Wednesday Bubble: just the facts, Jack.

Posted by on Jul 29, 2009 in hot flash, mind-body therapy | 0 comments


Today’s Bubble carries a warning that we all need to heed: results of one study cannot be applied to another.

Repeat after me: results of one study cannot be applied to another.

Last year, I wrote about an interesting study out of Baylor University showing that hypnotic therapy was effective for decreasing the frequency and severity of hot flashes among women with breast cancer. Because the results were so favourable, researchers received a sizable grant from the National Institutes of Health for a much broader study to examine the potential role of hypnosis in post-menopausal women experiencing hot flashes, but in comparison to another mind-body intervention.

Now mind you, there is evidence that hypnosis is a promising intervention among non-breast cancer patients but the studies that have been conducted have been small and have not specifically examined its therapeutic role in women entering menopause naturally.

Let’s look at the facts, shall we?

The Baylor study enrolled 51 breast cancer survivors, 25 of whom received hypnosis for their hot flashes and 26 who did not. Women receiving treatment experienced an impressive 68% reduction in a hot flashes while women receiving no treatment did not experience any relief. Expectations of relief, better known as a placebo effect, cannot be ruled out in terms of skewing the results, which is why the larger study is comparing treatments. Again, this study showed that women who experienced chemotherapy-induced menopause experienced some relief from hot flashes by undergoing hypnosis.

That brings me to the extrapolation part.

The Hot Flash Relief program is an audio program that theoretically relieves hot flashes; all that you have to do is listen to a 20 minute audio CD for 21 days. It claims to based on results of the Baylor study, and tested under questionable study conditions. Hot Flash Relief bills itself as an amazing breakthrough to help you get relief from hot flashes and night sweats without pills, hormones or risk. If you are not entirely satisfied, Hot Flash Relief will refund your money.

I’d like to point a few things out:

  • The Baylor study was conducted under controlled conditions
  • The Baylor study was not carried out among women who had undergone natural menopause
  • Hypnosis was carried out in person and under the guidance of a trained professional
  • The efficacy of hypnosis looks good but further study is required

Let’s look at Hot Flash Relief:

  • Hot Flash Relief claims that it can help any woman with hot flashes
  • Hot Flash Relief bases its effectiveness on a “study” in which women were sent the CD and then asked to report back on it via testimonials
  • Hot Flash Relief was developed by a top US hypnotist, Tom Nicoli, whose voice you will hear on the audio CD. Although he is certified and is reputable in the weight loss field, research is not his game
  • Audio hypnosis has not proven as effective as self-hypnosis for women with menopause

I want to believe, I really do. But the folks at Hot Flash Relief may be considerably more out of their minds than most of us menopausal midlifers. Before you drink kool aid, on this or any other strategy, just take a look at the facts. Money guarantee or not, you will be glad that you did!

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