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Hypnosis Increases Heat Detection and Heat Pain Thresholds in Healthy Volunteers
  1. Agnès Langlade, M.D., Ph.D.,
  2. Claire Jussiau, M.D.,
  3. Laurent Lamonerie, M.D.,
  4. Emmanuel Marret, M.D., Ph.D. and
  5. Francis Bonnet, M.D.
  1. From the Anesthetic Department and Pain Clinic, Tenon Hospital, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France.
  1. Reprint requests: Francis Bonnet, MD, Departement d’Anesthésie, Hôpital Tenon, 4 rue de la Chine, 75970 Paris Cedex 20, France. E-mail:


Background and Objectives Hypnosis has been reported to induce analgesia and to facilitate anesthesia. To date, hypnotic-induced analgesia has had little explanation and it has even been questioned. The current study was thus designed to investigate the effect of hypnotic suggestion on thermal-detection thresholds, heat pain, and heat-pain tolerance thresholds.

Methods In 15 healthy volunteers, enrolled in a randomized cross-over study, thermal thresholds were investigated in 2 sequences of measurements, under waking and hypnotic states, using a thermal stimulator.

Results Heat detection and heat-pain thresholds were increased under hypnosis (from 34.3 ± .9°C to 36.0 ± 2.9°C and 45.0 ± 3.7°C to 46.7 ± 2.7°C, respectively, P < .05), whereas heat-pain tolerance and cold-detection thresholds were not statistically changed.

Conclusion These results indicate that hypnosis may partly impair the detection of Aδ and C fibers stimulation, potentially explaining its analgesic effect.

  • Analgesia
  • Hypnosis
  • Thermal thresholds

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  • Supported by a grant from the Institut UPSA de la Douleur, La Grande Arche Nord, 92044 Paris la Defense Cedex, France.