Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mesmerize your warts away...

As promised, here's some more information about hypnotism and wart removal. This study, conducted by Nicholas P. Spanos, Robert J. Stenstrom, and Joseph C. Johnston and published in 1988 in Psychosomatic Medicine, found that "subjects given hypnotic suggestion exhibited more wart regression than those given either a placebo treatment or no treatment."

Here's a bit more about the effective hypnotic treatment:

After being comfortably seated and asked to close their eyes, subjects were orally administered a 5-min hypnotic induction procedure... Following the induction procedure, and without a break in continuity, subjects were administered a suggestion for wart elimination that was 2 min in duration. The suggestion asked subjects to attend to the sensations in their target hand and informed them repeatedly that the skin around their warts was beginning to tingle and grow warm. The suggestion also informed subjects that their warts would shrink and fall off and asked them to vividly imagine their warts shrinking in size and dissolving away.

The placebo group, which I enjoyed reading about very much (particularly the bit about protective goggles), received a "cold laser treatment." The "laser" was a "metal devise with numerous dials and buttons and an opening in which subjects placed their target hand. When the 'laser' was switched on, it made a whirring sound, and a sweeping pink light could be seen in the opening. Subjects donned 'protective goggles' and placed their hand in the opening for the first of two 4-min 'laser doses.' They were told that they might experience some tingling, prickling, and warmth in their hand during the treatment but not to be alarmed at these sensations."

A third group, the control, received no treatment. At the end of the study, the subjects' remaining warts were tallied, and the researches discovered that hypnotised patients had a 41.48% reduction, "laser" patients a 22.25% reduction, and control patients a 6.39% reduction.

All subjects, recruited via posters plastered in the vicinity of the Carleton campus, were paid $15 for their participation in the study.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"The Mesmerized Mind"

Science News recently ran a wonderful article on recent work in hypnotism. Susan Gaidos reports:
"But hypnosis is more than a stage show act. For years, psychologists have used it to help patients calm preflight jitters, get a good night's sleep or chuck a cigarette habit. Hypnosis even has uses in mainstream medicine for reducing the side effects of cancer treatments and helping patients cope with pain."

But recent studies go even further and may, according to some, help lead to treatments for a range of psychiatric and neurological disorders:
"[Hypnosis] is now used as a research tool to temporarily create hallucinations, compulsions, delusions and certain types of seizures in the lab so that these phenomena can be investigated in detail."

A bit more of interest:
+ "When hypnotized people act on hypnotic suggestion, they really do see, hear, and feel differently" --color where none exists, for example. Or pain, "in the same brain areas as 'real' pain."

+ "10-15% of adults are 'highly hypnotizable'," according to David Spiegel, a psychiatrist at Stanford University, "meaning they can experience dramatic changes in perception with hypnosis."

Are you one of these? According to the article, it may be linked to "an ability to become deeply absorbed in activities such as reading, listening to music or daydreaming."

+ "Rigorously controlled studies have shown that hypnosis can also control blood pressure and even make warts go away." [wow--going to google scholar that one]

+ Researchers at the University of Geneva have been study "hysterical hand paralysis". Findings are published in Neuron.