Virtual Reality Adds Zero Improvement to Hypnosis Outcomes on Mood, Fatigue

Researchers from the University of Greenwich, London, UK investigated whether hypnosis plus Virtual Reality (VR) performed more effectively than hypnosis alone.

Thirty-five healthy participants were randomized to self-hypnosis with VR imagery, standard self-hypnosis, or relaxation interventions. Changes in sleep, cortisol levels, and mood were examined.

The Self-hypnosis arm involved 10- to 20-min. sessions visualizing a healthy immune scenario. Trait absorption was also recorded as a possible moderator. Moderated regression indicated that both hypnosis interventions, with or without VR, produced significantly lower tiredness ratings than relaxation when trait absorption was high. When trait absorption was low, VR resulted in significantly higher engagement ratings, although this did not translate to demonstrable improvement in outcomes. Results suggest that VR imagery may increase engagement relative to traditional methods, but further investigation into its potential to enhance therapeutic efficacy is required.

Citation: Thompson T1, Steffert T, Steed A, Gruzelier J. A randomized controlled trial of the effects of hypnosis with 3-D virtual reality animation on tiredness, mood, and salivary cortisol. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 2011 Jan;59 (1): pages 122-42. [email protected]