Hypnosis and Parkinson’s disease

Hypnosis has been used for a long time for therapeutic purposes. It was developed in the20th century by the founding work of Milton Erickson (American psychiatrist). While many are still cautious about its virtues, many clinical and metabolic imaging studies have shown a real impact on brain structures and connecting pathways. Classically a hypnosis session takes place in 5 stages:
  • the induction phase first (or by a monotonous stimulation for example we cause a stop of ordinary perception by saturation of the sensory channels, the subject having to abstract among other things the many elements external to his environment),
  • then the subject goes through a brief stage of confusion (association of perceptions, of sensations and memories),
  • then the fundamental stage of the HYPNOTIC TRANCE (where the imaginary takes power by the good of suggestions and metaphors, stage of psychic dissociation (the body is there, the mind is elsewhere / the subject is simultaneously actor and observer of himself, he has the ability to get involved in an imaginary experience), during the trance many physiological parameters are modified (decrease in muscle tone, fall in blood pressure, decrease in breathing and pulse …),
  • then the 4th stage is that of the appropriation of this new scheme or plays to the full the therapeutic virtue (integration of these new data into the organizing principle of being),
  • then the 5th time which is that of the return to the ordinary state of consciousness (return to the usual sensoriality) which is done in different sub-stages (relationship to the body, relationship to the therapist, return to the body).
The goal of hypnotic therapy is not to remain dependent on a therapist (whose initial action remains essential to have the keys to the method and good learning) but to then appropriate the rules to practice oneself (principle of “self-hypnosis”) that everyone can practice at home and according to his needs. The area where hypnosis has been most studied is probably pain since hypno-analgesia is now well validated and used in common practice (pain center, pos-op management in some units). In Parkinson’s disease different works (Elkins 2013, Int J Clin Exp Hypn; Hawkins 2001, Pain Review) showed an improvement in quality of life parameters (PDQ-39 scale) and even in certain UPDRS items including pain, anxiety, thymic affects, sleep problems and fatigue. Other authors have proposed integrating hypnosis into the treatment of Parkinson’s tremor (Wain 1990 Am J Clin Hypn) in combination with drug treatment. So do not hesitate, enter the trance!