Hypnotherapists would never use hypnosis to treat pain unless the cause of that pain is already known and has been diagnosed by a medical practitioner. Pain is sometimes a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, hypnosis can be very effective in relieving pain. Hypnotherapy is used in a variety of situations for treating pain.
Patients who had received hypnosis needed less anaesthetic than the others, and reported less pain, nausea, fatigue and emotional distress after the operation.
Pain itself is an essential element in our survival. In fact, acute pain is our body’s way of telling us we are being damaged and we’d better do something about it – fast!
Without this kind of pain, our very survival would be threatened. When pain serves no useful purpose, when we have nothing to learn from its message, that we need some way of forcefully handling it. Medication can only do so much, and there is some pain that even powerful medicines have difficulty controlling. Headaches, back pain, arthritis and the terrible pain associated with cancer are just some of the chronic pains that can make our lives really difficult.
While the source of the pain may be located somewhere in the body, signals have to reach the brain before we become aware of this. In fact, there’s a saying in hypnosis chronic pain control: ‘There is no pain until it reaches the brain’.
In fact, pain is both physical and psychological. The simple existence of psychological pain – phantom limb pain, for example, where pain continues to be felt in an amputated body part – clearly demonstrates the fact that the brain itself is capable of not only interpreting messages of pain that come from the body, but that it can even initiate these messages independent of any physical cause. Such pain can be as real and intense as pain coming from any injury.
If you have experienced chronic pain for any length of time, you may very well have the feeling that you are condemned to suffering from that chronic pain for the rest of your life. And few things are as soul-destroying as having to endure this.
Hypnosis used for pain control and pain management offers help where medication and alternative medicine have failed. In hypnosis, and then through self-hypnosis, the person suffering from chronic pain is taught to alter the brain’s perception of the pain message, to turn down the intensity or to produce its own internal medication.