Hypnosis And Medicine
Hypnosis And Medicine
John McGrail, C.Ht. (Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist) gives expert video advice on: Do medical health care professionals commonly use hypnosis?; How can hypnosis help me during a routine doctor visit?; How can hypnosis help me handle pain? and more...
Do medical health care professionals commonly use hypnosis?
Some do, but in my opinion not enough. I think that more medical schools should include training and exposure to hypnosis because when you integrate the mind and body together, and I've worked with a lot of people in conjunction with their physicians on issues from irritable bowel to fibromyalgia to diseases like AIDS and cancer, and it is proven clinically over and over and over again by institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes for Health that people experience less trauma. For instance, when they undergo surgery, they can have much less painful and traumatic experience with childbirth, heal faster from surgery, have less trauma, lose less blood, and recover quicker when the mind and body are worked within an integrated fashion. Hypnosis is a marvelous tool to create that integration.
How can hypnosis be integrated into traditional medicine?
Hypnosis or hypnotherapy can be a very, very powerful tool in helping people cope with, and sometimes relieve the symptoms of, a large variety of medical conditions. It is vitally important that everyone knows this: hypnosis must be used in conjunction with and under the referral of a licensed medical professional. Now every state has their own law as to what governs the scope and nature of hypnotherapy. In the state of California for instance, hypnotherapists are only allowed to work on vocational and/or avocational self-improvement, which is a huge spectrum of behaviours, emotions, and issues. However, if someone comes in with a specific medical issue like chronic pain, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, or cancer, or is facing surgery, a lay hypnotherapist is not trained to diagnose or treat those issues. However, the state of California, for instance, will allow a hypnotherapist to work in conjunction with a medical professional like a physician, a dentist, a psychiatrist, or psychotherapist. In fact it's required. When you do work together the results can be astounding. I've worked with AIDS patients, I've worked with cancer patients, I've worked with people with irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia; all these little diseases that don't really fit well into the Western medical model, and hypnosis has been really amazing. It's the same thing with pain relief. Hypnosis can actually help people go through surgeries without chemical anaesthesia. Now, not everybody can do that, but some can, and it is always analgesic in some way. So, to answer the question succinctly, yes; hypnosis is a very powerful tool in the adjunctive treatment of a wide variety of medical conditions. It must be used in conjunction with, and under the referral of, a licensed medical professional, and only that. If you go to a hypnotherapist and they do not demand that consultation and referral, do not go.
How can hypnosis help me during a routine doctor visit?
If you have that sort of fear of the doctor, hypnosis can help you relax and get rid of the tension. If you have a fear of injections we can help you get over the phobia about needles and that sort of thing. And just help you take it, take it the way it's meant to be, which is something that's going to be to your benefit.
How can hypnosis help me while I'm undergoing a medical procedure?
Some people wonder how hypnosis can help with medical procedures and of course there's so many different medical procedures, there's no pat answer to it. However, it has been clinically proven that for instance with surgery, hypnosis is very beneficial both in the preparation for and the recovery from surgery. As far as preparation, we can reduce stress and get the patient in a physical and psychological frame of mind to do what we can get the mind and body working together and that's very important because the mind and body are inextricably related. Post surgical hypnotherapy deals with accelerated healing and again clinical studies have shown that in the cases of surgery there is less trauma to the body, often less blood loss, and quicker and faster recovery times. And that has been proven to be the case for other medical treatments like with cancer patients, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, hynotherapy can be very helpful in helping a cancer patient cope with the side effects, the pain, the nausea and the discomfort associated with those therapies and so it makes it a much more bearable process and of course it can help with the healing, so it can be a very powerful thing, the mind controls the body.
How can hypnosis help me when I receive a diagnosis?
Receiving a diagnosis can be, to say the least, a very, very stressful experience, and stress is not a particularly healthy reaction, when it's chronic and over long periods. The body is meant to be in periods of stress for short periods of time. So, if a person gets a diagnosis, and it stresses them out, which is common, particularly if the diagnosis is serious, hypnotherapy can help reduce the stress, help the patient relax and focus on healing. So it can be very, very helpful.
How can hypnosis help me handle pain?
Hypnosis is a very powerful analgesic. Sometimes so powerful that a person can undergo major surgery with no chemical aneasthesia whatsoever, now that's a very small percentage of the population, maybe 2 to 5%, actually have the ability to have hypnosis be the anaesthesia for a dental or a medical procedure. However, the perception of pain is largely emotional, 15 to 25% of the perception of pain is actually the physical perception and the rest is emotional. And that's why everybody perceives pain differently. Some people are babies to pain, they can't take very much at all, they've learned that any pain is really really traumatic and other people can withstand enormous pain and not flinch, and so that part of it, that spectrum is the emotional part of pain. The mind is an amazing thing. Our brains are designed to really focus on one thing at a time. For instance, if I was to ask somebody in a course of conversation, "can you feel your left foot now", they'd go "oh yeah, there it is", but they couldn't feel it before. And so when we use hypnosis as a tool for pain management, what we do is redirect the brain's attention. For instance, suppose you had a pain in your leg, what we can have the brain redirect its attention to the hand, the left hand or maybe the left ear or and we can actually have the brain move the pain around and just literally make it go away. Now pain controls a very very sensitive topic because pain is a warning system. We feel pain because there is something wrong. So when someone calls me about pain management which I get quite a few calls about, I imagine the first thing we find out is what is the pain about. If it is medically related, then we have to get a referral from a physician. If someone comes in with a headache, and I help make the headache go away which is pretty easy and that headache was caused by a brain tumor, I've not done them any favors. And so while it is a very powerful tool for managing pain because we're managing that huge part of pain that is emotional, the cause of the pain is very very important. If it's a chronic issue and the person's physician knows that there's nothing life threatening then to use hypnosis to manage or eliminate that pain is absolutely appropriate. But if there's something going on that the patient doesn't know about and they come in with an ache or a pain, I'm gonna make sure in anybody that's reputable will make sure they get checked out by their doctor because the pain is there for a reason. But the mind is an amazing, amazing machine and it can literally control the perception of pain or discomfort and sometimes make it go away completely.
How can hypnosis help me through surgery?
The body is not just a machine. We can interchange parts, put new hearts and lungs and livers and kidneys in and hips and knees and all kinds of joints. However, to do that requires the mind to be involved in a couple of ways. It is the mind that controls the perception of pain, and often controls the rate of healing. So hypnosis can be an adjunctive therapy for both preparing for surgery, helping the patient relax, and focus on wellness and focus on an accelerated healing process. After surgery, it has been proven clinically in test after test, that there is often less bruising and trauma to the tissue and less blood loss. If there is less bruising and blood loss, then the recovery process is going to happen faster. So, again, we are tapping into the mind's own power to regenerate the body.
How can hypnosis help me get pregnant?
When people are trying to get pregnant, there's often an enormous amount of stress and tension involved, particularly if it's not happening in line with their scheduling. Anytime the body is stressed, it will not perform naturally. So hypnosis can be a very powerful way to help a couple;most often the woman, but not always. Hypnosis can help a couple to relax and get rid of stress, whilst letting nature do what it was designed to do. There is some thinking, and of course it's theoretical, that hypnosis can help the body stimulate the production of healthy eggs, or sperm, although this can'n't be proved. I don't know that there are any studies that have been done that have really addressed that situation, it has certainly been proven that some people using hypnotherapy have conceived where before they couldn't.
How can hypnosis help me through pregnancy and childbirth?
Hypnosis, hypnotherapy, again, because it is simply using the mind-body continnuum, can be very very beneficial to a woman who's pregnant and particularly during the labor and birthing stages. It can help with reduction of stress, it can help with helping alleviate the symptoms of morning sickness, promoting healthy flow of the hormones and growth of the fetus, and of course during labor and delivery, it can help alleviate pain and stress and make the whole process a much more pleasant and joyful experience. There are people, hypnotherapists, who specialize in labor and birthing, in pregnancies, so yes, hypnosis is great for pregnant women.
How can hypnosis help me manage chronic conditions?
It has been clinically proven that we can have some really profound effects. These diseases and conditions often don't fall into the classic Western model of medicine where, "Here's a pill, you take it and it goes away." These chronic conditions are not caused by a germ such as irritable bowel. There's been quite a bit of research done, particularly in Great Britain, on this particular condition. There is a stress component to any of these; fibromyalgia, chronic pain, irritable bowel, chronic fatigue syndrome, and because hypnosis is a wonderful tool for managing and alleviating stress, we can help the person calm down. And then we can have them visualize, for instance, their digestive system working smoothly, creating smooth and rhythmic peristalsis, which is the movement of the intestines as food passes through. The mind controls the body, and there's no secret to that anymore. So we're basically tapping into the mind's power to send different signals to those areas of the body that are not functioning the way we'd like them to, to help them function better.