• How Baylor researchers are working to assess your stress

    Dr. Gary Elkins, director of Baylor’s Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory, is developing a novel treatment for an ailment that plagues us all: stress. His treatment might sound unusual, but the pilot study is showing incredibly positive results. He’s calling the intervention “mindful hypnotherapy” — a combination of mindfulness and hypnotherapy.

    Over the past several years, mindfulness has become an increasingly popular practice recommended for managing stress. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that encourages one to focus on nothing but the present moment. However, kick-starting a new meditation practice can be a daunting, time-consuming, and all-around difficult thing to do. The practice itself can take months of training. Many people give up soon after trying to pick it up, struggling to make the habit and time commitment stick.

    That’s where hypnotherapy comes in. While the two are somewhat similar, hypnosis includes more specific mental imagery, relaxation, and suggestions for symptom reduction. Hypnosis interventions are typically quite brief and have historically been used in clinical practices to manage pain.

    “Combining mindfulness and hypnotherapy in a single session is a novel intervention that may be equal to or better than existing treatments, with the advantage of being more time-effective, less daunting and easier to use,” says Elkins.

    In addition to being a more accessible and less time-consuming intervention for those who need it, the practice could also be widely spread more easily due to its brief nature. This pilot study was only done on a small group of participants, so we look forward to seeing how this research develops in its next phases!

    Sic ’em, Dr. Elkins!


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