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Updated: February 13, 2010 15:39 IST

Study: Hypnosis can ease respiratory trouble in children

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A child demonstrates the use of inhalational medication. A new study claims hypnosis can alleviate coughing or unexplained sensations of difficulty in breathing in children. Photo: G. Krishnaswamy
The Hindu A child demonstrates the use of inhalational medication. A new study claims hypnosis can alleviate coughing or unexplained sensations of difficulty in breathing in children. Photo: G. Krishnaswamy

Hypnosis can potentially ease symptoms of respiratory diseases among kids, says a new study.

Symptoms include habitual coughing or unexplained sensations of difficulty in breathing and discomfort during medical procedures.

The research explores proper utilisation of hypnosis with conventional treatment and its ability to use the mind-body connection to bring about physiological changes.

Ran D. Anbar, professor of paediatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical University, New York, recommends hypnosis as a treatment option when a child's respiratory symptoms appear to have a psychological component.

Dr. Anbar points to symptoms like difficulty in breathing, disruptive cough, hyperventilation, noise on inhaling such as a gasp or squeak, and difficulty swallowing despite normal lung function as possible indications for the use of hypnosis to supplement medical therapy.

Symptoms that are absent during sleep, can be associated with a particular activity or location, or are linked to or triggered by an emotional response may be particularly responsive to hypnosis.

Hypnosis can also help lessen sensations of difficulty in breathing and anxiety in other respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis and asthma.

Hypnosis is also a valuable tool for easing a child's anxiety and helping patients control their response to discomfort.

Dr. Anbar cautions that hypnosis should not be attempted or considered for use by someone who is not a health care provider and has not received appropriate training in the technique, says a SUNY release.

“Anbar has added hypnosis to our therapeutic toolbox. When breathing problems have a large mind-body component, resolution with hypnosis can dramatically reduce the need for expensive testing and medications,” says Harold Farber.

Mr. Faber is the editor of Paediatric Asthma, Allergy Immunology, and associate professor of paediatrics, section of pulmonology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, which published these findings.

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