Medical hypnosis and hypnosedation


Medical hypnosis activates a natural modified-consciousness process that can relieve such discomfort as pain and anxiety. Combined with local anesthesia, it can also help patients to avoid general anesthesia for certain surgeries.

Consultation hypnose

The hypnotic state induces a “trance” between wakefulness and sleep, where the attention is absorbed and the ability to respond to suggestions is increased. Guided by a trained practitioner, a patient can learn to use his/her mental resources to change the perception or unconscious reflexes of his/her body and improve comfort. This active approach, free of all side effects, helps the patient regain control of his/her physical and mental well-being.

Medical hypnosis in oncology

Many clinical studies have shown the benefits of hypnosis in relieving pain and anxiety related to cancer and its treatment. This therapy without medication is an effective complement to traditional curative therapies. At Institut Curie, hypnosis plays an important role among the psychological and bodily approaches.

Medical hypnosis may be offered to:

  • Reduce pain and anxiety during invasive medical procedures (biopsy, fibroscopy, placement of implantable chamber), and in certain other procedures, in adults and children.
  • Help patients overcome claustrophobia related to certain imaging tests, and reduce discomfort and fatigue from radiotherapy.
  • Reduce the need for analgesics after surgery.
  • Relieve side effects of treatments (chronic pain, hot flashes, sleep problems).

Institut Curie has over 35 caregivers trained in medical hypnosis. Physicians who also practice hypnotherapy in addition to their specialty also consult with patients.

Hypnosedation for breast surgery

Hypnosedation uses hypnosis combined with a continuous intravenous analgesic and locoregional anesthesia. It can be offered at Institut Curie as an alternative to general anesthesia for certain procedures. Hypnosis is carried out in the operating suite by the anesthesia team. It helps to keep a patient comfortable during the procedure and ensure better post-operative recovery.

In 2017, 142 patients underwent this technique for their breast surgery. A study conducted in 2011 by Dr. Aurore Marcou, anesthesiologist and hypnotherapist, found that patients undergoing surgery under hypnosedation were highly satisfied (with a score of 9.2/10)


Crédit photo : Alexandre Lescure / Institut Curie