Imagine there’re no….flashes

Posted by on Jul 18, 2010 in hot flash, mind-body therapy | 0 comments

It’s easy if you try?

Wow! What a concept, eh? Well, it might not be so far-fetched, at least according to researchers at Baylor University. Writing in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, they say that cool imagery might actually reduce the incidence of hot flashes.

Two years ago, I wrote about Baylor research that showed that hypnosis could reduce hot flashes up to 68% in breast cancer survivors. This time, the investigators asked women who had survived breast cancer to participate in five weekly  hypnosis sessions and also, to describe mental images they would use for reducing hot flashes before undergoing hypnosis. Women who participated in the study were also taught self-hypnosis techniques and were encouraged to practice daily using their preferred imagery.

The results?

Overwhelmingly and not surprisingly, the women preferred cool over warm images. In fact, more than a quarter visualized something cool water-related such as a waterfall or rain or shower. Other images included cool air or wind, cool mountains, leaves and forests and snow.

The researchers say that while more study is needed, the findings might actually help to equate certain parts of the brain that are activated through imagery to those activated by perceived events.  Conversely, it is possible that in the case of hot flashes, “think” cool equals “feel” cool although I remain less convinced of this personally.

Regardless, I’d love to see more on this as Baylor researchers continue to delve into the brain mechanisms that control hot flashes with their minds. Imagine that…

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