Hypnosis at its Bicentennial

pp 155-162

Clinical Use of Hypnosis for Attenuation of Burn Depth

  • Dabney M. EwinAffiliated withTulane Medical School

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This paper reviews the experimental work of Chapman, Goodell, and Wolff (1959) in which they demonstrated that the inflammatory reaction and tissue damage caused by a standard burn could be increased or decreased by hypnotic suggestion. Burn depth is ordinarily a function of the temperature of the causative agent and the length of time of the contact. These vary so much in accidental burns that it is rarely possible to estimate the expected depth, and consequently any attenuation of that depth by hypnosis tends to be speculative.

The author has had 18 years of experience with burns at a local aluminum plant, and when molten aluminum at 950 degrees centigrade spills, it invariably causes third degree burns requiring skin grafting unless the area is small. A man slipped and fell into a pot of molten aluminum up to his knee; he was a good hypnotic subject, developed only second degree burns, was out of the hospital in three weeks, and returned to work in two and a half months.