In the first group, the hypnosis sessions emphasized the suggestion of coolness and relaxation. After each session, researchers coached the women on how to continue using visual relaxation techniques at home. "The hypnosis-group women had a 68 percent decrease in hot flashes (about four fewer per day)", said Gary Elkins, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor.
They also experienced less anxiety, insomnia and depression, according to the report, which appeared in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and which was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The findings have special significance because they point to a way to control hot flashes without hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The latter involves giving women estrogen to replace that lost by the menopausal or post-breast cancer woman. But estrogen has been shown to increase the risk of new tumor growth.