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NLP used in Healthcare

NLP is being used more and more in healthcare. Whether that is through specific NLP Practitioner courses for Healthcare Professionals or used directly with patients to help alleviate their ailments.

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This trend continues to grow globally however the example here is from the United Kingdom (UK).

Does NLP improve outcomes in patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus – A case-crossover study

Dr CJ Beyer

Dovecot Health Centre, L14 0NL, United Kingdom


Patient concordance with doctors’ recommendation is poor. Diabetes education has been accepted in diabetes care but the effect of diabetes education on glycaemic control and the components of education responsible for such an effect are uncertain.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) as “a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (esp. Patterns of thought) underlying them” and “a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour”.

UKPDS 35 has shown that each reduction in HbA1c by one percent point reduces the risk of death related to diabetes by 21%.

We hypothesised that using NLP during consultations will make clinicians more effective at convincing patients to make lifestyle changes and adhere to treatment which should be reflected in changes of the glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c).

Objective: To evaluate whether a two day course in NLP for health care professional improves outcomes in patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Design: Case-crossover study

Setting: General Practice in a deprived inner city area in the United Kingdom

Patients: 94 patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus


Comparison of the average change of the HbA1c within the year before and the year after a course in NLP lasting two full days one month apart.


The mean difference of the HbA1c within twelve months before NLP was -0.006 (95% confidence interval -0.068 to 0.081), the mean difference of HbA1c within twelve months after NLP was -0.28 (95% confidence interval -0.35 to -0.21, N=93).


NLP may lead to a clinically and statistically significant improvement of the HbA1c. It is likely that the improvement is due to NLP because all patients have been reviewed by the same practice nurse before and after she attended the NLP course and no changes in treatment algorithms have been made, although it is very difficult to know whether our practice nurse has always used NLP during her consultations. As the patients have been their own controls, the study design controls for characteristics of patients that may affect concordance with treatment which do not change over a period of time.

Abbreviations: NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming, HbA1c – glycosylated Haemoglobin

There are more and more medical staff within the UKs National Health Service who can see the benefits of NLP within health. Be that directly with patients or indirectly by medical staff being able to better communication their messages to patients.

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NLP Health Research

A one year research study (May 1993-May 1994) into the treatment of asthmatics, using NLP, was done in Denmark. The results were presented at a number of European conferences, including the Danish Society of Allergology Conference (August 1994), and the European Respiratory Society Conference (Nice, France, October 1994)

The study was run by General Practitioner Jorgen Lund and NLP Master Practitioner Hanne Lund, from Herning, Denmark. Patients were selected from 8 general practices. 30 were included in the NLP Intervention group, and 16 in the control group. All received basic medical care including being supplied with medication. Most had never heard of NLP before, and many were completely unbelieving in it, or terrified of it. Their motivation to do NLP was generally low.The intervention group had an initial day introduction to NLP and Time Line Therapy®, and then 3-36 hours (average 13) of NLP intervention.

The NLP focus was not mainly on the asthma; it was on how the people lived their daily lives.

The interventions used were:

Clear anger, sadness, fear, hurt, guilt and any limiting decisions using T.L.Therapy®

Use the NLP Trauma cure on the origin of the asthma.

Use the NLP allergy cure.

The results affected both the peoples general lives, and their asthma. Patients tended to describe their change subjectively as enabling them to be “more open”, get “collosal strength and self confidence” “a new life” etc.

The lung capacity of adult asthmatics tends to decrease by 50ml a year average. This occurred in the control group.

Meanwhile the NLP group increased their lung capacity by an average of 200ml (like reversing four years of damage in a year!). Daily variations in peak flow (an indicator of unstable lung function) began at 30%-40%. In the control group they reduced to 25% but in the NLP group they fell to below 10% . Sleep disorders in the control group began at 70% and dropped to 30%. In the NLP group they began at 50% and dropped to ZERO. Use of asthma inhalers and acute medication in the NLP group fell to near ZERO.

Dr Hanne Lund pointed out that the implications of this project reach far beyond asthma management. She said “We consider the principles of this integrated work valuable in treatment of patients with any disease, and the next step will be to train medical staff in this model.”  

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