Hypnosis is a natural way for the body to heal itself without any adverse side effects. One thing I must make clear is that I am not the one doing any "healing." While I am a skilled practitioner, I, Michael Peters of Focal Point Hypnosis, am not a doctor, and I don't perform any medical treatment. As a hypnotist, my job is to guide the client into a state of relaxation and have them focus on the desired outcome. Whether that outcome is a reduction in physical pain, a decrease in side effects from surgery or faster recovery time for a broken bone, hypnosis can help.
One particular study tested the effectiveness ofhypnosis for accelerated healing of broken bones. ( Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine. 5(2):67-75, Mar. 1999. Ginandes, CS, Rosenthal, DI.) In this particular study, six patients received hypnotic intervention, and six did not. The hypnosis group showed as much healing in six weeks as would typically occur in eight and one-half weeks! There was also less pain, less use of analgesics and increased mobility in the hypnosis group.
Another study tested the effectiveness of hypnosis for patients recovering from surgery. The hypnosis group listened to a 15-minute pre-surgery hypnosis session versus an empathic listening session in the control group. This clinical trial consisted of 200 breast cancer patients. In a 2007 article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Vol. 99, No. 17), the team reported that patients who received hypnosis reported less post-surgical pain, nausea, fatigue, and discomfort. The study also found that the hospital saved $772 per patient in the hypnosis group, mainly due to reduced surgical time. Patients who were hypnotized even required fewer analgesics during the surgery.
These studies are just the tip of the iceberg. Hypnosis has also been shown to help with IBS, migraines and the management of chronic pain as well. Another widespread use of hypnosis is for stress reduction. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress contributes to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
More than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related illnesses and complaints. Stress can affect your mood, your sleep patterns, and even your weight. Hypnosis is a powerful tool in helping to alleviate stress and improve overall well-being.
The Nocebo Effect
I'm sure you've heard about placebos before. They can come in the form of a sugar pill or a treatment that has no therapeutic value but yet is as effective as an actual medication or procedure. In other words, just having the belief that something will work is sufficient for healing a particular condition. The powers of the mind are fascinating, and there is much to learn about the healing properties of placebos, but have you ever heard of nocebos? A nocebo effect happens when a belief that an illness will get worse makes the condition worse.
When patients in double-blind studies get warnings about side effects, approximately 25 percent of them suffer severe side effects even if they received a sugar pill. Although side effects from medication are serious, nocebos in hospitals can have negative effects as well. Verbal and non-verbal communications from doctors and nurses may contain negative suggestions that can trigger a nocebo response. [Negative and positive suggestions in anaesthesia: Improved communication with anxious surgical patients].Hansen E, Bejenke C Anaesthesist. 2010 Mar; 59(3):199-202, 204-6, 208-9.
In other words, if a doctor says "you're a high-risk patient," it may impact the outcome of the treatment. In defense of these doctors, they are simply telling you the truth as they know it. What they may not know is that patients are highly suggestible during times of stress such as right before undergoing surgery. Saying something like "it'll all be over soon," may sound different to a compassionate doctor than it does to the subconscious mind of a nervous patient. The point is words, body language and tonality all matter when communicating with patients. So what does hypnosis have to do will all of this?
Hypnosis: An Adjunct to Medical Care
Once again hypnosis doesn't treat or cure diseases, it merely assists in the natural healing ability of the body. If studies about placebos and nocebos show the impact of beliefs, why not use that very same concept in suggestion therapy? Instead of worrying about how poorly the surgery will go, why not go into a relaxed state of mind and visualize how everything will turn out fine? You heal quickly and entirely without adverse side effects. Your doctor is amazed at how you're recovering quicker than any of his patients. The medication is working as it should, and your mind is at peace. Doesn't that sound much better?
Along with positive suggestions, guided imagery is also beneficial. Imagine a broken bone is being sewn together by a golden thread or maybe snow flurries are gently cooling burned skin. The possibilities are endless. Hypnosis can clear any negative beliefs you may have. Perhaps you feel that you're receiving punishment for something you did wrong and deserve to be unhealthy, or maybe you keep telling yourself that you'll never be the same again. These beliefs don't always occur on the conscious level. Letting go of negative thoughts and replacing them with empowering ideas are essential in the healing process.
A Complementary (Not Free!) Approach
Hypnosis is a form of complementary therapy and is not intended to cure any disease. Although I'm a firm believer in "swinging for the fences" and helping clients achieve their health goals, Focal Point Hypnosis is also required to assist clients ethically. Any potential client dealing with physical pain, migraines, an upcoming surgery, diabetes, morbid obesity, and any other medical condition that requires the use of medication must be under the proper care of a medical doctor.
With your written permission I would ask your doctor if hypnosis is an acceptable form of complementary treatment to your condition. In the cases of depression or severe anxiety, that is a job for a mental health practitioner. If your counselor feels that hypnosis will benefit you by alleviating stress or working on self-confidence, I will be more than happy to assist you. Experience the full potential of your subconscious mind and schedule a time to visit my Chicagoland office today.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a mental health counselor. Please see your doctor for all medical related issues before making an appointment with me. Although hypnosis is an effective adjunct to proper medical care, it is not intended to replace the care provided by a medical doctor or mental health practitioner.