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Hypnotherapy Can Reduce Non-Cardiac Chest Pain

Use of the therapy associated with less intense, though no less frequent, pain

FRIDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Hypnotherapy can reduce the intensity of non-cardiac chest pain, although it doesn't seem to reduce the frequency of painful episodes in patients with angina-like pain that is not due to gastroesophageal reflux or cardiac conditions, according to a study published online April 20 in Gut.

Peter J. Whorwell, M.D., of the University of Manchester, U.K., and colleagues conducted a study of 28 patients with angina-like chest pain but with normal coronary angiography readings and with no contributory esophageal reflux. After a baseline period of four weeks, they were randomized to receive either 12 sessions of hypnotherapy or supportive therapy and placebo medication over a period of 17 weeks.

Of the 15 patients who received hypnotherapy, 12 (80 percent) reported a global improvement in pain compared with only three (23 percent) of the 13 controls. The improvement was associated with a significant reduction in pain intensity although there was no reduction in frequency. Subjects in the hypnotherapy group also reported a significantly greater improvement in overall well-being, as well as a reduction in medication usage. However, hypnotherapy had no impact on anxiety or depression scores.

"The results of this study, undertaken on a highly selected group of patients, indicate that hypnotherapy could have considerable potential in the wider context of non-cardiac chest pain, especially as its beneficial effects in other functional disorders have been shown to be sustained," the authors conclude.

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