How hypnosis can help with chronic pain.
By Joanne Reeves-Baker BSc Pych hons HPD
Joanne was herself a sufferer of chronic pain from Endometriosis, Adenomyosis and PCOS and says that “ There is no question that learning the art of hypnosis was the first thing that stopped me from killing myself.”
We live in a world of wonders, of medical miracles, where technological leaps are a normal way of life. We have grown to expect that doctors will always have an answer, that there is always a ‘little pill’ that can be taken to make everything all right.
In a world where there is always an answer, what do you do when the answer is “we can’t do anything”?
When pain killers simply don’t work, more and more people are turning to hypnosis as an effective alternative. For me
“As time goes on, the less sessions you need, as you learn the techniques the quicker you can put yourself under, the more in control you have of your mind and body.” Amy
Hypnotic Trance, Hypnotherapy and Self-Hypnosis are becoming recognised more and more as a more gentle and effective treatment for pain; especially for conditions that are chronic or acute, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and back pain to name but a few.
Hypnosis and Self Hypnosis have long been used to manage pain, indeed you may have heard about people who undergo surgery using hypnosis rather than use anaesthesia. Before the advent of anaesthetic, hypnosis was frequently used as a natural sedative for surgical procedures in the 1800s. In different forms it has been used all over the globe, even dating back to the bronze age in ancient Greece.
How it works is actually very simple. The way we perceive physical sensations is directly linked with the way our mind responds to pain. Pain, or worrying about pain, triggers fear, anxiety, despair, and hopelessness. These stressful emotional reactions can exacerbate the reaction to pain, especially when it makes your muscles tense up and constrict.
Hypnosis is a tool to train and teach our mind to respond in different ways.
One of the problems with acute or chronic pain is the feedback loop the neurological system goes through. To put it simply, when we feel pain, the neuron or pain receptor gets activated. The more often it gets activated, the stronger or quicker the reaction is. It’s a vicious circle.
At its most basic level, hypnosis teaches the mind and body to relax. This includes relaxing the nervous system, pain receptors, the nerves, the muscles, the area surrounding the pain. The more adept you become at deep relaxation the more your mind can disconnect from the pain reaction.
“I learnt how to enter a state of very deep trance, in this state I could remove myself from the pain signals that my body was experiencing.” Joanne
At a more proficient level, with the guidance of a professional hypnotherapist, hypnosis uses imagery to not only relax, but also to reduce the level of pain. The subconscious mind responds very positively to imagery to help it make sense of the world. For example, imagining pain like boiling sea and then imagining yourself safe on a pier, creating a distance from the pain.
In another example, imagine having a pain dial which you have the ability to change the setting that your body is experiencing. Say a dial which can shift from a 10 to a 7. Thus reducing the level of pain experienced. This is a skill which is invaluable for people who suffer from permanent painful conditions.
Hypnosis will never eradicate pain, pain is there for a reason, to tell your brain that something is wrong and we ignore it at our peril. However, with cases of chronic or acute pain, when we understand why the pain is happening and how we can support the body in the best possible way (by also looking at lifestyle, diet, exercise etc.), then the brain will find it acceptable to turn that dial from a 10 to a 7, or even lower.
“Learning this skill not only helped my pain, but gave me a tool to survive the emotional fall out.” (Private Client)
When you practice entering the deep relaxed state of trance there are many other benefits: reduced blood pressure, less anxiety, feeling more in control, more chilled, all of which benefit YOUR day to day life. What else would you be doing if pain wasn’t getting in the way?
“My friends say I am back to my old self” Emma
Hypnosis has the potential to offer a drug free, hospital free way to deal with your pain.
If you would like to learn this ancient skill yourself I am running an online training course to learn Self Hypnosis for Pain Management click on the image below to learn more.