The Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory - Dr. Gary Elkins

The Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory (MBMRL) is committed to a comprehensive research program that seeks to identify, understand, develop, and disseminate complementary and mind-body medical interventions (clinical and experimental hypnosis, relaxation based interventions, mindfulness) in the integrative health care.

The research in the MBMRL is conducted in part with funding from the National Institutes of Health/National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH/NCCIH) and the internal support of Baylor University. Dr. Elkins is the Editor of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis and select students may have the opportunity to learn about research and publication process from development of clinical and experimental designs, to study completions, manuscript submissions and critique.

The research team led by Dr. Elkins includes Certified Clinical Research Professional/Research Coordinator—Vicki Patterson, PhD Students, PsyD Students, and Undergraduate Research Assistants. Areas of research include:

Self-administered hypnosis for hot flashes: A randomized clinical trial. This is a 5 year National Institutues of Health funded (R01) study in collaboration with investigators at University of Michigan School of Nursing and University of North Carolina. The aims of the study are to determine the efficacy of self-administered hypnosis on menopausal symptoms, sleep, and anxiety. Physiological mediators (heart rate variability (HRV) and cortisol) are being examined as well as psychological moderators and mediators (hypnotizability and stress).

Optimization of hypnosis intervention for sleep. The aim of this National Institutes of Health/National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH/NCCIH-R34) research is to determine the optimal method and dose of an innovative hypnotic relaxation therapy intervention for sleep disturbance. Outcomes include daily sleep diaries and sleep actigraphy data as well as sleep quality and stress.

Validity and reliability of the Elkins Hypnotizability Scale. The aim of this on-going research is to determine the psychometric properties and clinical benefit of hypnotizability assessment for use in future clinical and experimental research.

Mindful Hypnotherapy. We have developed an innovative intervention combining mindfulness attention training and hypnosis for anxiety, stress, and well-being. Current research involves a college student population and examines potential mediators.

Hypnosis for anxiety in an economically disadvantaged primary care population. This research is under review by the National Institutes of Health and would involve data on the feasibility and optimal outcomes for a brief intervention for anxiety that could be delivered in a primary care setting with low-income and minority patients.

Music and suggestion for experimental pain management. This line of research is exploring the mechanisms by which music can be an effective intervention for experimental pain and eventually for chronic pain management.

Hypnotic relaxation therapy for depression and anxiety. This is a retrospective study of a manualized hypnotic relaxation intervention that may be used in a future clinical trial. This research was supported by a grant from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

Dr. Elkins’ philosophy provides a clear directive for the aims of this research facility.

 “The potential of humans can best be understood when we consider the entire person rather than only the physical self. The mind encompasses the brain; but also includes consciousness, awareness, intentionality, and spirituality. All healing is ultimately from God; however, we can discover ways to utilize the mind to bring about positive changes in the body”1

1Street, A. An Interview with Gary Elkins. Chriswell Theological Review. 2010:7(2):49-64.

  • Applicants for the Ph.D. program in General-Experimental Psychology (with an interest in health psychology, hypnosis, and integrative health research) are encouraged to apply.

  • Applications for the Psy.D. program in Clinical Psychology with an interest in clinical hypnosis, clinical health psychology, and mind-body medicine research are encouraged to apply.