Hypnotic relaxation therapy improves sexual health and sexual satisfaction in postmenopausal women, according to Baylor University researchers who presented their findings at the American Psychological Association's recent annual meeting.
Baylor's Gary Elkins said the study, which examined sexual comfort, sexual satisfaction and sexual pleasure, was a first step toward a safe and effective alternative toward hormone replacement therapy.
The study was conducted by master's-level therapists trained in clinical hypnosis. The participants in the hypnotic relaxation therapy group received a hypnotic induction followed by suggestions for relaxation, coolness and mental imagery.
At treatment's end, women who had received hypnotic relaxation therapy reported significantly higher sexual satisfaction and pleasure, as well as less discomfort. This improvement also was seen at the 12-week follow-up assessment. "Women's sexual health improved, whether because of sleeping better, less stress or fewer hot flashes, or perhaps other unknown mechanisms," Elkins said.
Previous research by Elkins has shown that clinical hypnosis can effectively reduce hot flashes and associated symptoms among postmenopausal women, including a lessening of anxiety and depression.
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Source: Baylor University