Hypnotherapy in Asthmatic Patients and the Importance of Trance Depth

  • David R. Collison


Certain patients with bronchial asthma can benefit, often greatly, from hypnotherapy. This paper presents a retrospective analysis of 121 asthmatic patients treated by hypnotherapy.

All 121 patients were ambulant and non-hospitalized, requiring regular drug therapy (including continuous steroids in 54 cases) and were referred for hypnotherapy. There were 68 males and 53 females with a mean age and range respectively of 27 (8 to 69) and 35 (8 to 73) years.

The individual result was classified as excellent when completely free from asthma with no drug therapy, good if there was 50% or more improvement as assessed by the decrease in frequency and severity of the attacks and drug usage, poor if there was less than 50% improvement, and nil if there was no change.

Twenty-five patients (21%, 19 under 20 years of age) had an excellent response and remained asymptomatic during the period of follow-up (greater than one year in all but two cases). Forty (35%) had a good response, 27 (22%) had a poor response, and the remaining 29 (24%) experienced no change. Twenty-nine (52%) of the 56 with a poor or nil response had subjective improvement in general well-being.

It can thus be seen that hypnotherapy appears to have a definite place in the management of asthma. In order to try and determine which of a variety of factors was most responsible for the improvement, the results were subjected to multiple factor analysis. Six factors were analyzed: age, sex, result, trance depth, psychological factors, and steroid usage (15 variables). The product-moment correlations among all the variables measured were calculated. This matrix was factor analyzed to see whether a simple economical solution could be found for the pattern of correlation, i.e., a hypothetical or conceivable explanation in terms of the small number of causal factors. The matrix was factor analyzed by the centroid method, the highest correlations being placed in the diagonal cells. This statistical evaluation confirmed the clinical impression that the ability to go into a deep trance (closely associated with youthfulness) gives the best possibility of improvement, especially when there are significant etiological psychological factors present and the asthma is not severe. Subjective improvement in well-being and outlook is a potential outcome at all age levels, independent of severity of the illness or entranceability of the patient.


Psychological Factor Asthmatic Patient Subjective Improvement Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Conceivable Explanation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Collison
    • 1
  1. 1.Australia

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