Firemen receive hypnotherapy training to 'calm victims'

Over 100 firemen have been given basic hypnotherapy training in a pioneering scheme designed to help victims of trauma, reports.

Firefighters in Alsace, France have been testing the technique in order to calm people who are in the process of being rescued. It is being used to complement usual first aid procedures to soothe those in precarious situations.

The 'pompiers' have been trained to use "verbal, gesticular and respiratory techniques that aim to ease pain and anxiety", says fire brigade nurse, Cecile Colas-Nguyen.

Speaking in a measured voice, the fire fighters avoid any negative words and hold the victim's hand to help reassure them. While this is the first trial of its sort in the world, station manager David Ernenwein and chief doctor, Yves Durrmann believe the hypnosis is working and should be used certainly across France.

If the trial proves without doubt that the techniques makes a difference, it's possible it could be extended internationally. In order to do so, the fire brigade will keep detailed records of victims' emotions, pain levels and heart rate - comparing the results of those that are given hypnosis and those that are not. Initial evaluations show that the technique is bringing benefits, writes.

Colas-Nguyen adds: "We can help victims to disconnect from what is happening around them. And even the beep beep of medical equipment can focus a person's attention so we can help transport them to another place".