oncologists. Cancer is a highly complex group of diseases, and it is known to manifest differently in different people, often responding more favourably to individualised approaches to treatment and care. Yes to Life advocates that any person diagnosed with, or suspected of having, cancer, consults with a suitably qualified and experienced medical professional before initiating any type of therapy or supportive treatment. Click here to read our full Disclaimer.
Also Known As:
Suggestion Hypnotherapy, Analytical Hypnotherapy, Cognitive Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation and focused concentration. It is an altered state of consciousness into which you allow yourself to enter, with the guidance of a therapist. In this state, people can frequently access understandings of the causes of behaviour, of past feelings, and of their deepest desires which the business and demands of daily life do not generally allow. These understandings can then be used to underpin and shape present behaviour and help to elicit changes in certain perceptions, sensations, feelings, thoughts and behaviours. You are in control at all times, you always know what is happening, and you can come out of the altered state at any time by simply opening your eyes.


During your first visit, the hypnotherapist will ask about your general health, symptoms, your medical history, and the desired results, in order to decide on the best approach for you. Using a gentle, reassuring and calming tone, your hypnotherapist will guide you into a relaxed state, somewhere in between being asleep and awake. Once you are in this daydream state, your conscious, or alert mind is relaxed and the therapist can then work with your subconscious, promoting positive and healing messages. During all hypnotherapy sessions you will remain in full control, and will be able to feel, hear, speak and be fully aware of what is happening around you.


Altered states of awareness have been recognised for thousands of years and hypnosis is widely accepted as a beneficial psychological therapy to access our inner potential. The term hypnosis, is derived from the Greek word hypnos, meaning sleep. The Greeks and Romans had a strong history in hypnotherapy. Chinese medicine recognises over 5000 years of hypnotic relationship between healers and patients. In more modern times, Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) was regarded as the father of hypnotherapy. The word mesmerised is derived from Mesmer`s name. Scottish surgeons James Braid (1795-1860) and James Esdaile (1808-1859) validated the use of hypnosis prior to surgery. They recognised the benefits for patients and were among the first doctors to have hypnosis accepted by their medical peers. During the mid-1900s, Milton Erickson was a well-known psychiatrist who used hypnotherapy in his practice. In 1958, both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association recognised hypnotherapy as a valid medical procedure. Since 1995, the National Institute of Health has recommended hypnotherapy as a treatment for chronic pain.


Hypnotherapy is generally very safe. Most people say that they have a positive experience with it, although some people report negative side effects, such as increased anxiety. You shouldn’t use hypnotherapy with some medical conditions, as it could make them worse. These include psychosis, personality disorders, and epilepsy. If you have other types of mental health problems, or a serious illness such as cancer, you should always see a hypnotherapist who has experience of treating your condition. Children under the age of 7 should only be hypnotised by a therapist who is trained in working with this age group. Studies have shown that hypnotherapy can improve cancer-related symptoms such as anxiety (including anticipatory nausea and vomiting), fatigue, and sleep disturbance and can reduce pain (especially effective in control of pain after invasive procedures or surgery) and nausea. It has also been found to be effective for mucositis pain. Since hypnotherapy is a non-invasive therapy, it is particularly good for children in managing procedure-related pain, anxiety, and distress.


£50-90. Some clinics are able to offer an initial package of up to eight free/ low cost sessions. A session of hypnotherapy privately can cost between 50 and 90. Your GP may also be able to recommend a hypnotherapist who works within the NHS.

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