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Mental Health

Can Hypnosis Heal You?

The virtues of medical hypnosis have been recognized since the end of World War II when shell-shocked veterans returned ill-equipped to rejoin society.

Before the term “post-traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD) was coined, some therapists realized that the horrors of combat had created mental disturbances that could last long after physical wounds had healed.

Warfare and other traumatic experiences can produce heightened physiological and emotional states associated with our inborn “fight or flight” instinct. The urge to stand your ground or run away is part of the human survival system. Chemical secretions from glands throughout the body regulate this process.

Remember the last time something scared you a lot? You probably tensed up, and adrenaline began coursing through your veins, making your heart pump faster. Sweat might have popped out on your forehead and palms. Your mouth might even have gone dry.

Now, imagine being that frightened (or at least “on edge”) non-stop during a tour of active military duty. Domestic violence, a troubling divorce, or any situation that stimulates the perceived need to be constantly guarded against a threat or danger can cause similar psychological damage.

The brain’s job is to keep everything else inside us safe. When overwhelming things happen – for whatever reason – the brain may decide to hide bad thoughts and memories by suppressing them.

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a technique for putting someone into a mental state identified by slow brain waves that makes her/him more suggestible. While in a trance, the body and forebrain (frontal lobes) relax and release control to subconscious areas in the brain where habits and phobias originate.

Scientists at California’s prestigious Stanford University confirmed in 2016, using brain scans, that the brain undergoes neural changes during guided hypnosis.

If you struggle with mental health issues, it may be comforting to know that 20 percent (1 in 5) of the population suffers from mental illness of some kind. Depression and OCD top the list, but life is full of potential psychological triggers.

In the hands of a skilled medical hypnotist, miraculous results can be achieved through the power of suggestion.

What are the benefits?

Kim worked in an organization surrounded by people who enjoyed intimidating others. Working in “a den of energy vampires” drained Kim, who frequently became physically sick and was becoming seriously depressed. Hypnosis and coaching sessions helped restore her peace of mind, energy, and health.

Alternatively, you can hypnotize yourself. With self-hypnosis, you can achieve absolute awareness and control of your mind and body. You can do this by altering your consciousness to enter the hypnotic state. This state of mind lets you connect with yourself at a higher level.

A 25-year-old man started doing self-hypnosis twice daily. He used suggestions that were very specific and tailored to his personal health problems. Within 6 months, his symptoms dramatically improved. His blood tests and sleep were much better.

Additionally, his allergy skin tests had gone from 69 out of 80 welt-sized positives down to 19 out of 80. In other words, the extreme reactions that he had to trees, pollen, and dust plummeted.

Only about 1 in 10 people is deemed “highly hypnotizable.” Everyone else resists mental surrender to some degree. In patients who can be put into a trance state easily, hypnosis has been reported effective in treating many other conditions besides stress. These include:

  • Pain control for cancer, childbirth, fibromyalgia, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular joint problems, and dental procedures
  • Hot flashes during menopause
  • Behavior-change treatment for anxiety, insomnia, bed-wetting, smoking, obesity, and phobias
  • Fatigue from radiotherapy in breast cancer patients

When should you try hypnosis?

Hypnotherapist and psychotherapist Fayina Cohen finds that hypnosis is a useful tool when therapy and medication aren’t doing enough:

“Anxiety is actually self-hypnosis in a negative way. When you [practice] hypnosis, you reprogram the mind with different beliefs.”

British hypnotherapist and Life Coach Malminder Gill agrees:

“People who experience anxiety talk to themselves in a negative way, so they’re already hearing a kind of self-hypnosis. I teach them to use a different voice to inspire positive change. Clients come to understand what their minds are capable of, meaning they’re better able to take back control and empower themselves.”

Rather than merely dredging up bad memories, hypnosis can lead you to a new way of life – by changing limiting beliefs about yourself.

Brain specialist Professor Stephen Redford explained further:

“It’s about learning what the brain is capable of. The mind is a funny place, and, for some people, the difference between being able to do something or not, or even living well or not, can come solely down to a single thought. Though it’s not true to say it can help everyone, hypnosis can certainly be helpful for many.”

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