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Why Hypnosis for Pain Relief is highly recommended?

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Pain is a universal human experience, affecting millions worldwide and often challenging to manage effectively. While traditional methods such as medication and physical therapy offer relief to many, they may not be sufficient for everyone, leading to a search for alternative approaches.

In recent years, hypnosis has emerged as a promising tool for pain management, offering a non-invasive and drug-free option with the potential for long-term relief. In this article, we delve into the reasons why hypnosis for pain relief is highly recommended, exploring its science, advantages, applications, and integration into conventional medicine.

Understanding Pain and its Impact

Pain comes in various forms, ranging from acute to chronic, and can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Chronic pain, in particular, affects millions globally, leading to disability, decreased productivity, and emotional distress. Despite advancements in pain management, conventional methods often fall short, leaving individuals seeking alternative solutions.

Chronic Pain

Any pain that lasts longer than 6 months is referred to as chronic pain. Such pain can cause significant suffering and emotional distress. Chronic pain is the leading cause of disability, missed work and seeking medical care worldwide.

The Science Behind Hypnosis for Pain Relief

Hypnosis, often misunderstood and misrepresented in popular culture, is a state of focused attention and heightened suggestibility. Its effectiveness in pain management lies in its ability to modulate pain perception through alterations in brain activity.

Neuroimaging studies have shown that hypnosis can alter neural pathways associated with pain processing, leading to reduced pain intensity and increased pain tolerance.

Numerous research studies support the efficacy of hypnosis for various pain conditions, including migraine, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. Meta-analyses have consistently demonstrated its superiority over control conditions and its comparability to other pain management techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a state of hyper-suggestibility, in which the mind of the hypnotized person becomes very receptive to the suggestions being received. When suggestions are given to a person in a hypnotic state, their mind has a natural tendency to accept and act upon the same.

Therapist using Hypnosis for pain relief with a client struggling with chronic pain

Hypnosis for Pain Relief – Process

Hypnosis in the treatment of chronic pain involves:

  • a hypnotic induction with acknowledging the pain,
  • suggestions for relaxation and pain relief and
  • treating the root cause (psychological or emotional) that may be creating the pain in the first place.

The relief after using Hypnosis for pain management lasts beyond the therapeutic sessions.

Considerations and Precautions

While hypnosis is generally safe and well-tolerated, there are certain factors to consider before undergoing treatment. Individuals with certain psychiatric conditions or susceptibility to dissociation may not be suitable candidates for hypnosis. Additionally, it’s essential to seek out qualified professionals who have undergone rigorous training in hypnotherapy and adhere to ethical standards of practice.

Hypnosis for Pain Relief – Research Findings

Here are some research findings that show that hypnosis can reduce pain, increase the feeling of well-being and decreased perceived stress.

  1. A study by Patterson and Jensen demonstrates that hypnosis can reduce analogue pain. The paper says that ‘randomized controlled studies with clinical populations indicate that hypnosis has a reliable and significant impact on acute procedural pain and chronic pain conditions’.
  2. Another study by the same authors, Hypnotic treatment of chronic pain, shows that ‘hypnotic analgesia produces significantly greater decreases in pain relative to non-hypnotic interventions such as medication management, physical therapy, and education/advice.’
  3. Satisfaction with, and the beneficial side effects of, hypnotic analgesia. Case study research by Jensen, McArthur, Barber and others suggests ‘both symptom-related and non symptom-related benefits from hypnosis treatment, including decreased pain, increased perceived control over pain, increased sense of relaxation and well-being, and decreased perceived stress.’
  4. A case series on Hypnotic analgesia for chronic pain in persons with disabilities talks of ‘significant changes in pain unpleasantness and perceived control over pain and the findings support the use of hypnotic analgesia for the treatment of pain in persons with disabilities’.
  5. In a Controlled trial of hypnotherapy in the treatment of refractory fibromyalgia concluded that ‘hypnotherapy may be useful in relieving symptoms in patients with refractory fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder’.
  6. In a preliminary investigation by Appel and Bleiberg, a pain reduction protocol was administered to chronic pain patients. ‘The protocol emphasized converting pain sensations into visual and auditory representations, which then were manipulated through therapeutic suggestion’. The study concluded that pain reduction was significantly related to hypnotizability.
  7. The randomized trial on Adjunctive non-pharmacological analgesia for invasive medical procedures by Lang, Benotsch and others showed that ‘self-hypnotic relaxation proved beneficial during invasive medical procedures. Hypnosis had more pronounced effects on pain and anxiety reduction, and is superior, in that it also improves hemodynamic stability’.
  8. In A meta-analysis of hypnotically induced analgesia by Montgomery, DuHamel and Redd examined the effectiveness of hypnosis in pain management. ‘Meta-analysis of 18 studies revealed a moderate to large hypno-analgesic effect, supporting the efficacy of hypnotic techniques for pain management. The results also indicated that hypnotic suggestion was equally effective in reducing both clinical and experimental pain. The overall results suggest broader application of hypno-analgesic techniques with pain patients.

If you are a physical or mental health professional or student and would like to learn hypnosis and its application in therapy to help clients manage pain, lead a healthier, happier life, check out the integrated Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy™ program with ICHARS.

If you have been suffering with chronic pain and would like to use hypnotherapy for getting relief from pain, you can call us on +91-80802 08473 to know more or book an appointment.