Examining sympathetic nerve activity with microneurography during hypnosis: Untangling the effects of central command

Richard C. Robinson, Harold Crasilneck, J. P. Garofalo, Travis Whitfill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Using microelectrode recordings of postganglionic sympatheticaction potentials, the authors studied the effects of hypnotic suggestion on sympathetic outflow targeted to skin during static handgrip exercise. All subjects performed sustained handgrip at 33% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) for 2 minutes during 3 consecutive trials. Two subjects randomly assigned to a hypnosis condition received suggestions that the 2nd trial was more difficult and the last trial was less difficult than the first trial. Two subjects randomly assigned to the control condition received no hypnosis or suggestions about task difficulty. In the nonhypnosis condition, skin sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) increased by 6% from baseline during the 2nd trial and 13% from baseline during the 3rd trial. In the hypnosis condition, skin SNA increased by 25% during the 2nd trial (suggestion of increased difficulty) and returned to baseline during the 3rd condition (suggestion of decreased difficulty). Therefore, the impact of central command on skin SNA is suggested by these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-456
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology

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