The British Psychological Society issued the following announcement:

Psychological Therapies Ease Arthritis Pain

Article Date: 13 Sep 2008 – 4:00 PDT

Arthritis sufferers can alleviate their pain by using mental imagery and
hypnotherapy.

This is the finding of Bryan Bennett and colleagues from Bangor
University who presented their findings on the11 September 2008, at The
British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology Annual
Conference held at the University of Bath.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, progressive and disabling auto-
immune disease affecting 0.8% of the UK adult population. It is an
incredibly painful condition and can cause severe disability and
ultimately affects a person’s ability to carry out everyday tasks. Even
with current medical treatment many people still report high levels of
pain. A rising number of chronic sufferers now turn to complementary and
alternative medicines to lessen the main symptoms of pain and fatigue.

This study examined the effect of visualisation techniques and
hypnotherapy to help reduce the pain and fatigue, which prevents many
sufferers from living a full and active life.

Forty two patients were asked to visualise their pain in different ways
and try to manage it. For example participants were asked to visualise
their pain in the form of a person and then thank that person for
letting them know something was not right. They would then ask the
person to leave, visualising their image going further away, until the
image was hardly visible and eventually disappearing, leaving them free
of pain.

The results showed that these imagery techniques, and hypnotherapy, were
effective at reducing the pain and fatigue caused by RA.

Bryan Bennett commented: ‘All the participants were asked to identify
what areas of their life were important to them but were negatively
affected due to the RA. By doing so they were taking an active part in
their own therapy. By employing the techniques they were taught, they
were able to self-treat when necessary – allowing them to control their
pain and enabling them to get on with enjoying life.’

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