Hypnotically Speaking

Let’s explore how hypnosis can help to manage pain. Pain signals the nervous system telling us something may be wrong and is the most common reason for a visit to the doctor’s office. As a major symptom of many medical conditions, it can interfere with a person’s quality of life on many levels. Pain is both a sensory and an emotional experience, and most often one is treated separate from the other. It can be sharp or dull and may come and go, or it may be consistent.

Hypnosis is more about helping you manage the fear and anxiety related to the pain. By inducing a state of relaxation, hypnosis redirects your attention away from the sensation of pain. If you are focusing your attention on a favorite place in nature, such as at the beach, and you are imagining the sand under your feet, the warm sun on your back, and the sound of the waves of relaxation, you will be less focused on your pain and relaxed enough to take indirect suggestion towards how to react to pain in the future. Now, if the pain is associated with a particular disease hypnosis can help in the healing process as well.

Many doctors and nurses have trained in hypnosis-especially those that work in the ER. Lucky for their patients when their physicians know the power of suggestion and can help them bring their blood pressure down or cool the sensation of a burn.

Speaking of burns, I am reminded of a story Drs Pam and Art Winkler share in their book named Mind Medicine. A nurse named Susan, after her first course in hypnosis, creatively applied her training with a patient within minutes.

As Susan was walking down the hallway of her hospital, she saw another nurse quickly walking out of an examination room. The nurse was holding a jar in her hand and she was crying. Susan heard loud sobs coming from a nearby examination room and knew something was wrong.

As the young nurse handed Susan the jar, she said, “Here, you do it! I applied this exactly as I should. But I just can’t hurt that patient anymore!” Then she quickly walked away.

Reading the label on the jar, Susan knew it was a salve for serious burns. As she walked into the examination room, she saw a woman suffering with third degree burns on her back. She wondered how she could possibly apply the medicine any differently than the other nurse. Then she remembered something she learned in class the weekend before regarding suggestibility when a person is in pain.

Susan entered the room and said, “I have a different cooling salve that I’m going to gently apply to your back. As soon as I put this soothing salve on your skin, you will immediately notice how cooling and soothing you feel.”

Seconds later the patient let out a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank you nurse. That medicine is so cooling. It really works better than that other medicine.”

Being new at hypnosis Susan wasn’t sure the suggestions would work. But she knew people in pain are super suggestible and the inner mind is open to any suggestion, positive or otherwise. Susan was amazed at how well suggestion relieved that patient’s pain.

Susan used what we call waking hypnosis, proving one doesn’t have to be in a hypnotic trance for suggestion to work.

If you or someone you know is experiencing pain consider hypnosis to help manage the pain. Until next time have a beautiful day! You deserve it!

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