Shunning medication in favor of hypnosis? Some patients at University of Miami’s Jackson Memorial Medical Center are doing just that.

James Blash has an injury that cut straight to the bone. Now after surgery he’s having his wound drained, cleaned and re-dressed — all without medication. He opted for hypnosis.

James Blash, patient:
“It went fine. I didn’t feel hardly any pain cause I was concentrating on blocking my mind out.”

Psychologist Judy Lasher explains how it works.

Judy Lasher, Ph.D., attending psychologist, University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Medical Center:
“When somebody is in a lot of pain they are already in trance, because trance is a coning down of attention, and they have coned down their attention to the pain, so they’re already in trance, and you take it and you work from that spot.”

A study on hypnosis at the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Medical Center showed that patients who were hypnotized after surgery had less pain and suffering; less bleeding; and lower anxiety levels. The surgeon who headed the study says patients didn’t need as much medication either.

E. Anne Ouellette, M.D., chief of Hand Services Unit, Jackson Memorial Medical Center:
“When you compare everything, both shots and pills, there’s a statistically significant drop in the amount required in the group with hypnosis.”

As for the complication rate…

E. Anne Ouellette, M.D.:
“If I’ve reduced my complications by 50 percent, that’s dramatic.”

And it’s dramatic for Mr. Blash. He says he’ll use hypnosis instead of medication during his recovery.

Ninety-five percent of the population can be hypnotized. But doctors say if you don’t want to be, you can’t be. Future studies at the hospital may include the use of hypnosis during surgery without anesthesia.

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