Functional Neuroanatomy of the Hypnotic State

Brain MRI

Brain MRI

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Feymonville 06

to discover how the hypnotic state activates parts of the brain different from those activated at the time of simply reviewing memories from a normal state of alertness or rest. Compared to a normal stae of rest, hypnosis reduces pain perception up to a 50 %. Observe the graphics depicting cerebral blood flow which show a notable difference of activity between a normalstate of rest and that of hypnosis.

This studies show us that brain activity of a hypnotic state is clearly particular and different to other states. Modern technology allows us to observe the particularities of the hypnotic state every day with more clarity, and it envisages new uses for it, in the case of this article, concerning pain perception and control.

Marie-Elisabeth Faymonville a, Me ́lanie Boly b, Steven Laureys b,*
a Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Clinic, University of Lie`ge, Sart Tilman, Belgium b Cyclotron Research Center and Department of Neurology, University of Lie`ge, Sart Tilman B30, 4000 Liege, Belgium


Journal of Physiology – Paris 99 (2006) 463–469


The neural mechanisms underlying hypnosis and especially the modulation of pain perception by hypnosis remain obscure. Using PET we first described the distribution of regional cerebral blood flow during the hypnotic state. Hypnosis relied on revivification of pleasant autobiographical memories and was compared to imaging autobiographical material in ‘‘normal alertness’’. The hypnotic state was related to the activation of a widespread set of cortical areas involving occipital, parietal, precentral, premotor, and ventrolateral prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices. This pattern of activation shares some similarities with mental imagery, from which it mainly differs by the relative deactivation of precuneus. Second, we looked at the anti-nociceptive effects of hypnosis. Compared to the resting state, hypnosis reduced pain perception by approximately 50%. The hypnosis-induced reduction of affective and sensory responses to noxious thermal stimulation were modulated by the activity in the midcingulate cortex (area 24a0). Finally, we assessed changes in cere- bral functional connectivity related to hypnosis. Compared to normal alertness (i.e., rest and mental imagery), the hypnotic state, sig- nificantly enhanced the functional modulation between midcingulate cortex and a large neural network involved in sensory, affective, cognitive and behavioral aspects of nociception. These findings show that not only pharmacological but also psychological strategies for pain control can modulate the cerebral network involved in noxious perception.

2006 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


About Anna Pons

Certificat (CPPD), Post Graduat Certificat (PGCert) i Post Graduat Diploma (PGD) en Hipnoteràpia Clínica, London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH) i Universitat de West London (UWL)
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