Hypnosis helpful for non-cardiac chest pain

NEW YORK – Individuals who experience chest pain that is not caused by a heart condition or heartburn may benefit from hypnotherapy, research suggests.

So-called non-cardiac chest pain “is an extremely debilitating condition of uncertain origin which is difficult to treat and consequently has a high psychological morbidity,” Dr. Peter J. Whorwell and colleagues from Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, UK, note in a report published this month.

They examined the efficacy of hypnotherapy in 28 patients with non-cardiac chest pain. Doctors determined that esophageal reflux was not contributing to the chest pain in these patients. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive either 12 sessions of hypnotherapy or supportive therapy plus placebo medication over 17 weeks.

Twelve of the 15 hypnotherapy patients (80 percent) experienced a lessening of their chest pain, compared to 3 of the 13 control patients (23 percent).