From: University of Utah
Published July 25, 2017 02:16 PM

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients, new study finds

Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new studypublished in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

After participating in a single, 15-minute session of one of these mind-body therapies, patients reported an immediate decrease in pain levels similar to what one might expect from an opioid painkiller. This study is the first to compare the effects of mindfulness and hypnosis on acute pain in the hospital setting.

The yearlong study’s 244 participants were patients at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City who reported experiencing unmanageable pain as the result of illness, disease or surgical procedures. Willing patients were randomly assigned to receive a brief, scripted session in one of three interventions: mindfulness, hypnotic suggestion or pain coping education. Hospital social workers who completed basic training in each scripted method provided the interventions to patients.

While all three types of intervention reduced patients’ anxiety and increased their feelings of relaxation, patients who participated in the hypnotic suggestion intervention experienced a 29 percent reduction in pain, and patients who participated in the mindfulness intervention experienced a 23 percent reduction in pain. By comparison, those who participated in the pain coping intervention experienced a 9 percent reduction. Patients receiving the two mind-body therapies also reported a significant decrease in their perceived need for opioid medication.

Read more at University of Utah

Image: Eric Garland is the associate dean for research in the College of Social Work at the University of Utah and director of the Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development. (Credit: University of Utah)

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