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October 24, 1966

Postoperative Uses of Hypnosis

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

JAMA. 1966;198(4):489. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110170201044

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To the Editor:—  The paper by Drs. Smedley and Barnes "Postoperative Use of Hypnosis on a Cardiovascular Service" (197:37, 1966) invites comment from one who has been using hypnosis in psychiatry and psychosomatic problems for 15 years.The authors are to be commended for their clear and succinct discussion of the possible place of medical hypnosis in a nonpsychiatric setting. Their post-surgical patient, with hiccups of seven days' duration, was "hypnotized" and given minimal suggestion, mainly that he could start breathing normally as soon as he saw fit. Within eight hours, he "saw fit" to do so. The authors, modestly, allow for the possibility of coincidence.The profession, including psychiatrists, has continued to resist hypnosis despite a plethora of "exposure" since World War II. The obvious explanation is that the returns aren't great enough or often enough. And yet, medical hypnosis refuses to undergo atrophy from disuse. Quite the