5 Ways Hypnosis Can Help You Manage Asthma | Toronto Hypnotherapy

Updated: Mar 30

You Can Use the Power of Your Own Mind to Change the Way You Breathe and Live



Did you know that hypnotherapy can be used to help people with asthma? There are a number of ways in which hypnotherapy can be beneficial for people with asthma, and in this blog post we will discuss five of them. If you or someone you know suffers from asthma, it is definitely worth considering hypnotherapy as a treatment option!

Asthma is a condition that affects the airways, and in some cases can be extremely debilitating. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. Asthma can be triggered by a number of things, including exercise, cold weather, dust mites, animal dander, and pollen. In severe cases, it can even be triggered by strong emotions.

While there is no cure for asthma, it can be controlled with medication. However, many people find that their asthma medication does not always work as well as they would like it to. This is where hypnotherapy comes in. Hypnosis can help to relax the mind and body, which in turn can help to reduce the symptoms of asthma.

Here are five ways in which hypnotherapy can help people with asthma:

  • Hypnosis can help to relax the mind and body, which can lead to less asthma symptoms. Studies show that in many cases Asthma can be controlled or even resolved through learning to use your body and both your conscious and subconscious mind in new and empowering ways.

  • Hypnosis can help people to control their breathing, which is often a difficult task for asthmatics. Learning to control your breath and using it in ways that allow you control over your experience is easy, effective, and not only helps with asthma but also with triggers for asthma, such as stress and anxiety.

  • Hypnosis can help asthmatics to identify and avoid triggers that may cause an asthma attack. Holistic Mental Health Frameworks can help you to identify and understand the triggers that can lead to uncomfortable flare-ups of asthma, and in many cases completely resolve them.

  • Hypnosis can help people with asthma to feel more confident and in control of their condition. The more you understand your mind and body, and the more skills you have to work with them, the better you feel.

  • Hypnosis can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which are often trigger factors for asthma attacks. Mainstream talk therapy mostly thinks of stress and anxiety as things you have to "manage". Hypnotherapy actually allows you to release the past completely, reframe what's happening in the present, and live your life free of the stress and anxiety that may be triggering your asthma.


If you're looking for an alternative way to manage your asthma, why not try hypnotherapy? Hypnosis can help to relax the mind and body, improve breathing techniques, identify and manage triggers, and even increase confidence and motivation.



If you or someone you know suffers from asthma, explore some of the studies below showing how Hypnotherapy is a powerful, drug-free approach to healing your emotions and learning to manage asthma symptoms with no side effects.:


Chronic asthma and improvement with relaxation induced by hypnotherapy.

Sixteen chronic asthmatic patients inadequately controlled by drugs had, after one year of hypnotherapy, a fall in admissions from 44 in the year before starting therapy to 13 in the year after. Duration of stay was reduced for 13 patients by 249 days; prednisolone was withdrawn in 6, reduced in 8 and increased in none. Side effects of drugs were reduced.

Hypnosis in pediatrics: applications at a pediatric pulmonary center. Hypnotherapy was offered to 303 patients from May 1, 1998 - October 31, 2000. Hypnotherapy was associated with improvement in 80% of patients with persistent asthma, chest pain/pressure, habit cough, hyperventilation, shortness of breath, sighing, and vocal cord dysfunction. When improvement was reported, in some cases symptoms resolved immediately after hypnotherapy was first employed. For the others improvement was achieved after hypnosis was used for a few weeks. No patients' symptoms worsened and no new symptoms emerged following hypnotherapy. Patients described in this report were unlikely to have achieved rapid improvement in their symptoms without the use of hypnotherapy. Therefore, hypnotherapy can be an important complementary therapy for patients in a pediatric practice.

Hypnosis and asthma: a critical review. Hackman RM, Stern JS, Gershwin ME. University of California, Davis 95616, USA.

Asthma is among the most common chronic diseases of the western world and has significant effects on patients' health and quality of life. Hypnosis has been used clinically to treat a variety of disorders that are refractive to pharmaceutical-based therapies, including asthma, but relatively little attention has been given recently to the use of clinical hypnosis as a standard treatment for asthma. Existing data suggest that hypnosis efficacy is enhanced in subjects who are susceptible to the treatment modality, with experienced investigators, when administered over several sessions, and when reinforced by patient Self-Hypnosis. Children in particular appear to respond well to hypnosis as a tool for improving asthma symptoms.

Helping children with asthma by repairing maternal-infant bonding problems.

Studies about the psychology of childhood asthma have revealed that parenting difficulties are related to the development of asthma in some children. Disruptions in maternal-infant bonding are highly correlated with pediatric asthma and are presented as a cause for these parenting problems. Bonding problems are known to be caused most often by physical separation at birth or by some recent trauma in the mother's life. By using hypnosis to remove the pain of the separation or trauma in the mother, and by creating a new birth history in her imagination, some children's asthmatic symptoms have been shown to remit or greatly improve. The hypnotic method for this treatment is described.

Self-hypnosis for anxiety associated with severe asthma: a case report.

BACKGROUND: Management of asthma can be complicated by both medical and psychiatric conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux, chronic sinusitis, and anxiety. When symptoms of asthma are interpreted without regard to such conditions treatment may yield a suboptimal outcome. For example, anxiety-associated dyspnea, tachypnea, and chest tightness can be mistakenly interpreted as resulting from an exacerbation of asthma. Medical treatment directed only for asthma may thus lead to overuse of asthma medications and increased hospitalizations. By using self-hypnosis, the patient was able to reduce her dependence on bronchodilators. Following modification of her medical therapy under supervision of the pulmonologist, and regular use of hypnosis, the patient ultimately was weaned off her systemic steroid therapy. This report emphasizes that anxiety must be considered as a comorbid condition in the treatment of asthma. Self-hypnosis can be a useful skill in the treatment of a patient with anxiety and asthma.

Hypnotherapy in the treatment of bronchial asthma. The efficacy of hypnotherapy in aborting acute asthmatic attacks was studied in 17 children ranging in age from six to 17. All had as their primary diagnosis bronchial asthma. Prior to hypnotic induction pulmonary function was assessed, then monitored in the immediate post hypnotic period and at two intervals thereafter. The average improvement for all subjects was greater than 50% above the baseline measurement as documented by spirometry, monitored dyspnea, wheezing and subjective ratings by the subjects. It is suggested that hypnotherapy may be an important tool in ameliorating asthma, improving ventilatory capacity and promoting relaxation without recourse to pharmacologic agents. One explanation offered is that hypnosis affects an automic response, thereby diminishing bronchospasm.

Psychological aspects of asthma. Asthma can be affected by stress, anxiety, sadness, and suggestion, as well as by environmental irritants or allergens, exercise, and infection. It also is associated with an elevated prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders. Asthma and these psychological states and traits may mutually potentiate each other through direct psychophysiological mediation, nonadherence to medical regimen, exposure to asthma triggers, and inaccuracy of asthma symptom perception. Defensiveness is associated with inaccurate perception of airway resistance and stress-related bronchoconstriction. Asthma education programs that teach about the nature of the disease, medications, and trigger avoidance tend to reduce asthma morbidity. Other promising psychological interventions as adjuncts to medical treatment include training in symptom perception, stress management, hypnosis, yoga, and several biofeedback procedures.

Improvement in bronchial hyper-responsiveness in patients with moderate asthma after treatment with a hypnotic technique: a randomised controlled trial. A prospective, randomised, single blind, and controlled trial of a hypnotic technique was undertaken in 39 adults with mild to moderate asthma graded for low and high susceptibility to hypnosis. After a six week course of hypnotherapy 12 patients with a high susceptibility score showed a 74.9% improvement (p less than 0.01) in the degree of bronchial hyper-responsiveness to a standardised methacholine challenge test. Daily home recordings of symptoms improved by 41% (p less than 0.01), peak expiratory flow rates improved by 5.5% (p less than 0.01), and use of bronchodilators decreased by 26.2% (p less than 0.05). The improvement in bronchial hyper-reactivity occurred without a change in subjective appreciation of the degree of bronchoconstriction. A control group 17 patients and 10 patients undergoing treatment with low susceptibility to hypnosis had no change in either bronchial hyper-responsiveness or any of the symptoms recorded at home. This study shows the efficacy of a hypnotic technique in adult asthmatics who are moderately to highly susceptible to hypnosis.

Hypnosis for exercise-induced asthma.

Hypnosis has been used for many years in the treatment of asthma, but studies of its usefulness have been controversial. We assessed the efficacy of hypnosis in attenuating exercise-induced asthma (EIA) in 10 stable asthmatics. The subjects ran on a treadmill while mouth breathing for 6 min on 5 different days. Pulmonary mechanics were measured before and after each challenge. Two control exercise challenges resulted in a reproducible decrease in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). On 2 other days, saline or cromolyn by nebulization was given in a double-blind manner with the suggestion that these agents would prevent EIA. Hypnosis prior to exercise resulted in a 15.9% decrease in FEV1 compared with a 31.8% decrease on the control days (p less than 0.001). Pretreatment with cromolyn resulted in a 7.6% decrease in FEV1. We conclude that hypnosis can alter the magnitude of a pathophysiologic process, namely, the bronchospasm after exercise in patients with asthma.

Which asthmatic patients should be treated by hypnotherapy?

Certain patients with bronchial asthma can benefit, often greatly, from hypnotherapy. This report is based on a retrospective analysis of 121 asthmatic patients who were treated by hypnotherapy. Hypnotic techniques and treatment procedure are described. Of the total number, 21% had an excellent response to treatment, becoming completely free from asthma and requiring no drug therapy. A further 33% had a good response, with worthwhile decrease in frequency and severity of the attacks of asthma, or a decrease in drug requirements. About half of the 46% who had a poor response had a marked subjective improvement in general well-being. Statistical evaluation of the six variables (age, sex, result, trance depth, psychological factors and severity of the asthma) confirmed the clinical impression that the ability to go into a deep trance (closely associated with the youthfulness of the subject) gives the best possibility of improvement, especially if there are significant aetiological psychological factors present and the asthma is not severe. Subjective improvement in well-being and outlook is a potential outcome at all age levels, independent of severity of the illness or entranceability of the patient.

Hypnosis and the allergic response.

In recent years our knowledge of the immune system and the pathogenesis of immune disorders has increased. There has been much research on the complex connections between the psyche, the central nervous system and the immune system and the effect of mood on disease processes. This paper reviews the evidence on the effects of hypnosis on the allergic skin test reaction, on allergies, particularly respiratory allergies and hayfever, and on bronchial hyperreactivity and asthma. Hypnosis, which is generally regarded as an altered state of consciousness associated with concentration, relaxation and imagination, and amongst other characteristics an enhanced responsiveness to suggestion, has long been thought to be effective in the amelioration of various bodily disorders. It has seemed that the state of hypnosis is capable of a bridging or mediating function in the supposed dualism between mind and body. There has been great variation in the experimental and clinical procedures such as type of hypnotic intervention employed, the training of subjects and the timing of the intervention. Also, variability in the type of allergen used and its mode of application is evident. But despite these limitations, many of the studies have shown a link between the use of hypnosis and a changed response to an allergic stimulus or to a lessened bronchial hyperreactivity. There is as yet no clear explanation for the effectiveness of hypnosis, but there is some evidence for an influence on the neurovascular component of the allergic response.

Self-hypnosis for management of chronic dyspnea in pediatric patients. Hypnotherapy can be useful in the management of anxiety, discomfort, and psychosomatic symptoms, all of which may contribute to a complaint of dyspnea. Therefore, instruction in self-hypnosis was offered to 17 children and adolescents with chronic dyspnea, which had not resolved despite medical therapy, and who were documented to have normal lung function at rest. This report documents the result of this intervention. RESULTS: Thirteen of the 16 patients reported their dyspnea and any associated symptoms had resolved within 1 month of their final hypnosis instruction session. Eleven believed that resolution of their dyspnea was attributable to hypnosis, because their symptoms cleared immediately after they received hypnosis instruction (5 patients) or with its regular use (6). Two did not attribute resolution of dyspnea to hypnosis because they did not use it at home. The remaining 3 reported that their dyspnea had improved. Patients were followed for a mean 9 months (range: 2-15 months) after their final hypnosis session. Ten of the 16 regularly used self-hypnosis at home for at least 1 month after the final hypnosis session. There was no recurrence of dyspnea, associated symptoms, or onset of new symptoms in patients in whom the dyspnea resolved. Under supervision of the pediatric pulmonologist, 2 of 7 patients discontinued their chronic antiinflammatory therapy when they became asymptomatic after hypnosis. Subsequently, their pulmonary function remained normal.


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