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