Hypnosis is more than a magician’s trick from the movies. This therapeutic technique involves trained hypnotherapists making suggestions to individuals when they are relaxed and focused. This state of mind is similar to daydreaming or deep concentration.
In the past, hypnotherapy has been a controversial form of treatment; however, modern research shows that hypnosis can help relieve and control chronic conditions as well as aid in breaking bad habits.
In the early days of human existence, our ancestors mostly experienced acute stress. This type of stress assisted them in acting quickly when faced with a real physical threat. Today, we might feel this stress as we drive through heavy traffic. Though unpleasant, this stress keeps us sharp and alert to the possibility of danger.
More common in modern times, chronic stress is felt over extended periods of time. It is often caused by fear of the future, worry regarding resources, or uncertainty in relationships. While stress is normal after a breakup or a loss, it can prevent you from living a normal life if it is not managed properly.
Chronic stress can cause fatigue, irritability, and difficulty in concentrating. It can exacerbate existing physical problems like headaches. Chronic stress is related to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking, overeating, and consuming alcohol excessively.
Sustained stress leads to elevated levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone” and reduced levels of other neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. Such variations have been linked to depression, and therefore high cardiovascular risk. It is more difficult for people under stress to recover from injury and illness.
The mind is the primary tool for overcoming stress and negative emotion. When you experience hypnotherapy, a practitioner makes suggestions that become more readily acceptable to the subconscious mind. For this reason, hypnotherapy differs from reading a self-help book or even having a conscious conversation with a counselor.
Just as stress can make physical pain worse, managing stress through the mind helps relieve the pain. Pain associated with chronic conditions and medical procedures can be reduced through hypnotherapy. Birth hypnosis can also allow for a calmer and gentler birth. In a study that involved children receiving catheters for a urine exam, participants reported that hypnosis helped them imagine being in a happier place, which led them to feel more comfort.
Hypnosis sessions have proven helpful in cases of phobias, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is particularly helpful in treating depression when used alongside medical treatments aimed at restoring normal brain chemistry. Hypnosis can also be used to treat physical manifestations of stress like skin disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and habit disorders.
It is obvious that chronic stress can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Hypnotherapy has also helped people quit smoking. It is no stretch to imagine that hypnosis can help people break bad habits with food and alcohol as well.
There is a growing recognition of hypnosis in medical circles, especially in Europe and the U.S. While hypnosis is more and more used in the operating theatres and in dentistry, some medical researchers are looking to widen the use of hypnosis.
A Stanford Medical School professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Dr David Spiegel, is looking to widen the use of hypnosis by adding brain stimulation to improve hypnosis’ analgesic effects. Following a 2016 study on the physiological processes of hypnosis, Dr Spiegel and his team are confident that specific brain stimulation can bring hypnotherapy to the population deemed “not easily hypnotizable”. They are hopeful that hypnotherapy can replace addictive opioids and anti-anxiety medications.
Contact us today to learn more about how our hypnotherapy services can beat the stress in your life and help you live fully. Remember to sign up for our newsletter to keep abreast of news about the brain, performance and wellbeing.