Hypnosis helps with treating and controlling pain improving the person’s quality of life and general wellbeing. The effectiveness of hypnotherapy in reducing pain has been ascertained by Ernest Hillgard (emeritus Professor of Psychology at Stanford University) in his research and publications.
Pain is a warning system that tells us that something is wrong with our body or a part of our body. You should always go to your doctor if you are experiencing any kind of pain so that they can do the appropriate physical examinations and the appropriate tests to identify and diagnose the cause of the pain; occasionally pain can be a symptom of a major health problem, for example headaches can be a symptom of brain tumour, chest pain can be a symptom of heart disease, etc.
However if they found that the pain is chronic or untreatable through conventional medicine and the patient’s doctor has given permission, hypnotherapy can be used to treat the pain.
There are many situations where hypnotherapy can be applied to cope with the pain:
• Chronic or untreatable Pain
• Patient is allergic or intolerant to certain medications.
• Patient is afraid of needles.
• Terminally ill patients to improve their quality of life.
• Phantom Pain
In 1996, the National Institutes of Health declared hypnosis effective in reducing pain from cancer and other chronic conditions. The groups that received hypnosis reported less pain, nausea, and anxiety post-surgery.
I had an interesting case a few years ago: a young man in his early twenties came to me because he suffered pain when breathing; as a consequence he was unable to have a full time job, or enjoyed sports or other outdoor activities he loved so much; he told me that he experienced pain whenever he was doing something and also when he was doing nothing, so all the time unless he was sleeping (i.e. unconscious).
He had consulted with several doctors who could find nothing physically wrong with him and suggested that he probably had anxiety; that perplexed him as he mentioned: ‘I don’t know what I could be anxious about!!!’. What it was clear is that the pain was very real to him.
He had also consulted numerous complementary and alternative health practitioners of different modalities (too many here to mentioned) but none seemed to work until he finally decided to try hypnotherapy.
The session (that was conducted online as the client was in another European country) was very interesting; almost from the beginning of the actual hypnosis session he started breathing in a very forceful manner; his chest and abdomen movements were much exaggerated, moving deeply up and down. As the session progressed his breathing pattern started to soften progressively until he began to breathe in a normal and relaxed way.
I was pleased to know that only one session was enough. He was clearly focusing so much on his breathing that created an unnecessary tension in his body resulting in pain. It continues to amaze me how our body and mind are constantly sending us signals and information (in this case pain) that we can use to improve our wellbeing.