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Airing Pain 65: Hypnosis and Unexplained Pain

Bringing mind and body together to reduce pain with self-hypnosis

This edition is funded by a grant from the Dorothy Howard Charitable Trust.

In this edition of Airing Pain we hear how healthcare professionals can use hypnotic techniques to help people in pain. This is not the hypnosis of stage performances, but rather simple skills that can be mastered by most people.

When patients enter the ‘meditative-type’ state of hypnosis they are able to use the imagination to change the perception of their pain and even reduce its intensity, says retired GP Dr Ann Williamson. More than just relaxation, hypnosis, she argues, gives us access to ‘mind-body links’ that are ideally suited for addressing both the physical and emotional dimensions of pain.

Dr Jane Boissiere, also a doctor practising hypnosis, calls the lack of availability of hypnosis on the NHS ‘a tragedy’. She believes it is the most effective way of addressing medically unexplained symptoms by targeting emotional trauma in a way that puts the patient in control.

Issues covered in this programme include: Hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis, meditation, alternative therapy, mindfulness, CBT: cognitive behavioural therapy, psychology, mirror therapy, neuroscience, neuro-engineering, fibromyalgia, pain perception and mental health.


  • Dr Ann Williamson, British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis
  • Dr Jane Boissiere, British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis.
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