Does Hypnotherapy Work for Pain Relief?

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The short answer is yes! End of story. Here’s a longer answer that will hopefully convince you to look into it for your own pain or for someone else in your life who is suffering from pain.

Hypnosis is an experiential process. It engages a part of your mind that’s non-linear. Some people call it subconscious mind; some call it unconscious; some call it right-brain thinking. You want your pain to stop on a conscious level, but what part of you can actually create the change you desire? That’s your subconscious mind, and it may have some obstacles preventing that from happening. If I only explain this to you in an intellectual, “this is what happens” manner, I won’t be reaching that part of your mind; therefore explanations may not “click.” See, you could understand it intellectually, but to grasp it fully, you have got to experience it. Try it for yourself. Book a session with your hypnotherapist today!

Hypnosis is worth the investment for many. So how do you decide if hypnosis is worth your investment? For many people, their insurance company does not cover medical hypnosis at present time. The irony is that hypnosis is much cheaper than medications, surgeries, and other expensive medical treatments. I would even argue that even when it’s not covered by insurance, and there is a bigger upfront investment compared with a visit to a doctor’s office, it’s still often less expensive.

Hypnosis is effective for most. Is there a guarantee that it will work? No, and it’s the same with drugs or any other medical treatment. You will get benefits most likely, but nobody can predict for sure how much and/or how quickly. Most people will need at least four sessions to experience the full benefit; however, there have been cases when a person went to one session and experienced results for life. So much will depend on you, your condition, and your hypnotist. My personal experience with my own clients and clients of my colleagues has been that the vast majority will experience some improvement in their pain level, in that first session, and I mean like 90 or more percent of people.

Benefits of hypnosis often outweigh the cost. When you go get a pill from the doctor, you can pretty much be sure there is some type of unpleasant side effect. What is great about hypnosis is instead of negative side effects, it has many positive side effects. Whether you experience these side effects and to what extent depends on the individual. For example, many clients report improved sleep after some hypnotherapy sessions, regardless of what issue they are working on.

What is a successful outcome? A lot of people view success as a complete remission from their condition. Now imagine someone living with pain every day of his or her life. Maybe you are the one who has this incredible amount of pain that you have no choice, but to get used to functioning with. What would a 20% improvement mean to you? How would it improve the quality of your life? Would you be able to live your life 20% more fully? How about 30%? 40%? 50%? How about if you could be comfortable just one hour a week? It could give you that one break from your daily suffering that gives you hope back. If you also consider that some of the patients who turn to hypnotherapy are desperate, and have been through more conventional medical approaches as well as alternative ones, perhaps for many years, and are turning to a hypnotist as a last resort, their definition of success might very well be to get some relief. Perhaps hypnotherapy work will provide enough relief to function in their daily lives or even 100% relief from pain.

My vision for incorporating medical hypnosis into conventional medicine. My vision is that there will be a hypnotist available on staff in every hospital, so that if someone either suffers from too many  drug side effects, or simply wants a drug free alternative, that person can still stay comfortable during their treatment and recovery process. I mean can you imagine a medical paradigm where the doctor asks you “Would you like this drug or would you like to use the power of your mind?” Now I know some of you will say I want the drugs. You know what, I’m not advocating substituting medications with hypnosis each and every time, not even close to that. I’m only saying let’s have this alternative for people that is inexpensive and free of side effects. Let’s give people this simple choice that gives them back the power to make decisions over their health.

Medical hypnosis is a complimentary approach, not a substitute for medical treatment. Medical hypnosis has a unique niche to fill in a medical community. There are lots of mind-body disciplines that exist yet none that integrate so seamlessly with medical establishments as they exist today. Hypnotists don’t want to be doctors. They don’t want to treat or prescribe medications for physical or mental illnesses. They want to offer one piece of the puzzle that is sadly lacking in medical establishments now. I should mention that there are many practitioners who do know the power of the mind as well as approach treatment from a whole person perspective, however, for the vast majority of patients, they don’t have that experience when they go to a hospital or a treatment facility. Perhaps incorporating medical hypnosis into treatment plans will also make it more widely available, and covered by insurance for everyone.

Research is out there that offers proof for the effectiveness of medical hypnosis. I’m not a licensed psychotherapist, therefore, I have not been trained to analyze scientific research; however, I can take a look at some studies and understand the basic point they are making. One such study carried out in the University of Washington Medical Center, reviewed various controlled trials involving the use of hypnosis to control pain. It concluded that hypnosis can provide a significantly greater reduction in pain than physical therapy, education, or the management of medications. It even found that the hypnotic treatment did not even have to be called ‘hypnosis’ for it to be effective. Many other studies are out there. You can look on Google Scholar or ask your doctor to look into it. Many doctors are not educated on uses of medical hypnosis, but if they are patient centered providers, they will be happy to look into this simple approach that could help their most difficult patients.

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On January 12, 2016
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