What is Medical Hypnosis?

a complementary therapy for chronic disease, surgery, and accelerated healing

Medical hypnotherapy is the application of mind-based practices, especially hypnosis and neurolinguistic programming (NLP) to address chronic disease, prepare surgery, and accelerate healing. This modality is an alternative therapy for cancer, heart disease, immune system disorders, chronic disease, and pain (to name a few). It complements western medicine.  Though not widely used, medical hypnosis has been practiced for the last 200 years and more and more medical research is demonstrating its effectiveness.

The Wall Street Journal in the October 7th, 2003 issue stated, “Numerous scientific studies have emerged in recent years showing that the hypnotized mind can exert a real and powerful effect on the body.”

One of the interesting ironies about hypnosis is that old fantasy that it takes away control,’ says Dr. David Spiegel, professor and associate chair of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine and a leading expert on the practice. ‘It’s actually a way of enhancing people’s control, of teaching them how to control aspects of their body’s function and sensation that they thought they couldn’t .'”  Newsweek, Altered States

Hospitals, such as Stanford Hospital and Clinics, include medical hypnosis as an “integrated component of a patient’s overall medical care” to help patients with “pain and physical symptom control, procedural anxiety management, medical treatment side effects such as nausea and vomiting, stress management, phobias and stress-related neurological problems” to name a few.

Like western medicine’s move away from mere symptom management to lifestyle, nutrition, and stress management, hypnotherapy has also changed its focus.

It began, and most research has remained confined to this area, as a modality to help control and manage symptoms. Hypnosis can be effective in reducing pain and discomfort, accelerate the healing of bones and increase relaxation.  It progressed to addressing underlying emotions and resolving early traumatic events that could have formed part of the causation of disease or discomfort.  It has now evolved and its use has become more holistic and integral.  Medical hypnotherapy now utilizes disease as a guide to discover and addresses the underlying psychosocial causes of disease, both in the past (small and large traumas) as well as in the present (relationship styles, stressors, personality).

How does medical hypnotherapy work?

Medical hypnotherapy works with the power and influence of the mind on the body to address symptom relief, to understand and transform the underlying cause of the symptom, and to create lasting change at the cellular level.

Through a series of 6 to 12 sessions this alternative therapy dives into and works at three levels of healing:

1. Symptom Relief

Medical HypnotherapyThis is the field addressed by modern medicine.  In this case, medical hypnosis is another option to manage symptoms.  The advantage of this modality is that there are no unpleasant “side-effects” and few disadvantages other than deep relaxation and the inability, in many cases, to feel the pain even in the case of direct present cause for pain such as dental work.

Medical hypnosis can alleviate, displace and sometimes even remove a symptom.    In the case of chronic illnesses, pain or anxiety, medical hypnosis may be the ONLY solution that effectively alleviates symptoms.

2. Understand and Transform the Underlying Cause

A person can treat the symptoms of their disease their whole lives without ever understanding and healing the underlying cause of these symptoms.

A physical or emotional symptom is a message from the subconscious mind, the body-mind, of psycho-social issues needing to be addressed in the person’s life. Until we have symptoms, we do not become aware of how our current thought patterns, ideas, and beliefs are negatively influencing our body and creating diseases.

Discovering the meaning behind the symptom and these factors directly through hypnotherapy and NLP, we can permanently heal the symptom and create lasting health.

3. Heal at the Cellular Level

Stress, crisis and life changes can wreak havoc on the body.  Medical hypnosis uses deep suggestion work and guided imagery to communicate to the body at a cellular level.  The immune system can be retrained to respond appropriately to allergens (allergies and asthma), to not attack itself (lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis), and cells can be influenced to accelerate healing of broken bones, wounds, and torn muscles.

Medical Hypnotherapy listening

“Western medical science regards illness as a mechanical breakdown that afflicts our bodies and requires a technical repair. The physician becomes the mechanic under the hood.  And a cure is something done to and for us. The new field of medicine holds that the way we think and feel can have a significant effect not only on our physical health but on our capacity to cope with illness and disease”.  – Bill Moyers series “Healing and the Mind”