Did you know that an estimated I person in 5 suffers chronic pain?
Did you know more women than men experience chronic pain?
We do know that once over the age of 50 years this number escalates to 1 person in 3.
And surprisingly a third of all people who experience chronic pain are unable to identify the original cause.
Chronic pain is estimated to cost the Australian economy $34.3 billion each year. Chronic pain costs the United States $365 billion per year.
Hypnotherapy has been used at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital for more than three decades, since Dr Graham Wicks, a medical hypnotherapist at the hospital, pioneered its use. Over the years, hypnosis has been used to treat thousands of children with problems as diverse as bedwetting, pain, and helping children comfortably use hypnotic anaesthesia with needles and renal dialysis.
In a 2000 study conducted by the APA, results proved that hypnotherapy works as part of a treatment program for pain relief. Among the benefits associated with hypnosis is the ability to alter the emotional components of the experience of pain.
Research conducted in 2003 by Psychologists Patterson and Jensen, concluded that hypnotherapy techniques for the relief of acute pain are superior and often better than other recognized treatments for pain.
A meta-analysis (a study of studies) conducted in 2000 by psychologists of APA, Montgomery, DuHamel and Redd, showed that 75% of clinical and experimental participants with different types of pain obtained substantial pain relief from hypnotic techniques. It was concluded that hypnotherapy is likely to be effective for most people suffering from diverse forms of pain. This indicates that hypnotherapy strategies are equivalent or more effective than other treatments for both acute and chronic pain, and they are likely to save both money and time for patients and clinicians. Evidence suggests that hypnotherapy should be a recognised standard treatment for pain.
Pain is a signal that something needs attention. Pain should be taken seriously and never treated as just ‘all in the mind’. A key factor is that when we are in pain, we naturally become highly emotional. Emotional thinking is always black or white. The point here is identifying that a person’s psychological attitudes, beliefs, expectations and wellbeing all have a direct effect on the way they experience pain. Depression, anxiety, boredom and relaxation all influence the intensity of physical pain. The mind and body influence one another.
We have a saying “What the Mind believes, the Body responds to” and in regards to pain we too often are left focusing on the pain thereby intensifying the pain subconsciously.
If you have a raging toothache you become focused on that pain no matter what’s on TV or how interesting your friend’s conversation might be. If you kicked your toe and it became incredibly painful, we would sit and wait for the throbbing to pass focusing on the hurt, however, if you jumped up, or engaged in an interesting conversation your pain would subside quickly as your focus has been instantly removed. Likewise, how many stories have we heard where a person has suffered a painful injury, such as a burn or broken limb only to continue to assist or save others before stopping to focus on the damage they themselves experienced. This is when their pain starts, not at the commencement of the injury but once we focus on it.
So how do we begin to alter the experience of pain?
The American Society of Clinical Hypnotists likens hypnosis to using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. When our minds are concentrated and focused, we can use them more powerfully. This applies to either focusing on the pain area or away from that pain thereby reducing any discomfort.
Hypnosis can be used to influence both mental and emotional reference to the pain and physical experience of it. Pain captures and narrows our focus of attention.
How Does Hypnotherapy Reduce Pain?
• Hypnotherapy is a natural process in which your mind is more receptive to positive suggestions while releasing negative feelings
• A natural experience which is genetically inherent in humans
• Through our Prefrontal cortex – Hypnosis can reduce pain intensity and our emotional responses to pain
• It enables our mind to refocus elsewhere and away from the pain area creating a higher level of comfort
The USA Library of Medicine states, “Hypnotherapy is an altered state of consciousness that comprises of heightened attention, dissociation of peripheral awareness, and enhanced responsiveness. Hypnotherapy has a long tradition of effectiveness in controlling somatic symptoms, such as pain. Pain, the most common symptom in clinical practice, is a multi-dimensional experience, which includes sensory-discriminative, affective-emotional, cognitive and behavioral components. There is a growing recognition for hypnosis and related techniques in pain management. Psychological approaches to pain control, such as hypnosis, can be highly effective analgesics”.
Using hypnotherapy for pain treatment can be found in records as old as literature from the 1840s. It is a process of changing the perception, sensation, thought, and behavior through suggestions. Hypnosis is one of the oldest methods used for pain treatment, but has not received much interest or wide use since invention of external drug medications often resulting in harmful side effects. We all know long-term use of pain meds require increased amounts to be consumed to obtain the same effect. This is a detrimental downward spiral, so unnecessary, to manage or reduce your pain level.
Hypnotherapy is a natural process in which your mind is more receptive to positive suggestions while releasing negative feelings. It aids the minds ability to rapidly integrate new skills, strategies and strengths. It is an alternative healing method that is used to create subconscious change in the form of new responses, thoughts, attitudes, behaviours or feelings.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning techniques have allowed us to see that hypnotherapy modulates activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, which links the limbic (emotions) and sensory cortical areas of the brain during hypnotic pain relief.
The American Society of Clinical Hypnotists research has shown medical hypnosis to be helpful for acute and chronic pain. In 1996, a panel of the National Institutes of Health found hypnosis to be effective in easing cancer pain. More recent studies have demonstrated its effectiveness for pain related to burns, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis and reduction of anxiety associated with surgery. An analysis of 18 studies by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York revealed moderate to large pain-relieving effects from hypnosis, supporting the effectiveness of hypnotic techniques for pain management.
When someone is in a relaxed trance you can begin to direct their attention to other areas of their body, or other times and places when they were free from discomfort. This is a distraction technique. Distraction is enormously powerful.
The great Dr Milton Erickson, the recognised father of modern hypnotherapy, once suggested to a cancer patient experiencing intractable pain that she should hallucinate a lion coming towards her. The major distraction of the lion enabled the pain to be switched off. Erickson taught her to self hypnotically conjure up the lion whenever she needed to diminish her own pain.
There are four main strategies we use for pain reduction using Hypnotherapy. They are:
By relaxing the person experiencing pain and directing them to dial down that pain, while focusing on another area or external events in their life, substantial pain reduction can be achieved.
VirtualHypnotherapy.com Reduce Pain session provides a cost-effective hypnotherapy treatment you can download and listen to as needed to reduce any feeling of pain and refocus your mind away from the area off discomfort. It intercepts the message from the pain area to the brain, similar to how a pain medication tablet works, however, this is drug-free with no adverse side effects.
There is no need to continue to suffer the discomfort you have put up with for too long. Grab your Reduce Pain session today, sit back, relax and allow the suggestions to make a positive and profound ongoing effect to make your life more comfortable and free.