HYPNOSIS AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Self-Hypnosis Can Cut Stress and Boost Your Immune System
A number of studies have suggested stress can hinder the body's immune system defenses. Now researchers say people may be able to fight back with the stress-relieving techniques of self-hypnosis.
In a study of medical students under exam-time stress, investigators found that those who received "hypnotic-relaxation training" did not show the same reduction in key immune system components that their untrained counterparts did.
The researchers looked at 33 medical and dental students during relatively low-stress periods and around the time of the first major exam of the term. Half of the students attended sessions where they learned to relax through self-hypnosis.
The investigators found that during exam time, the self-hypnosis students launched stronger immune responses compared with students who did not learn the technique. And the more often students practiced the relaxation strategy, the stronger their immune response.
In previous studies, the researchers found that stressful times may impair the body's wound-healing process and response to vaccination. They and other researchers have also found that relaxation techniques may combat these effects by relieving stress and boosting the immune system.
The data from this study provide encouraging evidence that interventions may reduce the immunological dis-regulation associated with acute stressors. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2001;69