Cool images during hypnotherapy reduce hot flashesby Hannah McLaverty-Williamson
Women who pictured images associated with coolness during hypnotherapy sessions, tended to suffer less hot flashes as they approached menopause.
It is estimated that 85 per cent of women experience hot flashes just before menopause and researchers in America, have been trying to find an effective treatment without the use of medication. Previous research found that hot flashes could be reduced by 68 per cent in breast cancer survivors using hypnotherapy, but the specific imagery they used was unknown.
Researchers surveyed 51 breast cancer survivors who took part in hypnotherapy sessions to overcome their hot flashes. The participants were asked to picture their own images to reduce hot flashes before each session. Whilst some of the women described general images, others described places they had been.
The results indicated that participants showed a preference for images associated with coolness, none used imagery associated with warmth. The themes most common in images included cool mountains, water, air or wind, snow, trees and forests.
Dr Gary Elkins of Baylor University, who conducted the studies told Science Daily: "The findings may indicate that areas of the brain activated by imagery may be identical to those activated by an actual perceived event. Consequently, it may be that while a woman suffering hot flashes imagines a cool place, she also feels cool rather than the heat of a hot flash.
"These findings really give guidance to what women respond to. This study supports the idea that the most effective images are those that are generated by the participant themselves, in relation to their own perceptions and experiences," he added.