Researchers from the University of Hartford reviewed the findings to see if a high level of hypnotic suggestibility (considered a stable individual trait) is necessary for a hypnotic pain intervention to relieve headache pain.

Higher suggestibility has been found to be associated with greater relief from hypnotic pain interventions, and although individuals in the high suggestibility range show the strongest response to hypnotic analgesia, people of medium suggestibility (who represent approximately one third of the population) also have been found to obtain significant relief from hypnosis.

The researchers conclude that high hypnotic suggestibility is not necessary for successful hypnotic pain intervention for headache – medium suggestibility works too .  But the available evidence does not support the efficacy of hypnotic pain interventions for people who fall in the low hypnotic suggestibility range.  According to some studies, these subjects may benefit from imaginative analgesia suggestions (guided imagery), or suggestions for pain reduction that are delivered while the person is not under hypnosis.

Citation:  Milling LS. Is high hypnotic suggestibility necessary for successful hypnotic pain intervention? Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2008 Apr;12 (2): pages 98-102. [email protected]