There are three common disorders in adulthood that decrease in intensity with the use of medical hypnotherapy – chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and high blood pressure. This last one affects one in three adults. Interestingly 90% of cases of essential hypertension are of unknown cause and not attributed to genes or a physical impediment. The theory is that the sympathetic nervous system is, somehow being overstimulated causing veins to narrow and the heartbeat to increase. Hypnosis for high blood pressure, Hypnotension, can address this overstimulation.
Though salt, weight, alcohol, lack of sleep, and exercise are aggravating factors, they are not the cause of hypertension. Getting these factors under control, however, is important. Hypnotherapy can also help reduce these aggravators and support the client in getting back control of their health (note: hypnosis is a supporting practice and not a substitute for medicine).
Research in Hypnosis for High Blood Pressure
Hypnotherapy has been shown to reduce mild essential hypertension in short term, middle and long terms. It has been demonstrated to be more effective than biofeedback. Studies show that hypnosis for high blood pressure can lower both systolic and diastolic pressures. Interestingly, during hypnosis, hypertension is completely eliminated demonstrating the theory of an overstimulated sympathetic nervous system. Self-hypnosis results were not as consistent, though still positive, as its use avoids the need for upward titration of medications.
All the research in hypnosis for high blood pressure does not use hypnosis optimally. Because of the requirements in research, these studies use generic hypnotic scripts with every participant. Thus they tend to focus exclusively on symptom management, anxiety, and relaxation. In individual practice, hypnotherapy can be designed to directly address the particular issues of the client that affect their health and blood pressure.
How Hypnotherapy Addresses High Blood Pressure
So how does individualized hypnotherapy address high blood pressure? In private practice, the hypnotherapist can:
1. Lowering blood pressure using direct suggestions and metaphors.
Knowing that pressure rises by the narrowing of veins, the increase of heart rate, and the increase of blood volume, techniques such as inner control room or visualizations of expanding the veins and slowing the volume down are used.
2. Reduce reaction, frustration, and increase relaxation.
Teaching the client self-hypnosis for relaxation, building inner boundaries, and creating relaxation anchors for the client to use throughout the day when they feel tense or anxious.
3. Manage Aggravators
Hypnosis can directly address sleep issues, increased motivation to exercise and lose weight, and help eliminate the craving for salt, tobacco, and alcohol.
4. Address Emotions, Fears, and Triggers that create overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.
Overstimulation of the nervous system can lead to a high resting pulse rate and high blood pressure. This can happen even if the person does not feel stressed. In HypnoTension, we call these factors that overstimulate the nervous system ‘X factors’.
These factors include unresolved anger, over responsibility, impatience, relationship conflicts, guilt, and fear of death to name a few. Not all individuals with hypertension have all the same factors and sessions should be designed to address their particular contributors.
Hypertension is a common disease and, fortunately, much can be done to help control it. Though not a quick fix, ten to twelve hypnosis sessions can address the factors and aggravators in as little as three months.
Hypnotherapy Training for High Blood Pressure
If you are a certified hypnotist and would like to learn more about hypnotherapy for high blood pressure, come to Eva M Clark’s presentation at the 2021 IMDHA Conference. The HypnoExpo will be held virtually in May 2021. Additionally, you can train in Hypnotension: