The effect of hypnosis therapy on the symptoms and disease activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Psychol Health. 2000 Nov;14(6):1089-104. doi: 10.1080/08870440008407369.


Abstract The present study aimed to assess the effectiveness of clinical hypnosis on the symptoms and disease activity of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Sixty six RA patients participated in a controlled group design. Twenty six patients learnt the hypnosis intervention, 20 patients were in a relaxation control group and 20 patients were in a waiting-list control group. During hypnosis, patients developed individual visual imagery aimed at reducing the autoimmune activity underlying the RA and at reducing the symptoms of joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Subjective assessments of symptom severity and body and joint function, using standardised questionnaires and visual analogue scales, were obtained. Objective measures of disease activity via multiple blood samples during the therapy period and at the two follow-ups were also taken. These measurements were of erythrocyte sedimentation rate. C-reactive protein, haemoglobin and leukocyte total numbers. Results indicate that the hypnosis therapy produced more significant improvements in both the subjective and objective measurements. above relaxation and medication. Improvements were also found to be of clinical significance and became even more significant when patients practised the hypnosis regularly during the follow-up periods.