misty-hayThey told her to imagine a Novocain-like numbness. Her cheek got swollen. What happened? She was allergic to Novocain. No real drug was administered, yet, her mind reacted as if she received a real injection. As a result, she had a full-blown allergic reaction. The solution? They made her to imagine the antidote. It worked beautifully.

Guttman K, Ball TS. An unanticipated allergic reaction to a hypnotic suggestion for anesthesia: a brief communication and commentary. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2013;61(3):336-41.


During a demonstration of hypnotically induced anesthesia and following a suggestion for a Novocain-like numbness, a totally unanticipated and dramatic swelling of 1 cheek appeared. The participant had forgotten to inform the psychologist that she had experienced the identical reaction to Novocain when she received an injection a few weeks earlier. The swelling was quickly removed by a countersuggestion based upon a simulated injection of the antidote previously administered by the dentist. This case report is relevant to current research and theorizing on the interaction of hypnosis with the immune system. The fact that it was retrospectively recognized as a single-case time-series B-A-B design significantly enhances its scientific value beyond that afforded by the traditional case report.