Hypnotherapy in Medicine
by Paul Gustafson
In spite of tremendous medical advances there remains the consistent question as to why some clients recover and flourish while others don't. The healthcare assembly line is rolling faster now than ever before. Despite technical success there is underlying concern about a client's emotional state, how they view themselves being ill, and what expectations they may have for recovery. The model of modern medicine is quite authoritarian. Our culture has taught us to look outside of ourselves for healing. We believe that we get health from others, that the healer or physician has all the power, we hope. This model minimizes the importance or even the consideration of our own abilities. It also creates the expectation that everything is achieved on a conscious level. This approach can leave us feeling dependent and vulnerable.
Until recently hypnosis had been on the outside looking in. It has mostly been viewed as dark and mysterious or as a manipulative stage act going for the cheap laughs. Things are changing quickly. Research is bearing out what many have been claiming for decades. Hypnotherapy is now widely practiced in 21st century medicine, psychiatry, dentistry, athletics and business.
How It Works
Our bodies routinely fight off illness. We self-heal and repair in spite of how we often disregard our own health. With hypnosis we are able to enhance our ability to heal and recover. We can manage symptoms with less medication, control own comfort and level of relaxation and use creative imagery to look forward in time envisioning resolution.
The subconscious mind is our storage facility as well as our control center. It balances our breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and co-ordinates every step we take. It's a very powerful place. Once ideas or beliefs hang around long enough they begin to take root and grow into action.
Think of the subconscious mind as a greenhouse. In a fertile climate you can grow roses or poison ivy with equal success. Hypnotherapy is the process of stepping into the greenhouse, pulling out the weeds by the roots and leaving positive healthy replacements. What our mind conceives or body achieves.
All About You
The healing potential of hypnosis lies within. It's not something administered to you from a hypnotherapist, but rather this power resides in all of us. The therapist is the tour guide helping you tap into your own skills and abilities.
We all go in and out of hypnotic trance several times a day. It's a very natural thing. Hypnosis is just the act of enabling this process and then offering suggestions and imagery supporting the desired change or improvement. Once you understand how easy it is, self-hypnosis is an effective way to either augment medical intervention or to fine tune and improve many areas of your life.
There has been resurgence in the medical use of hypnosis as well as an increased knowledge and sophistication with how it is used for both inpatient and outpatient clinical applications. With better understanding the shift has going from authoritarian to empowering clients to add their own healing touch to the plan of care.
Clients in an Intensive Care setting benefit from hypnosis with a deeper more quality rest speeding up their recovery process. Cardiac clients are better able to balance their blood pressure, regulate their breathing and heart rate.
Hypnosis helps Oncology clients make immediate inroads with symptom management issues such as reducing stress and anxiety, altering sensory perception, minimizing pain or pressure, relieving nausea, vomiting, respiratory distress and even preventing hair loss.
In addition hypnosis offers clients increased confidence and self-image as well as helping them look forward in time to either envision a healthy resolution, accepting a chronic condition or even finding the inner peace and guidance to manage end of life transition.
In the Pediatric setting hypnosis can be very helpful. Children have amazing imaginations and the process of hypnosis activates the subconscious mind where our imagination lives. What better gift to offer a frightened child than control during a time of crisis. It's a tremendous advantage to melt away fear and explain procedures and treatments in identifiable terms when children are relaxed, comfortable and able to learn and succeed.
Clients in the Obstetric or Gynecology settings can benefit from hypnosis in the areas of increased fertility, relieving heartburn related to pregnancy, lessening pain, pressure, or premenstrual syndrome symptoms and supporting a comfortable natural child birth.
Hypnosis helps Internal Medicine clients reverse the effects of coronary artery disease, improving immune response, diminish inflammation from arthritis and rheumatism, relieve tension and migraine headaches, lose weight, raynauds disease, anorexia nervosa, gastrointestinal disorders and stress related issues.
Hypnosis supports Mental Health clients by relieving stress, anxiety, depression, fears, phobias and addictions. Hypnosis puts the client in control. They play a big role in their own recovery, which adds to increased fulfillment and long term success.
Hypnosis helps Dentistry clients as an effective analgesic adjunct, it relieves anticipatory anxiety, distorts time perception speeding up the procedure, minimizes bleeding, excessive salivation and gagging.
And Dermatology clients can be helped with clearing up of warts, pruritis, herpes, and pain relief from burns.
Medical hypnosis has quietly placed its foot inside the door of mainstream medicine and is beginning to show what it has to offer. It's now perceived as a treatment with the capacity to support a wide range of physical, emotional and psychological concerns in the healthcare setting.
As medical science pushes forward so does the need to explore complimentary modalities of support. Today's clients face an overwhelming array of technology. By also considering our own natural healing abilities and pursuing health and wellness from within, we blend nature and science leading to better understanding, empowered health and well-being.
© Paul Gustafson
Paul Gustafson, RN, BSN, CH runs Healthy Hypnosis of Burlington, Massachusetts. He has eleven years of nursing experience and eight years specializing in the field of hospice nursing.