Copyright ©The Author(s) 2017. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Anesthesiol. Mar 27, 2017; 6(1): 1-13
Published online Mar 27, 2017. doi: 10.5313/wja.v6.i1.1
Hypnosis for burn-related pain: Case studies and a review of the literature
R Lynae Roberts, Zoltan Kekecs, Laurie Lazott, Omair H Toor, Gary R Elkins
R Lynae Roberts, Gary R Elkins, Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Baylor University, Waco, TX 776798, United States
Zoltan Kekecs, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom
Laurie Lazott, Omair H Toor, Department of Anesthesiology, Baylor Scott and White Healthcare, Temple, TX 76508, United States
Laurie Lazott, Omair H Toor, Texas AM University Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Bryan, TX 77807, United States
Author contributions: Roberts RL initiated the literature review; Roberts RL and Kekecs Z wrote portions of the manuscript; Lazott L and Toor OH reviewed and revised; Elkins GR supervised, revised, and finalized the manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Authors declare no conflict of interest for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Gary R Elkins, Director of Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory, Professor of Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Baylor University, P.O. Box 97334, Waco, TX 76798, United States.
Telephone: +1-254-2960643 Fax: +1-254-2969393
Received: August 23, 2016
Peer-review started: August 24, 2016
First decision: September 27, 2016
Revised: January 5, 2017
Accepted: January 20, 2017
Article in press: January 22, 2017
Published online: March 27, 2017

Burn injuries create severe pain and psychological distress that are highly variable between patients. Distinct types of pain during various stages of injury and recovery make treatment complex. Standard pharmacological treatment of pain can have adverse effects and is not effective in treating anxiety and other psychological issues. Researchers have proposed that integrating clinical hypnosis as a complementary therapy can be highly beneficial to burn patients and their healthcare providers. The existing literature is reviewed and specific hypnosis techniques are discussed. Evidence exists indicating that adjunctive hypnosis is effective at reducing pain and procedural anxiety. Implementing a multidisciplinary burn care team that includes clinical hypnosis and focuses on the patients’ psychological health as well as pain reduction is likely to result in faster healing and reduced distress for patients and caregivers alike.

Keywords: Hypnosis, Burns, Burn units, Complementary therapies, Anesthetic hypnosis

Core tip: After a burn injury, patients can suffer from severe pain and psychological distress with high variability between patients. Standard pharmacological treatment of pain may have adverse effects and may not be effective in treating psychological issues. Evidence indicates that adjunctive hypnosis and a focus on patients’ psychological health as well as pain reduction is effective at accelerating recovery, reducing pain, and decreasing procedural anxiety. Information on clinical hypnosis as well as specific hypnosis techniques and suggestions for analgesia are discussed herein.