Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Does Hypnosis to Deal with Pain Effectively?

Hypnosis for dealing with pain

Whilst for most members of the public, hypnosis is most commonly associated with hilariously funny stage shows where people do apparently crazy things or perhaps with bad TV sitcoms, the view of the medical and psychological community of what hypnosis is all about is very different.

Indeed, since it was first invented by Franz Anton Mesmer in the 1700, it has become increasingly widely accepted that using hypnosis can deal with or ‘treat’ many seemingly intractable problems, including the management of chronic pain.

For a long time, the view of many medical professionals was not all that different to the view of people who watch on-stage hypnosis shows, mainly because Western medicine has always tended to assume that finding a solution to a problem always involves ‘temperature-taking and shot-giving’. Hence, the idea that something as seemingly esoteric as hypnosis could play any genuine part in dealing with medical or psychological problems was simply too much for people of this nature to take on board.

But the fact is that when scientifically applied by a professionally qualified hypnotherapist, hypnosis is a remarkably effective technique that can be applied to dealing with a huge range of problems and difficulties. For example, hypnosis is often used as a highly effective way of convincing people to stop smoking whilst it is also used to treat
those who genuinely want to stop drinking and others who suffer because of a similarly obsessive or addictive personality.

Most importantly, over the last 20 or 30 years, hypnosis has been subjected to the continual scrutiny of many clinical trials and in almost every situation scenario, it has been proved that hypnosis is an effective way of combating pain. People suffering from pains associated with cancer, kidney stones, gallstones, backache and invasive dental and medical procedures have all been treated or dealt with whilst under hypnosis with remarkably successful result.

According to one noted psychiatrist, Dr David Spiegl M.D. of Stanford University, ‘Changing your mental set can change what’s going on in your body’, and all of the available evidence indicates that this is exactly right as far as dealing with chronic pain is concerned.

During the process of being hypnotized, the subject is lulled into a state of focused concentration, inner absorption plus intensely focused attention and all at exactly the same time as they are completely relaxed. Hence, because of their mental state, the subject in this pre-hypnotic state is able to pick up suggestions far more effectively than they might otherwise do in their conscious state whilst they can also tap into unused mental powers to expand the boundaries of physical possibilities.

Over the years, many papers and studies have provided compelling evidence that hypnosis is highly effective when it comes to dealing with pain.

For instance, in the April 29, 2000 edition of ‘The Lancet’, there was a report comparing the results enjoyed by patients under hypnosis with those under standard medical care who were undergoing invasive medical surgery. The results showed that the patients who were hypnotized suffered considerably less pain and anxiety than those who were using standard medical painkillers. In addition, the medical process itself took considerably less time to complete for the hypnotized patients, probably because there was no necessity to keep controlling their pain and calming their anxiety as there was with patients under standard anesthetic.

The final clincher was the fact that post-operation, the patients who had been hypnotized required less than half the amount of painkillers that the patients who had operated on using standard anesthetic procedures did.

This once again highlights the fact that in many cases, hypnosis is used in combination with traditional analgesic or anesthetic practices, although there is no reason why it cannot be used on its own in certain circumstances.

For instance, Dr. Alexander Levitan who is a medical oncologist in Minnesota reports that he has conducted many operations including tracheotomies and hysterectomies using nothing but hypnosis as the anesthetic.

There are many different theories as to why hypnosis would work in such a situation, with some suggesting that because hypnosis alters your expectations or perceptions of how intense the pain is going to be, this changes how you experience that pain a little later.

Alternatively, another theory suggests that hypnosis focuses your attention on other objectives or images which shifts your primary focus away from concentrating on the pain.

There are many studies currently being carried out to discover exactly why hypnosis is so effective in blocking pain, many of which are focusing on the physiological changes (the changes in your brain) that take place whilst you are under hypnosis.

From these studies, it seems likely that hypnosis activates certain parts of the brain that are concerned with focusing attention. In effect, hypnosis enables your brain to focus on something completely different than the pain. In this way your brain is prevented from bringing the pain that you were previously suffering or were about to suffer to conscious awareness.

So, now you know that pain relief is 100% possible through the use of hypnosis, the next question is, what are you going to do about it?

The first option is to find a hypnotist or hypnotherapist in your neighborhood who can help you by analyzing your problems and then hypnotizing you in order to start addressing your pain.

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