Effect of hypnotic suggestion on fibromyalgic pain: comparison between hypnosis and relaxation

Eur J Pain. 2007 May;11(4):463-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2006.06.006. Epub 2006 Aug 4.


The main aims of this experimental study are: (1) to compare the relative effects of analgesia suggestions and relaxation suggestions on clinical pain, and (2) to compare the relative effect of relaxation suggestions when they are presented as "hypnosis" and as "relaxation training". Forty-five patients with fibromyalgia were randomly assigned to one of the following experimental conditions: (a) hypnosis with relaxation suggestions; (b) hypnosis with analgesia suggestions; (c) relaxation. Before and after the experimental session, the pain intensity was measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS) and the sensory and affective dimensions were measured with the McGill Pain Questionnaire. The results showed: (1) that hypnosis followed by analgesia suggestions has a greater effect on the intensity of pain and on the sensory dimension of pain than hypnosis followed by relaxation suggestions; (2) that the effect of hypnosis followed by relaxation suggestions is not greater than relaxation. We discuss the implications of the study on our understanding of the importance of suggestions used in hypnosis and of the differences and similarities between hypnotic relaxation and relaxation training.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Relaxation / physiology
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires