Pain Relief in the Brain

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Does hypnosis cause brain changes to relieve pain?

Pain Relief in the Brain

Researchers used positron emission tomography to show that there are actual brain changes when hypnosis is used for pain relief. Hypnosis reduced the activity of the anterior cingulate cortex, an area involved in pain, but not the somatosensory cortex, in which the sensations are processed. This indicates that hypnosis pain management occurs in parts of the brain other than that where the pain is registered. (Scientific American, July 2001) This doesn't fully explain how hypnosis works in pain relief, but it indicates that it does.

   

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