Does hypnosis contribute to the care of burn patients? Review of the evidence

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1989 Mar;11(2):119-24. doi: 10.1016/0163-8343(89)90055-8.


In burn treatment, hypnosis has been used for the alleviation of pain, the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression, and the acceleration of wound healing. The successful application of hypnosis decreases the extensive medication needed. Furthermore, it provides a tool to patients with which they may experience more control in situations that are often experienced as overwhelming. Notwithstanding these important applications and the very positive terms with which the results of studies are generally described, hypnosis has mostly been neglected as a tool to help burn patients. This article reviews the clinical and experimental evidence of the usefulness of hypnosis in the management of burns. Pain reduction and crisis intervention are promising applications. However, due to a lack of systematic and controlled research, more specific conclusions are precluded. In the controversial area of wound healing, claims for the effectiveness of hypnosis have been made on the basis of slim evidence and inconclusive studies. This hypothesis needs to be addressed in controlled experiments. In summary, systematic investigations are needed to confirm and supplement available clinical evidence. Recommendations for future research are given.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Burns / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Hypnosis, Anesthetic
  • Wound Healing