Pain Management with Hypnosis
Mind over matter is a common phrase meaning using your mind to overcome physical condition or a situation.For people in pain, this means that a psychological technique like hypnosis can help overcome the feeling.
Most of us have preconceived notions of hypnosis and primarily consider it a form of entertainment for the enjoyment of an audience rather than a therapeutic technique. However, hypnosis for pain management has more validity than most people realize – and it may be effective for you.
What is Hypnosis for pain?
By the definition of the American Psychological Association, hypnosis is a set of techniques designed to enhance concentration, minimize one’s usual distractions, and heighten responsiveness to suggestions to alter one’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, or physiological state. It not a treatment but rather a procedure that can be used to facilitate other types of therapies and treatments.
Hypnosis within the context of our center is about learning how to use your mind and emotions to manage physical symptoms such as pain, and habitual behaviors, like smoking over overeating.
Pain management hypnosis deals with the relationship between the mind and body. It is an altered state of consciousness used to treat physical, as well as mental/emotional issues.
How does hypnosis work?
During hypnosis, you are able to bypass critical portions of the conscious mind, allowing participants to focus on relaxation and let go of distractions. By becoming more concentrated and focused, a participant is able to use it more effectively. This focus concentrates on mental and physical energy in order to achieve things that are often otherwise unachievable.
The experience of Hypnosis
While the experience can vary from person to person and can depend on the therapeutic technique applied, generally when under hypnosis, a person often experiences physical changes. It’s common for pulse and respiration to slow down and alpha brain wave patterns to increase. In this altered state, a person typically becomes more receptive to suggestions, like the reduction of pain.
The experience is different from person to person though, and many hypnotic phenomena are not universal. "Trance" for example is among the most common phenomena that is indicated by a quieting of the conscious mind and feelings of deep relaxation. Others may only experience hypnosis as imagery, or the soothing of body sensations. Most people describe hypnosis as enjoyable, where they feel focused and absorbed in a hypnotic experience. They tend to be aware of everything that is happening, but also feel peacefully relaxed.
Hypnosis treatment for pain conditions typically consists of 5 stages:
Induction – to focus one’s attention
Deepening – to deepen one’s relaxation of the body
Suggestions – direct, indirect, and emotional suggestions to change the way the mind and body experience pain
Re-enforcement – going over key points and suggestions provided for reenforcement.
Emerging- a process of coming up from hypnosis and instilling final thoughts and experiences.
In addition to taking you through these common stages, hypnotists at Bright Tomorrows Hypnosis Center may employ various other therapeutic techniques. We often focus on changing the sensations from pain to something else or shifting attention away from the pain. When underlying emotions, beliefs, and motivations influence pain, we help you identify them through hypnoanalysis and find resolutions for underlying issues.
Another technique we often employ is decreasing the sensitivity to pain through hypno-analgesia. The goal here is to use hypnosis in place of an analgesic during surgery to reduce nausea, pain, vomiting, and length of hospital stay.
Common myths about hypnosis
Hypnosis can’t do everything. There are many myths and much misinformation about hypnosis – likely more than about any other form of pain management. These misconceptions abound and are the result of stage shows, television, and rumor.
Hypnosis cannot cure everything. It isn’t dangerous. Participants won’t be asked to do anything against their will.
Finally, medical hypnosis isn’t generally taught as part of the curriculum of most health care providers. Lack of knowledge of the subject area leads to “superstition”, even within the medical community.
Benefits for pain management
The good news is that a growing body of research for acute and chronic pain. In 1996, a panel of the National Institutes of Health found hypnosis to be effective in easing cancer pain. Studies have demonstrated its effectiveness for pain related to burns, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis and reduction of anxiety associated with surgery. A meta-analysis of 18 studies of hypnosis in relation to pain management indicated that 75% of participants with varying types of pain found significant relief.
Evidence and research suggest that hypnosis:
Has a greater influence on the effects of pain rather than the sensation of pain
May be more effective or at least equivalent to other treatments for acute and chronic pain
Have the potential to save both money and time for patients and clinicians, if the patient responds to hypnosis
May be able to provide analgesia, reduce stress, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, improve mood and reduce the need for opioids
Can enhance the efficacy of other well-established treatments for pain
Good candidates for hypnosis
It is true that the effectiveness of hypnosis varies from person to person. Most hypnotists believe that all people start off with an ability to be hypnotized and achieve results and that hypnotic ability can be learned and enhanced through practice.
Hypnosis has been used successfully for people with a variety of pain conditions. The Arthritis Foundation has an entire page dedicated to hypnosis for pain relief of arthritis. Other conditions commonly cited as being improved with hypnosis include but are not limited to:
There are many other illnesses and conditions that would make someone a good candidate. Most professionals in the field believe that candidates with just about any type of chronic or acute pain can benefit from hypnosis.
How do I get started?
Once you have decided to try hypnosis, you can schedule your free consultation here, and get started on your path to improved health and quality of life.
Much of the information on this page was gathered from
Individual results may vary.