Hypnosis and asthma: A critical review

Robert M. Hackman, Judith S. Stern, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Asthma is among the most common chronic diseases of the western world and has significant effects on patients' health and quality of life. Asthma is typically treated with pharmaceutical products, but there is interest in finding nonpharmaceutical therapies for this condition. Hypnosis has been used clinically to treat a variety of disorders that are refractive to pharmaceutical-based therapies, including asthma, but relatively little attention has been given recently to the use of clinical hypnosis as a standard treatment for asthma. Significant data suggest that hypnosis may be an effective treatment for asthma, but it is premature to conclude that hypnosis is unequivocally effective. Studies conducted to date have consistently demonstrated an effect of hypnosis with asthma. More and larger randomized, controlled studies are needed. Existing data suggest that hypnosis efficacy is enhanced in subjects who are susceptible to the treatment modality, with experienced investigators, when administered over several sessions, and when reinforced by patient autohypnosis. Children in particular appear to respond well to hypnosis as a tool for improving asthma symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Alternative medicine
  • Asthma
  • Hypnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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