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This article is written by my friend and collegue, Del Hunter Morrill, M.S., C.C.H.
The use of hypnosis and its effectivity with a wide variety of complaints has become more and more newsworthy, showing up more and more frequently in well-known magazines, professional journals and newsletters.
Michael Walkholz, in a Wall Street Journal issue of the year 2003, speaks of hypnosis increasingly being employed in mainstream medicine, stating that “numerous scientific studies have emerged in recent years showing that the hypnotized mind can exert a real and powerful effect on the body.” He cites several significant studies done at such prestigious schools as the University of North Carolina, Harvard Medical School, Stanford, and others that show the significance of hypnotic methods in encouraging relief and faster healing in various areas. Most significant is the work of the University of Washington, in which hypnosis greatly reduces the intense pain of the patients at their regional burn center.
In his article, Waldholz mentions a widely referred to randomized trial, published several years ago in the Lancet, a respected medical journal, which involved 241 patients at several medical centers. “Patients hypnotized before surgery required less pain medication, sustained fewer complications and left the hospital faster than a similar group not given hypnosis.”
As early as 1951, The Associated Press reported studies made at Johns Hopkins University Medical School by Dr. Harold Rosen of Baltimore. The study included a war veteran, who, having lost the facility to walk was able to use his limbs perfectly, after being hypnotized.
Many medical people, psychologists and hypnotherapists are using hypnotic methods and visualization to treat lung diseases, irritable bowel syndrome and various digestive system problems, prepare patients for easier surgery and recovery and, in some cases where anesthesia is contraindicated, do surgery using hypnosis rather than using pharmaceutical sedation. Hypnosis quickens the typical healing time with broken bones and other injuries, eases childbirth without drugs, mutes dental pain, and assists in alleviating chronic conditions which seemingly have no physical cause or need for continuation. It helps patients with habits that affect their adverse health such as weight control and smoking. At minimum it helps patients, considerably, with lessening the experiences of stress and tension on their bodies, and often cuts down the amount of medications and pain opiates needed by those in chronic pain.
Harvard Medical School associate professor of psychiatry, Dr David C Henderson, said in an interview during a lecture visit to Kuala Lumpur in 2010, "While doing hypnosis is not a big part of what we do in the Massachusetts General Hospital (the teaching hospital of the Harvard Medical School), it is a component…For decades, we've used it in pain management in acute inpatient care. For instance, in the programme we have in the burns unit, it is a component in pain management."
In Men’s Journal, April 2003, Craig Horowitz tells of his own experience of going to his dentist with a bad toothache. He remembers very little, as the dentist used visualization to keep him distracted, thus hypnotizing him into comfort throughout the procedure.
Children are helped greatly with guided imagery and other means of involving their imagination in their own healing. These forms of hypnosis are readily accepted by younger people who are less guarded about new methods. Health Day News (March 29, year unknown) tells of Ohio researchers who felt that children undergoing routine surgeries might be less anxious about the procedure and feel less pain afterward if they were taught to use guided imagery. A random group of 75 children was split into two, with one group taught to imagine themselves playing the part, while the other group received no such training, serving as a control group. They discovered the imagery worked. The journal Pain, in a 2004 issue, reported children using guided imagery had significantly less pain and anxiety than the control group did. “On a pain scale of zero to 100, the average score of the control group after surgery was 42, while the group using guided imagery had an average score of 30. There have been other studies that have shown the score to decrease when children continue to use the imagery.
Fear of doctors, hospitals, needs, nurses, etc. have disappeared with the use of hypnotic methods in both children and adults. There are a number of hypnotic techniques that make this possible. Some methods involve replacing the fears with more positive suggestions. In certain situations regression techniques can take a person to the beginning of a specific fear in order to assist the patient in releasing the fear, thus affecting their current relationship to the same situation.
With non-medical conditions, hypnosis helps alleviate stress, conquer phobias and anxiety, and assist in getting rid of nervous habits such as pulling hair or eyelashes, biting fingernails, over-eating, fear of flying or driving, and various obsessive-compulsive behaviors. It assists students with greater concentration and understanding of material, memory-recall and test-taking. It helps athletes, golfers, musicians, actors and others gain higher and more consistent performance.
Child of March 2002, in their article, “The Power of Hypnosis,” suggests that hypnosis involves several elements. “One is deep relaxation, the kind associated with meditation, which helps control stress and anxiety…Deep relaxation can lead one into a hypnotic trance, the second element, which involves mental clarity and focus. “A third aspect of hypnosis is the way it helps banish extraneous thoughts, allowing children to focus on their treatment goal, not their problem.” Children, as a whole, are more responsive to hypnosis, because the imagination is involved. What you imagine enough is what you finally achieve.
Children can be helped with health problems such as asthma, stomachaches and other pain, anxiety over medical treatment, and cancer regimens. Hypnotic methods also help children with habits such as thumb-sucking and bedwetting. Many hypnotists work with school issues, stage performance, sports, and building confidence, and other concerns of children and teenagers.
In summation, when we are in a state of being where our conscious mind is less active, access is gained into that unconscious or subconscious self where our compulsions, habits learned and our irrationalities lie. The skill and art of the hypnotist is to enter that realm and help that part of the person come into agreement with their conscious intent. The alleviation of stress and fear, primary targets for hypnosis, help immensely in the healing process, whether it be physical or emotional, whether for adult or child.
Copyright © 2011, by Del Hunter Morrill
Del Hunter Morrill, M.S., N.B.C.C.H.
Personal Guide & Hypnotherapist, Teacher and Lecturer
And Author of the GREAT ESCAPES Script Volumes
TRANSITIONS, a Center for Personal Guidance & Hypnosis
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This blog article was published on April 6, 2011.