In this study we examined the effect of hypnosis on preoperative anxiety. Subjects were randomized into 3 groups, a hypnosis group (n = 26) who received suggestions of well-being; an attention-control group (n = 26) who received attentive listening and support without any specific hypnotic suggestions and a "standard of care" control group (n = 24). Anxiety was measured pre- and postintervention as well as on entrance to the operating rooms. We found that patients in the hypnosis group were significantly less anxious postintervention as compared with patients in the attention-control group and the control group (31 +/- 8 versus 37 +/- 9 versus 41 +/- 11, analysis of variance, P = 0.008). Moreover, on entrance to the operating rooms, the hypnosis group reported a significant decrease of 56% in their anxiety level whereas the attention-control group reported an increase of 10% in anxiety and the control group reported an increase of 47% in their anxiety (P = 0.001). In conclusion, we found that hypnosis significantly alleviates preoperative anxiety. Future studies are indicated to examine the effects of preoperative hypnosis on postoperative outcomes.