Medical Hypnosis Shown to Reduce Symptoms of Many Health Conditions

Woman CoughingIt is astounding to see the list of studies that show the great range of medical conditions that can be alleviated with hypnosis.  I often get calls from a someone with a chronic illness who has been searching diligently for a way to get help after going through every traditional medical treatment with no results. It has ranged from a young woman with a disfiguring skin condition, to a 70-year old with a 7-year cough that won’t go away, to a woman who wants to control her hand tremors from Parkinson’s enough to hold a coffee cup without burning herself.

While I do not diagnose or treat disease, I do offer many resources to reduce stress. Since it is estimated that almost 90% of all visits to primary health care providers are due to stress-related problems, hypnosis to reduce stress can play an immense role in not just mental well-being, but physical health.  Stress has been linked to all the leading causes of death, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, accidents and suicide.

Here is a partial list, but you get the picture. I provide self-hypnosis tools to empower my clients to give hope and to actually make a difference in their physical bodies by using the power of their own minds. If you would like to see the studies showing the benefits of hypnosis for any of these conditions, please send me an email and I will be glad to send you the articles.

  1. Addictions
  2. Agoraphobia
  3. Allergies
  4. Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia
  5. Anti-Aging
  6. Arthritis
  7. Asthma
  8. Bedwetting
  9. Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  10. Bruxism (Teeth Grinding/Jaw Clenching)
  11. Burns
  12. Cancer
  13. Control of Bleeding and Hemophilia
  14. Diabetes
  15. Erectile Dysfunction
  16. Fear of Dentist
  17. Fear of Injections and Medical Procedures
  18. Fertility/Childbirth
  19. Fibromyalgia
  20. Glaucoma
  21. HIV/AIDS
  22. HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
  23. Headaches
  24. Healing
  25. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  26. Multiple Sclerosis
  27. Pain
  28. Parkinson’s Disease
  29. Plastic Surgery
  30. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  31. Sleep Problems
  32. Stress
  33. Strokes
  34. Stuttering
  35. Tinnitus
  36. Tourette’s Syndrome/Tics
  37. Trichotillomania
  38. Warts

 

 

 

 

Learn to Manage your Pain with Hypnosis

The sensation of pain varies greatly from one person to the next.  Many of the factors are not coming from the actual pain receptors, like-the  fear of death or financial ruin, previous experiences and associations with pain, lack of control, what the pain signifies, and anxiety. These all are located in the brain. While medical treatment can cure and treat the actual injury or disease, hypnosis can offer relief from these secondary emotional and psychological conditions.

Through therapeutic imagery and visualizations, combined with long-established relaxation techniques, we teach and coach clients to diminish their sensation of pain and regain a sense of control. They learn to transform or displace it, to direct their attention away from it, and gain tools to directly decrease their perception of it. Many of these techniques have been widely used for childbirth, now many are using them to reduce their fears of medical procedures and needles, restore their sleep, and depend less on pain medications.

Not only can individuals learn to use their own minds to block the pathway carrying pain messages from the site of injury to the brain, but also to change brain chemistry, releasing endorphins and serotonin.

My pain management clients use these tools for both acute pain due to injury, illness or surgery and for chronic pain.  Many times it is appropriate to experience “signal” pain, so hypnosis can create an analgesic effect, relieving anxiety and relaxing the muscles. But, it is especially valuable for chronic pain, since often pain medication is the only treatment available. Besides the risk of addiction, patients often hesitate to take it, due to grogginess and other side effects that may interfere with effectiveness and safety on the job.  In some situations, after diagnosis and treatment, a more complete anesthetic effect is appropriate.

Some additional benefits include lower patient pre-operative anxiety, fewer post-surgical complications and nausea, less need for drugs, less bleeding during surgery, and faster recovery time. Since the 1950’s thousands of people have undergone surgery with no anesthetic other than hypnosis, so it definitely can help you cope with such ailments as chronic back pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, burns, arthritis, and shingles.

Celebrating Life after Cancer

Are you or a loved one a cancer survivor? If so, then you are getting ready to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day, the worldwide Celebration of Life, held the first Sunday of June.

Many people have found that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful and even more satisfying and enjoyable. Survivors often experience the crisis as a major turning point in life’s journey.

Research shows that survivors of serious illnesses usually demonstrate these 3 characteristics-

1. They have a sense of Purpose.

2. They are connected with People.

3. They feel that they have Power in their lives.

Do you have this “tripod of self-healing” supporting you right now?

Treatment schedules, side effects, financial issues, pain, and statistics can be very stressful and disorienting.  Your hobbies probably are the last thing on your mind. Instead of reaching out you may feel like withdrawing from friends and loved ones, and that you are at the mercy of the medical profession and your prognosis.

Scan through your life history. What has energized you the most? Is there something you have always wanted to do? Maybe you have almost forgotten.

Cancer as a Turning Point, by Lawrence LeShan, PhD, tells the stories of many individuals that started living life in new rewarding ways and actually experienced greater freedom and awareness after a diagnosis of cancer. Not only is the book inspiring, but it offers a wealth of practical, easy to do tips to create a rich and meaningful life.

He and his patients explored these questions-“What are your special and unique ways of being, relating, creating that are your own and natural ways to live? What is your special music to beat out in life, your unique song to sing? What style of life would give you zest, enthusiasm, and involvement? What has blocked your perception and/or expression in the past?-with amazing results!

I am facilitating a new group at the Nourished Health Center on  Thursday evenings, starting June 6, 6:30 pm, to create on-going supportive PEOPLE connections and to learn new tools for EMPOWERMENT. We will explore our lives to rediscover and rekindle PASSION and PURPOSE and find relief from the burnout from illness, stress and treatments. I hope you’ll join us!

Life with & beyond Cancer
Cutting edge mind/body tools, resources and support

 

To register go to http://www.meetup.com/Technologies-of-the-Self/ or call or email Victoria at951-268-4280, Victoria@technologiesoftheself.org, $5

If you won’t be able to join us, I highly recommend the following books-

Anatomy of an Illness: as Perceived by the Patient, by Norman Cousins

Anti-Cancer: a New Way of Life, David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD

Cancer as a Turning Point, by Lawrence LeShan, PhD

Guided Imagery for Self-Healing, Martin Rossman, MD

Individualized private sessions are also available in person or Skype.

5 Quick Tips to Relieve the Stress of a Serious Illness

In the classic Cancer a Turning Point: the Handbook for People with Cancer, Their Families, and Health Professionals, Lawrence Leshawn decribes the difference between a bad dream and a nightmare. In a nightmare these three elements are present:

  • Terrible things are happening and/or worse are threatened:
  • Your will is helpless to aid you—there is nothing you can do. Any hope resides in other forces or people (as in medical discoveries about which you can have no real effect and on whose appearance your life depends); and
  • There is no time limit (155).

He states that cancer patients awake to a nightmare every morning and makes the observation that besides the physical discomfort, “the fact that the person with cancer is living in a waking nightmare has a weakening and exhausting effect.”

I would extend this appraisal of life to many people living with a serious chronic illness, from MS to rheumatoid arthritis, to Alzheimer’s or mental illness.  And, it’s not just the patient who is living the nightmare, but the loved ones and family members, too. Never knowing when there will be another sign that the remission or period of calm is over, anticipating ahead of time another outburst or emergency.

Are You Sick of Being Sick?

Do you live in dread of a relapse, or new sign that things are deteriorating?

Are you having trouble sleeping?

Worried about your finances? How you can pay for the expensive treatment? Keep your job or relationship?

This is a time where all your energy should be going to your own healing, not dealing with the circumstantial issues, but of course, they are real.

Here are 5 tips to immediately bring you inner peace within minutes-
Easy, free, and non-addictive!

The great thing about these particular suggestions is that they are free or very inexpensive, work quickly, and can create a peaceful atmosphere for others too, even without their awareness. (More in-depth suggestions will follow in another post.)

1.  Breathe like a baby. When we are stressed, we tend to breathe very shallowly. Notice how a baby’s tummy rises and falls as they breathe? You do it, too, when you are truly relaxed or asleep. Exhale completely through your mouth, now breathing through your nose; imagine that you are filling a balloon in your belly. Now let go and feel it emptying as you exhale. Even 3 deep breaths can affect our sympathetic nervous system activity, changing our brain chemistry and bringing in the relaxation response. The typical chest breath moves only about a half a pint of air. A full abdominal breath moves 8-10 times more. With more oxygen we also can think more clearly and make better choices in how to react.

2. Stretch. We often have no idea how tense our muscles are. To instantly relax muscle tension-as you inhale, tense up even more, in your pet areas to carry your stress. Now, let go all the way as you breathe out. Common areas are the shoulders, neck, and back.

3. Smile. No matter how bad we are feeling, for 40% of us, just changing our facial muscles into a smile will send a happy message to the brain. Check yourself now, to see if you are in the lucky group!

4. Smell. Neuroscientists say that the olfactory structures of the brain that process smell are wired directly into the deep limbic system. The natural oil of lavender reduces stress and depression and also enhances sleep.

5.  Listen. Music has quieted our inner selves for millennia. There are many CDs for various tastes in music that entrain the brain and heart, creating instant calming. One cardiologist found that for his cardiac patients, listening to classical music for 30 minutes produced calming effects equivalent to a 10-mg dose of Valium.

Great Resources

Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom, by Rick Hanson, Ph.D 2009.

 

Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D, 1987.

http://www.joanborysenko.com/en/mind_body_balance/

 

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping, by Robert. M. Sapolsky, 2004.

Americans are in More Pain

The Associated Press reports that Americans are in more pain than ever, probably due to the aging of the population, so pain killers are selling like crazy.  The use of oxycodone, found in OxyContin and Percocet has increased 16 times in some areas.

According to Gregory Bunt, medical director at the Daytop Village treatment clinics in New York, as we are getting older, more of us are really experiencing  pain. “Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.”

Some new formulations that are ready for release will have 10 times more  hydrocodone as that found in Vicodin. Some of the increase use is due to many addicts switching to prescription meds for the great sense of well-being, but physicians are much more willing to alleviate pain for their patients than in the past. They definitely increase a suffer’s quality of life, so it’s very easy to develop a dependency quite innocently.

Fortunately, many individuals learn to use their own minds to block the pathway carrying pain messages from the site of injury to the brain, and even affect their brain chemistry, releasing endorphins and serotonin. This is one aspect of my hypnotherapy practice that is especially rewarding.

See also  Pain Relief in Your Own Mind.

Unlearning Pain

When you are experiencing pain, it’s hard to accept that much of the sensation may be artificial. Yet, neurologist Ramachandran’s work with those with phantom pain from limbs that were no longer there, has shown how pain is actually an “illusion.” Through therapy with mirrors and visualization exercises, patients were able to diminish their experience of pain dramatically.

Pain specialists now believe that messages of pain travel from the site of damaged tissue through the nervous system through several “gates” before reaching the brain. The sensation can be blocked at many points. Even after reaching the brain, a gate can be closed and endorphins released, providing the body’s own pain killers.

Explaining the amazing statement, that “pain is an illusion,” Ramachandran says that

Our mind is a ‘virtual reality machine,’ which experiences the world indirectly an processes it at one remove, constructing a model in our head. So pain, like the body image, is a construct of our brain. (Quoted in The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge, MD).

fMRI brain scans also show how with the use of a placebo, the brain can turn down its own pain-responsive regions.

This fascinating work demonstrates why hypnosis is so effective for pain management.  Either by working with a hypnotherapist or by learning self-hypnosis, clients can learn to manipulate their experience of pain, freeing themselves from the need to rely so heavily on pain medications.

Pain Relief in Your Own Mind

We already have what it takes to manage pain within our own brains, especially with a little coaching. Through your life you have had many experiences of the natural way that you automatically desensitize yourself to discomfort.  Think about the first time you wore glasses, a watch or a ring, and how you were constantly aware of the sensation and would fiddle with them. Soon, you got to the place where you weren’t aware of them anymore. With practice, you can learn to intensify this same effect, creating your own analgesia, as you need it, without pain meds and their risk of side effects and addiction. This is just one of many approaches to deal with pain that your hypnotherapist can teach you.

Everyone’s experience of pain is increased by anxiety, fears, and our association of what the pain signifies. For instance a severe pain in the abdomen can be a sign that stomach cancer has returned and will be felt in very different ways than a woman who is excited about having her first child. Soldiers on the battlefield may hardly feel a severe injury, compared to a villager whose home has been destroyed. The soldier knows that his injury means that he will be going home with honor, while the villager has lost everything and sees nothing but doom ahead. In an altered state of deep relaxation you can learn to decrease the anxiety and create new associations.

Many parents were exposed to hypnotic techniques through the Lamaze Childbirth without Pain method of the ‘60s.  Proponents later dropped the “without pain” phrase, because, of course, women had pain, but they were still able to give birth without the dangers of anesthesia. Many of those same techniques are helpful tools in self-hypnosis, like the breathwork, distraction, and visualization.

Through hypnosis your brain chemistry actually changes. You can learn to activate the release of natural pain killers and calming agents. A recent study at UCLA showed that pain can be reduced just by looking at a photo of a loved one.

Some people say that they have such a strong will that they aren’t sure that they can be hypnotized. Actually, those with good powers of concentration can enter the hypnotic state very easily. Dr. Steve Gurgevich states in fact, that “all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.”

Here is his definition-

Hypnosis is a type of relaxed or passive concentration that enables us to become so absorbed and focused on our own ideas that we can exclude or minimize the energy we give to the other things going on around us. I particularly like the analogy of using our mind as a magnifying glass to focus and concentrate our ideas and thoughts so that our subconscious mind receives them clearly and accepts them.

Take a look at this  amazing 4-minute video to see what we can do with our own  minds-

The Power of the Placebo Effect

30 Uses of Hypnosis

This is not an exhaustive list, but is designed to give you an idea of the range of conditions that can be helped at Technologies of the Self.

  • Addictions-Smoking Cessation, Substance Abuse
  • Anger Management
  • Bedwetting
  • Career/Financial Success
  • Confidence/Motivation/Self Esteem, Self Image
  • Eating Disorders
  • Eczema
  • Fear of Heights, Water, Flying, Fear of Doctors, Dentists, Medical Procedures
  • Headaches
  • Immune System Support
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Memory, Concentration
  • Nail Biting
  • Pain Management
  • Panic Attacks
  • Phobias, Agoraphobia
  • Psoriasis
  • Fear of Public Speaking
  • Relationship Enhancement
  • Recovery from Surgery
  • Relaxation
  • Sexual Problems
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Sports / Work Performance
  • Stress / Anxieties/Worry
  • Study Habits
  • Test/Performance Anxiety, Stage Fright
  • Weight Loss
  • Writer’s Block

Some issues can be resolved in just one session. Others may take a series. For some conditions, a medical referral will be requested. We believe that a team approach offers the greatest support, so we are happy to collaborate with your psychologist and/or medical professional.

Call 720-460-0758 to set up a free consultation to find out how our services can help you find relief from a challenging condition or to achieve your personal goals more effectively.