Most of you reading this article may not have given much thought to the power of the Mind and/or to the power of Hypnosis which accesses the mind. And if you’ve seen people being hypnotized on TV or in live performances (think Reveen), you think that the Hypnotist was applying mind control to the volunteers. But the difference between hypnosis for entertainment and the reality of clinical/medical hypnotherapy is quite dramatically different.
One of the primary functions of clinical hypnotherapy is to help achieve a calm state of focused attention in which you’re able to receive positive suggestions which allows you to make internal changes. The ultimate goal is to help you develop more control over your physical sensations and your psychological state of mind. At no point during hypnotherapy are you ever out of control or ‘under the control of” the Hypnotherapist. That is a common misconception and it’s false – the only person in control is the client. The Hypnotherapist is the Facilitator.
The mind has the ability to control pain. 75% of pain is actually EMOTIONAL.
I think that just reading the word “PAIN” gives off unpleasant responses in your body. And those are directed by your mind which associates all types of negative feelings to this one word. We have been conditioned to believe that when in pain, we must look for external sources to take it away when in fact we ALL have the ability to manage pain. Think of a child playing in a park and it falls and scrapes his knee. He may start crying immediately (normally it’s a shock response). The Mother standing by will run to her child and begin comforting him which often results in an increase in crying and prolonged duration of stress. IF the Mother were to distract the child, then the child will most likely move awareness from the pain to the subject that the Mother is brining to his attention. Shifting awareness from pain reduces it. The child may have a sore knee but the level of pain is nowhere near what was anticipated.
Prescription drugs are most commonly used and these may work or not, depending on the severity of the pain. Now, I am not an advocate of anyone using ANY method of pain management without being under the care of a medical Doctor. Pain is the body’s way of telling us something is amiss and that it needs attention. What I am saying is that the mind controls the body’s response to pain. And that 75% can be reduced to a manageable level so that whatever is causing the pain in the first place can be addressed.
Several studies have been published that add credence to the mind/body benefits of this gentle, healing therapy. It supports what I do with respect to mind/body medicine. It’s empowering, it’s non-invasive and its effects are long lasting.
In April of 2009, a study was published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. In it, 22 volunteers with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and chronic pain were enrolled in a trial to examine the effects of “self-hypnosis training” on the perception of pain.
In order to form a basis for comparison for the study, about half of the participants were asked to practise in daily “progressive muscle relaxation” (meditation). The remainder of the MS volunteers were provided with self-hypnosis training.
Those who employed the self-hypnosis reported significantly greater reductions in overall pain scores. An interesting observation is that these benefits were maintained during a 3 month follow-up assessment. Perhaps this was because most of the participants voluntarily decided to continue with the hypnosis on their own.
Another research study offered a compelling follow-up to the first study. 16 patients (12 women and 4 men) with Chronic Widespread Pain (CWP) were divided into two groups for this trial. CWP is a disorder that is defined by four or more days of pain (per week) lasting for at least 3 months. It is often associated with fibromyalgia.
In this experiment, one group received conventional treatment and hypnotherapy. The other volunteers began the trial receiving only conventional care. In this case, conventional treatment consisted of: antidepressants, pain medications, physical therapy and chiropractic. The design of study was as follows:
• Those receiving hypnosis attended a half-hour hypnotherapy session once a week for a total of 10 weeks. The hypnotic agenda was to promote “ego-strengthening”, the reduction of muscle tension and to promote relaxation.
• A symptom questionnaire measured pain scores before the experiment and afterward.
The results of the study were quite dramatic. Those receiving hypnotherapy experienced a 20% reduction in pain. The benefits remained present when a re-examination was conducted one year later.
The group that received only conventional care experienced a 21% increase in pain levels. That's very telling.
Hypnosis is also used in childbirth. Again, pain is both a physical and emotional process. Studies have shown that pregnant women in labour using self hypnosis (look into HypnoBirthing) reported that self-hypnosis brought about many positive effects such as:
• a decrease in the sensation of anxiety and fear, accompanied by “positive thoughts”
• a feeling of pressure, rather than sharp pain
• a lack of fatigue both during and after the birthing process
• a sensation of consolation, relief and self-confidence
• more awareness about the stages of labor
• a lack of suffering during labor pain
Hypnosis offers a positive alternative to convention pain management methods that give you back control.
A Comparison of Self-Hypnosis Versus Progressive Muscle Relaxation in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis and Chronic Pain
International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Volume 57, Issue 2 April 2009 , pages 198 - 221
Authors: Mark P. Jensena; Joseph Barbera; Joan M. Romanoa; Ivan R. Moltona; Katherine A. Raichlea; Travis L. Osbornea; Joyce M. Engela; Brenda L. Stoelba; George H. Krafta; David R. Pattersona
Affiliation: University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA
Hypnosis as a treatment of chronic widespread pain in general practice: A randomized controlled pilot trial
Jan Robert Grøndahl1,2 and Elin Olaug Rosvold1
Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway
Tranby Legesenter, 3408 Tranby, Norway
Received November 12, 2007; Accepted September 18, 2008.
Note: some of this information taken from an article written by JP “The Healthy Fellow”