by: Dr. Richard Ward Ph.D, J.C.D, Msc.D
Hypnosis is a tool that has been used for thousands of years and according to written history, it dates back to the Egyptian priest-physicians and goes back even further prior to written history by various tribes. Today, hypnosis is approved by the American Medical Association, it is used in psychology, law, business, sports and much more and it continues to be used by spiritual practitioners in their work. It is a useful and proven tool in pain management.
There are many techniques in hypnosis used to control pain. In 1850, Esdaile performed 3000 Surgical procedures in India without chemical anesthesia, because it wasn’t available to him and surgery was needed, so he used Mesmeric passes, a hypnotic induction technique, that worked but it takes hours before achieving the desired state needed for surgery.
Hypnosis techniques for pain include:
Direct Suggestion is when the hypnotist uses straightforward hypnotic commands, Pain go away or pain will be reduced by 35% at 6:00 pm, etc.
Creative Imagination is when the hypnotist may suggest putting the pain in a box and send it off, seeing it melt away, etc.
Disassociation works great for burn victims who are instructed to take a vivid detailed internal fantasy trip that is incompatible with pain. In one such case, a fire fighter and burn victim using virtual reality found himself in snow world and the procedure saved his life. He said his other choice was suicide. This story was aired on the Jane Pauli show, a number of years ago.
Separation is when the patient thinks of the pain being somewhere else, over there. They separate themselves from the sensation.
Fascination describes finding the pain very interesting, while the other sensations remove themselves from the consciousness.
Creative Analysis is playfully describing the pain with color, size, shape, as an animal or maybe a holding tank and asking oneself how much water it will hold.
Word Repetition can be internal or external. I am relaxed.
Fixation is fixing conscious attention on physical feelings other than pain, such as sounds, music, breathing, sights, a movie, etc.
Substitution is moving the discomfort to another part of the body, such as from the leg to the finger, or substituting a more tolerable sensation, like tingling or mild electrical sensations for the discomfort.
Glove Anesthesia is a numbness placed for example in the subjects hand where he can place it upon another body part to relieve his pain.
Last, but far from least, is Medical Hypnoanalysis. Psychotherapy in a altered state of awareness, which in my experience is the best hypnotic technique for the relief of chronic pain, also known as acute pain that just did not go away.
The above list makes even more sense upon review when it is understood that there is no pain until it reaches the brain. Relaxation is the opposite of pain, so learning how to relax may require a professional to get one started in the right direction. This way, the patient knows what to expect and what they should be experiencing. Learning self hypnosis will put the patient in the driver’s seat and save them a lot of money.
Always make sure that you consult your medical doctor first, so you both know the reason for the pain, its purpose and if it is no longer needed.
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