U.S scientists at the University of Texas and Baylor University have found that hypnosis can be effective in reducing the number of episodes and the intensity of hot flushes by 75 per cent.
During each session they were given suggestions for mental images of coolness, a safe place or relaxation, depending on their preference.
They also received an audio recording of a hypnotic induction and were asked to listen to it each day.met with a doctor five times a week to talk about their symptoms and a CD comprised of information on hot flushes.
The women also kept diaries tracking the frequency and severity of their hot flush episodes and the intensity of them was measured by a heat-conducting device on the skin.
Twelve weeks later, the hypnosis group was found to have had 75 per cent fewer hot flushes, compared with 13 per cent who saw a doctor.
The hypnosis group also reported an 80 per cent decrease in frequency and severity of the hot flashes; this was only 15 per cent for other women.
Furthermore, the skin temperature monitors noted a 57 per cent lower rate of hot flushes among the women who were hypnotised compared with a 10 per cent reduction for the control group.
The hypnosis group was also found to sleep better and have less disruption in their lives compared with the control group.
Just how hyponosis might reduce the severity and frequency of hot flushes isn’t certain, but the researchers suggested it may be due to the fact hypnosis can boost the function of the parasympathetic nerve system, which plays a part in hot flashes.