Hypnotherapy can help at a deep level with pain, in the following ways:
1) by directly reducing levels of pain
2) by altering your perception of pain
3) by improving your mind's response to pain
4) by dealing with trauma that may have initiated the pain response
5) by reducing physical tension
6) by helping you to cope with pain
What is pain?
Doctors discovered during the world wars that un-injured people could be in great pain e.g., if they thought the blood they could see was their own. Likewise, injured soldiers were equally capable of experiencing no pain, despite huge injury, if their minds were intent on a task e.g., getting to greater safety or rescuing someone.
Switching off pain
Do you think you'd notice a cut on your leg if you were absorbed in the process of saving a child's life e.g., from falling over a cliff? Yet this same cut would likely be very painful if you were just sat at home doing nothing. Pain, it turns out, is subjective, and our minds are quite capable of switching it off! Its just not usually under our direct control.
One definition of pain is:
"Pain is the mind's emotional response to warn of tissue damage."
Born inside the mind, it follows that pain has the potential to be completely switched off by the mind too. This is exactly what happens as people commonly undergo anaesthetic-free operations using only hypnosis for pain relief.
Hypnotherapy can also help considerably with chronic pain. After all why does your mind keep giving out the same warning over and over again? If you got the message the first time it might feel a bit pointless 10 years later when it's still relentlessly emitting the same old warning! These responses sometimes even persist long after the initiating condition has cleared up. In such cases the mind just gets 'caught in a loop'.
Hypnotherapy can change these conditioned emotional responses by accessing the subconscious, where conditioned responses are stored.
Hypnotherapy can help with the following kinds of pain:
Consult your GP first
*Pain is a vital response that lets us know when something is wrong. In all cases the client must have consulted their GP first before I will see them. Only in very rare cases will pain be completely removed, and only with a doctor's approval. More usually it would be reduced and/or transformed. Once you have seen your GP we can work on a unique solution based upon what is known about your pain.
*Required disclaimer: Results, symptoms and treatment may vary from person to person, all individual cases are taken on merit.
Treating pain with hypnotherapy, depending on the nature of the pain, might involve:
- Visualisations and progressive relaxation in hypnosis (removing tension, especially in and around the affected areas is generally the first and easiest step towards relief)
- Directly reducing your pain* (with hypnotic suggestion your sensations of pain can become more under your control such that it can be largely reduced)
- Changing your perception of pain (with hypnotic suggestion your perception can change from feelings of pain to feelings of e.g., pressure or warmth). Hence any distress being experiencd can fall away dramatically.
- Changing your emotional response to pain (pain is an emotional response designed to ensure you take immediate and serious action. As such there is often a hidden element of fear associated with pain which makes the sensation far worse. With hypnotic suggestion the subconscious can be encouraged to drop this fear element. Other emotional associations with your pain can also be removed such as anger, guilt, depression etc, all of which lightens your load.)
- Dealing with the trauma that initiated the pain. (in cases of serious injury the event that initiated the pain might have been traumatic and could benefit from reprocessing. By revisiting this event in the comfort and safety of hypnotic relaxation the emotional element can be reduced and hence the pain too. This approach may also cure cases of 'mystery pain' when these are the expression of a long forgotten trauma or even a current subconscious conflict, stress etc,.)
- Boosting self-esteem and motivation with hypnotic suggestion and NLP (NLP anchoring can allow you to summon up your best, as and when it's needed, and post hypnotic suggestions can help you feel better about yourself and what you are dealing with... all of which can help you cope long term)
This varies greatly depending on each individual's pain and situation.