Self-Hypnosis Can Cut Stress and Boost
Your Immune System
A number of studies have suggested stress can hinder
the body's immune system defenses. Now researchers say
people may be able to fight back with the stress-relieving
techniques of self-hypnosis.
In a study of medical students under exam-time stress,
investigators found that those who received "hypnotic-relaxation
training" did not show the same reduction in key
immune system components that their untrained counterparts
The researchers looked at 33 medical and dental students
during relatively low-stress periods and around the
time of the first major exam of the term. Half of the
students attended sessions where they learned to relax
The investigators found that during exam time, the
self-hypnosis students launched stronger immune responses
compared with students who did not learn the technique.
And the more often students practiced the relaxation
strategy, the stronger their immune response.
In previous studies, the researchers found that stressful
times may impair the body's wound-healing process and
response to vaccination. They and other researchers
have also found that relaxation techniques may combat
these effects by relieving stress and boosting the immune
The data from this study provide encouraging evidence
that interventions may reduce the immunological dysregulation
associated with acute stressors.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2001;69