Children with asthma, hypnosis can help to reduce symptoms including habit coughing, unexplained sensations of breathing difficulty and reducing a child’s discomfort during medical procedures.
Ran D. Anbar, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical University, in Syracuse, NY, recommends hypnosis as a treatment option when a child's respiratory symptoms appear to have a psychological component.
In his paper, "Adding Hypnosis to the Therapeutic Toolbox of Pediatric Respiratory Care," Dr. Anbar points to symptoms such as difficulty taking a breath, a disruptive cough, hyperventilation, noise on inspiration 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 be used as a compliment to standard medical treatment and its ability to use the mind-body connection to bring about physiological changes are explored in a provocative paper in Pediatric Asthma, Allergy & Immunology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The paper is available free online.
This data substantiates the benefit of hypnosis in children with respiratory disorders with a significant mind-body component such as vocal cord dysfunction and habit cough. Hypnosis can also help lessen sensations of difficulty breathing and anxiety in other respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis and asthma. It is also an essential tool for relieving a child’s distress and anxiety and assisting them to control their response to discomfort.
He warns that the therapy shouldn’t be used by health care providers with appropriate training in the technique.
Harold Farber, MD, editor of the journal and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston wrote," Dr. 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.”