A patient who had forgotten to take his medication for hypertension was still able to receive dental treatment after he underwent hypnosis to bring his blood pressure down.
Dental care workers were able to lower the blood pressure of a patient with hypnosis before undertaking dental work under local anaesthesia.
47 percent of American adults (116 million) suffer from hypertension, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also notes that “In 2019, more than half a million deaths in the United States had hypertension as a primary or contributing cause.”
The authors of a recent paper published in the International Journal of Dentistry and Oral Health state that studies “reporting the efficacy of Hypnosis on controlling Hypertension have been published from as early as [the] 1950s.” They used hypnosis on a patient with high blood pressure to reduce his hypertension to a level safe for dental work to be carried out.
“The patient was discharged after completion of dental restorative care satisfied and comfortable,” they wrote.
A 51-year-old African American male who came to New York University College of Dentistry “for continuation of dental care in the form of restorative care,” told officials there that he had forgotten to take his anti hypertension medication that day.
The patient had multiple ailments and was on several medications. Specifically, he had “a history of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, focal seizures, thyroid nodules, and major depression episodes.”
When the carers measured his blood pressure three times, once on his right arm and twice on his left, they found that his blood pressure was higher than suitable for dental work. The dentists informed the patient that he had the option to reschedule his appointment. They also suggested that, alternatively, he undergo hypnosis in order to proceed on the same day.
The patient elected to undergo hypnosis.
The dentists treating him wrote: “We induced the patient into a trance state using Ericksonian technique by suggesting the patient close his eyes and open himself into his inner world. In this inner world of imagination, we suggested the patient could take a walk. ‘And if he were to take a walk, where would it be?’, we asked him.”
The authors explain that Ericksonian Hypnosis “differs from other techniques of Hypnosis by utilising [the] patient's experiences as resources for therapeutic change. A therapist practicing Ericksonian Hypnosis recognises that the subconscious mind is the gateway to induce the desired therapeutic change and that the subconscious mind is always listening.”
They add that “Ericksonian Hypnosis utilises [the] power of suggestion and the individual capacity of a patient to respond to these suggestions as the vehicle of desired therapeutic effect.”
The patient visualised himself walking in a forest, and when the doctors measured his blood pressure, it had gone down and his arm was heavy. The authors wrote that it was "suggestive of catalepsy, experienced by patients during deep states of Hypnosis."
The dentists were able to administer local anaesthesia in the patient’s mouth, and wrote they “did not see any signs of pain such as flinching.”
The doctors woke the patient up after his dental restoration was complete, and he reacted with surprise that he had not felt the needle nor the dental work performed in his mouth. The authors wrote: “The patient was satisfied with the dental treatment, and he was dismissed.”
The authors concluded the procedure was a success and that “Given the prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension amongst one in four American Adults any dental treatment missed due to uncontrolled hypertension can be avoided by successfully utilising Hypnosis as an adjunctive therapeutic aid.”