Hypnotherapy Can Reduce Hot Flushes – New Research Published

Are you or someone you know suffering with uncomfortable, overwhelming hot flushes as part of the menopause?

If yes, I have just read a very interesting piece of research, recently published by researchers at the University of Baylor, in Texas, USA which shows that hypnosis can significantly help reduce the number of hot flushes menopausal women experience each day.

Here is my quick summary and links to the research in case this is of interest to you.

Article Reference

Alldredge, C., Sliwinski, J and Elkins G (2024) ‘Treating Hot Flashes with Hypnosis: Does Hypnotizability Modulate Reductions?’. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. Available at:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10880-023-09994-w

You can read the abstract by clicking on the link above but the article itself is not free and you have to purchase it for £29.99 if you don’t have access through an institution.

My overall thoughts

In my view, this is a very interesting and well done piece of research and a worthwhile read. It is also credible evidence that hypnosis can help with hot flushes and something to consider if you are suffering with them.

The research hypothesis and main findings

The study was intended to test whether ‘hypnotizability’ modulated the effect of hypnosis given to women who were experiencing hot flashes (flushes in the UK). The study showed that hypnosis did help the woman reduce hot flashes, compared to a randomised control group who were offered structured talking therapy.

Interestingly, the research showed that on average the women achieved at least a 50% reduction in hot flashes, irrespective of their hypnotizability but those with higher levels of hypnotizability achieved the improved outcomes much quicker than those with low levels of hypnotizability.

Hypnotizability was defined in the paper (and quoting other authors) as “an individual’s ability to experience suggested alterations in physiology, sensations, emotions, thoughts or behaviour during hypnosis.”

Which groups of women were involved?

Woman were invited to be part of the study if they self-reported experiencing at least 7 hot flushes per day or 50 hot flushes in total per week during a week-long baseline assessment. They must also:

What did the research involve?

The research involved a baseline assessment, then either the provision of hypnotherapy or talking therapy (called Structured Attention) for 45 minutes, once per week for 5 weeks, and then a follow up assessment at 12 weeks. Hypnoptizability was gauged using Elkins Hypnotizability Scale at the 12-week point. The hypnosis involved a standard hypnotic induction followed by suggestions for coolness, safe place imagery and relaxation and patient preference determined the relaxation theme. An audio recording of a hypnosis session was also provided and participants asked to listen to this daily.

The research involved just over 90 women assigned to each group (Hypnosis or Structured Attention) of which 84 woman concluded the hypnosis group and were involved in a test for hypnotizability (High, Moderate or Low).

Main results

The research showed that on average, all the women who were offered hypnosis achieved at least a 50% reduction in hot flashes. However, the Highly Hypnotizability group achieved this within 3 weeks and the Low Hypnotizability Group had achieved this by the 12 week follow up. There was a minimal / negligible average change in hot flashes for woman who received Structured Attention (and no hypnosis). The average reduction in hot flushes for the hypnosis groups were as follows:

Hypnotizability: % mean average reduction in hot flushes across 12 weeks

High : 79.6%

Moderate: 71.4%

Low: 60.4%

The authors conclude that hypnosis achieved a clinically significant change in the number of hot flushes experienced by the woman and that hypnotizaibility affected the rate at which this was achieved, not whether an improvement would be achieved. The authors identify a number of limitations with the research. This includes for example, that only two variables were measured, hypnotizability and hot flashes. Therefore, it is not known whether other variables may have also contributed to the improvement made, e.g. diet, exercise, lifestyle or other changes.

A reason to consider hypnotherapy?

The results of this recent research are impressive and thought provoking. So, if you or someone you know are experiencing hot flushes, it is well worth considering hypnotherapy as part of your plan.

Thank you

I would like to acknowledge and thank the authors from Baylor University, Texas, USA for having undertaken and published this excellent research and in particular, the main author Cameron Alldredge for having generously answered some of my questions and provided me with some additional information. It is fantastic to see research of this quality being undertaken about hypnotherapy and hypnosis.

Andy Hill

Hypnotherapist – Solution Focused, UK