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Hypnosis and HIV/AIDS

If you are suffering from HIV/AIDS, then you know just how disheartening this disease is. Fortunately, hypnosis can help you improve the quality of your life in a number of important ways.

On an emotional level, it can help you come to terms with your diagnosis. It can help you reduce and even banish feelings of fear, anxiety and depression. And since these can all impair the functioning of your immune system, this can even lead to an improvement in your physical well-being.

Hypnosis can also be used to reduce the side-effects of any treatments you are having. For instance, it has been proven to be particularly effective when dealing with rashes and digestive disorders.

It can also be used to help you sleep more soundly, eat a more nutritious diet, and even implement a sound exercise program.

It has also been clinically proven to help you reduce any pain you may be feeling. And this in turn can lead to a significant reduction in the amount of medication you need to control this pain.

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HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet

This is where the body gets infected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which then causes the immune system to slowly fail, exposing the body to all sorts of opportunistic infections and diseases that will eventually lead to death.


  • having unprotected sex with someone who is infected;

  • being born to a mother who is infected;

  • drinking the breast milk of someone who is infected;

  • getting tattooed or pierced by equipment that was previously used on an infected person (and was improperly sterilized);

  • using a needle that was previously used by someone who is infected (and was improperly sterilized);

  • sharing a toothbrush, razor or anything that may contain blood with someone who is infected.


  • a progressive decline in the number of CD+4 T-cells;

  • a progressive increase in the amount of Human Immunodeficiency Virus in certain bodily fluids;

  • fever;

  • diarrhea;

  • rashes;

  • sore throat;

  • muscle pain and stiffness;

  • swollen lymph nodes;

  • sores in the mouth and esophagus;

  • frequent infections (such as yeast infections);

  • a lowered resistance to common illnesses.

How Hypnosis Can Help You

If you have HIV/AIDS, then hypnosis is ideally suited to helping you deal with this condition because:

  • it can help you come to terms with your diagnosis and make any necessary changes to your life;

  • it can give you a greater sense of control over your life;

  • it can enhance your innate capacity to heal yourself;

  • it can boost the functioning of your immune system;

  • it can help you eat better and begin a sound exercise program;

  • it can improve your ability to follow sound medical advice and work with your physicians;

  • it can help to reduce the amount of medication you require to manage your symptoms;

  • it has an analgesic effect and can help block pain and discomfort;

  • it can improve your sleeping patterns and overcome insomnia;

  • it can help you to deal with the emotional aspects of your illness;

  • it can reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression;

  • it can help by allowing you to dissociate yourself (focus your mind and attention elsewhere) from your condition so you don't dwell in it too much;

  • it can help if there is a link between a specific emotional trauma and the onset of your condition;

  • it can help if it involves any subconscious and state-dependent processes.

Some Research That Proves These Claims...

The scientific research is conclusive. If you are capable of entering into a moderately deep state of hypnosis (something 70% of the population can achieve), then hypnosis can help you. Here is a summation of some of these studies...

Hypnosis for Terminal End Stage AIDS: Easing the Passage to Death. Int Conf AIDS. 2002 Jul 7-12; 14: abstract no. WePeF6812. Marcus JD.

This paper discusses the many ways that hypnosis can be used to improve the quality of life for AIDS patients who are in the terminal stage of this illness. The most important being that it can help to relieve their pain and suffering. This in turn has a ripple effect because it reduces feelings of stress, tension, and anxiety. And since these emotions have been proven to impair the functioning of the immune system, this can help them to live longer. Hypnosis can also be used to help them to deal more directly with their emotional distress. And when these patients are taught to do self-hypnosis, this can be particularly empowering because it teaches them that they have more control over their physiological and psychological states than they had previously thought. This in turn gives them a greater feeling of control over what is happening to them, so they no longer feel so helpless.

The Use of Hypnosis with Asymptomatic HIV Infected People. Int Conf AIDS. 1989 Jun 4-9; 5: 784. Gochros JS.

The author of this paper reports on the use of hypnosis in their clinical practice to help those who are HIV positive "cope with interpersonal relationships and such issues as anxiety, fear of death and dying, sense of powerlessness and loss, and reaction to stigmatization." Based on their observations and the feedback they received from those involved, the authors concluded that hypnosis was particularly effective when it came to relieving stress and learning how to develop the necessary coping skills for dealing with this illness. They also noted that it can be very counterproductive and possibly even harmful if the hypnotist implies that hypnosis can heal them of HIV, or prevent HIV from turning into AIDS.

Hypnosis for the Control of HIV/AIDS-Related Pain. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 50(2) April 2002;170-188 Langenfeld MC, Cipani E, Borckardt JJ.

Five adults suffering from AIDS were recruited for a 12-week study to determine if hypnosis could help them deal more effectively with the pain associated with their illness. By the end of the study 4 of them had been able to significantly reduce the amount of medication they needed to manage their pain.

Boosting the Immune System

Hypnosis is a Modulator of Cellular Immune Disregulation During Acute Stress. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Vol 69(4), Aug 2001, 674-682. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Marucha PT, Atkinson C, Glaser R.

This study involved 33 medical and dental students who were selected because they were considered to be susceptible to hypnosis. Initial samples of their blood were taken during a period of low stress. Then they were then split into two groups: one serving as the control group, and the other receiving training in hypnosis for relaxation. The group that received hypnosis, on average, did not show the same decrease in CD3+ and CD4+ T-lymphocytesinterleukin 1 (which plays an important inflammatory role against infections) as the control group. It was also noted that an increase in the use of hypnosis for relaxation was associated with higher levels of CD3+ and CD4+ T-lymphocytes. This study concluded that hypnosis can help reduce the negative effect highly stressful situations have on our immune system.

Self-Hypnosis and Exam Stress: Comparing Immune and Relaxation-Related Imagery for Influences on Immunity, Health and Mood. Contemporary Hypnosis Vol18 (2):73 – 86. Gruzelier J, Levy J, Williams J, Henderson D.

Medical School students were recruited for this research project to study the effect that training in self-hypnosis has on mood, health and the functioning of the immune system during exam time. They were broken into two groups where they were trained in 3 weekly group sessions and then given a self-hypnosis audio-recording and encouraged to listen to it at home. The control group received 'relaxation-related-imagery' training, while the study group received 'immune-related-imagery' training. The participants then had samples of their blood taken during exam time to determine the levels of various lymphocytes (CD3, CD4, CD8, & CD19), natural killer cells (CD56). Those students who had received the 'immune-related-imagery' reported lower levels of viral illnesses, such as colds and the flu, than those who had only received the 'relaxation-related-imagery.' The 'immune-related-imagery' group also did not experience the same lowering of the levels in their lymphocytes as the other group did. This study concludes that self-hypnosis can improve the functioning of the immune system and lead to improvements in well-being.

Individual Differences in Personality, Immunology and Mood In Patients Undergoing Self-Hypnosis Training for the Successful Treatment of a Chronic Viral Illness, HSV-2.Contemporary Hypnosis Vol.

 19(4):149 – 166. Gruzelier J, Champion A, Fox P, Rollin M, McCormack, Catalan SP, Barton S, Henderson D.

This study examined the effects of self-hypnosis training among patients who were suffering from severe and chronic outbreaks of the herpes simplex virus and genital herpes. They were assessed both before and after a six-week training program where it was found that self-hypnosis cut the rate of recurrence by almost 50% in the group as a whole, and that it benefited 65% of those involved. Those who responded well also showed an increase in the ability of their natural killer cells (NKC) to kill the herpes virus. It was also found that the more hypnotizable a subject was, the more they responded to this treatment.

Monocyte Chemotactic Activity in Sera After Hypnotically Induced Emotional States. Scandinavian Journal of Immunology Vol 34(1); 1 – 79. Nielsen I, Eldrup E, Schade-Larsen C, Gotliebsen K.

A number of studies have shown that both psychological and emotional factors can affect the functioning of the immune system. As a result, the researchers involved in this study wanted to find out the effect that certain emotional states, when induced by hypnosis, can have on “monocyte chemotaxis and endocrinological parameters.” They selected 11 highly hypnotizable subjects, put them into a deep trance and then given them suggestions to relive previous moments in their life when they experienced intense bouts of anger or depression. At the end of the hypnosis session they were then given suggestions to experience feelings of happiness. Blood samples were taken before the hypnosis session, after each emotional state and when the session was over. They found that the chemotactic activity (the movement of a microorganism in response to chemical stimulation) that occurred when the subjects were in a depressed state was significantly lower than it was when they were in the angry state. They also found that the chemotactic activity in both of these emotional states (angry and depressed) was significantly lower than that of the 'happy' state.

Modulation of Type 1 Immediate and Type IV Delayed Immunoreactivity Using Direct Suggestion and Guided Imagery During Hypnosis. Allergy Volume 44(8): 537 – 542. Zachariae R, Bjerring P, Arendt-Nielsen L.

Eight highly hypnotizable volunteers were recruited for this study (based on how well the did on the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A). It was found that when the members of this group were given suggestions to decrease their reaction to a histamine prick test, there was a significant reduction in flare-ups when compared to a control group. This study confirmed numerous anecdotal reports that hypnotic suggestions can decrease allergic skin reactions.

Hypnotizability and Immunological Response to Psychological Intervention in HIV.Contemporary Hypnosis Vol 21(3);126 – 135. Laidlaw TM, Kerstein R, Bennett BM, Naito A, Dwivedi P, Gruzelier J.

Twenty-two subjects who were HIV positive, were put into two groups. Thirteen were given 4 weekly hypnosis training sessions (2 hours each) and told to practice self-hypnosis on a daily basis, while 9 subjects (the control group) were given similar training in a Japanese healing art called Johrei. None of the participants had ever used any anti-viral medication. This study concluded that the most important factor in predicting a successful outcome, was hypnotizability. This was because those who were highly hypnotizable ended up with significantly higher the levels of CD4+ t-lymphocytes when compared to those who were not hypnotizable.

Can Relaxation Training and Hypnotherapy Modify the Immune Response To Stress, and is Hypnotizability Relevant? Contemporary Hypnosis Vol.13 (2);100 – 108 Johnson VC, Walker LG, Heys SD, Whiting PH, Eremin O.

Twenty-four healthy subjects were assigned to either relaxation training that involved hypnosis or to a control group. The subjects were brought back three times where they were given various psychological tests and had samples of their blood and urine collected. On their second visit (20 days after the first) they gave samples of their blood and urine before and after they were exposed to a “stressor.” Those who had received the hypnotic relaxation training had a better immune response (as measured by “lymphocyte responsiveness and IL-1 secretion”) than the other group. However, after further analysis it was found that among the members of this group, there was a direct correlation between those whose immune systems performed the best and those who had the highest scores on the Creative Imagination Scale (one of the tests often used to assess hypnotizability).

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