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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 Mar 2021 - 19 Mar 2021


Human Studies

2021 Mar 16

Int J Clin Exp Hypn

Hypnotic Enhancement of Virtual Reality Distraction Analgesia during Thermal Pain: A Randomized Trial.


Patterson DR, Hoffman HG, Chambers G, Bennetts D, Hunner HH, Wiechman SA, Garcia-Palacios A, Jensen MP
Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2021 Mar 16:1-21.
PMID: 33724890.


Excessive pain during medical procedures is a pervasive health challenge. This study tested the (additive) analgesic efficacy of combining hypnotic analgesia and virtual reality (VR) pain distraction. A single blind, randomized, and controlled trial was used to study 205 undergraduate volunteers aged 18 to 20. The individual and combined effects of hypnotic analgesia (H) and VR distraction on experimentally induced acute thermal pain were examined using a 2 X 2, between-groups parallel design (4 groups total). Participants in groups that received hypnosis remained hypnotized during the test phase pain stimulus. The main outcome measure was "worst pain" ratings. Hypnosis reduced acute pain even for people who scored low on hypnotizability. As predicted, H+ VR was significantly more effective than VR distraction alone. However, H+ VR was not significantly more effective than hypnotic analgesia alone. Being hypnotized during thermal pain enhanced VR distraction analgesia.