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Medicine and Hypnosis. Hypnotherapy - Healing Emotionally and Physically from the Inside Out
More and more doctors now realize that hypnosis is powerful medicine.Why this is and how it happens is still something of a mystery, butscience is proving that hypnosis can improve your health in amazingways. It can help relieve pain, make breathing easier for peoplewith respiratory illnesses, aid with gastrointestinal ailments andrelieve depression just to name a few. The most astonishing evidenceis coming from research on healing.
In a pilot study published in 1999, Harvard University psychologistCarol Ginandes, Ph.D., showed that hypnosis can help broken bonesheal faster and, in a follow-up experiment published in 2000,Ginandes and her research team discovered that women who had breastreduction surgery recovered far more quickly after undergoinghypnosis.
It is speculated that hypnosis alters the levels of certain chemicalsfound in the brain that influence the nervous system, hormoneproduction, and the immune system. It appears that hypnosis affectshow genes in cells express themselves, turning some functions on andothers off. Studies using brain scans and other imaging technologyare providing explanations as to how and why hypnosis works inhelping the body heal itself.
Hypnotherapy uses relaxation techniques such as deep breathing,imagery, visualization and positive suggestions. Clients often sayto me that they experience a feeling of peacefulness and euphoria yetare fully aware during a session. This is similar to what isexperienced during meditation. As David Spiegel, director of thepsychosocial treatment laboratory at Stanford University School ofMedicine and coauthor of Trance & Treatment: Clinical Uses ofHypnosis (American Psychiatric Publishing) explains, there is "someoverlap with meditation" however, "hypnosis focuses on the ability todo something for a specific purpose." And this is how hypnosisachieves its strength, by using positive statements and suggestionswhile a client is in a fully relaxed state. This enables the clientto more easily focus on past problematic patterns or behaviors and itis this ability to more easily focus that results in the desiredchange. A sort of spring cleaning for the mind. Working from theinside out, releasing negative thoughts, perceptions and behaviorsand replacing them with the positive thoughts and suggestions thatthe client desires.
It is this technique of focusing and strengthening willpower that isresponsible for hypnotherapy's high success rate, particularly forclients who want to lose weight or quit smoking. A University ofConnecticut review of six weigh-loss studies found that 70 percent ofstudy participants rated hypnosis better than cognitive therapyalone.
Arreed Barabasz, director of the laboratory of hypnosis research atWashington State University in Pullman and coauthor ofHypnotherapeutic Techniques (Brunner-Routledge) agrees. Thesuggestions, however, must not emphasize what you are against, butrather stress the positive goals and imagery that you are seeking. For the client who wishes to quit smoking, positive suggestions abouttheir body and visualizing their lungs becoming clear and free ofsmoke as well as instilling images of the client happy, healthy andsmoke free are the types of suggestions that are most effective. When Barabasz tested this approach on 300 heavy smokers who hadpreviously quit and relapsed, almost half stayed smoke-free 18 monthsafter hypnotherapy - compared with 10 percent for thenicotine-replacement therapy alone.
Research has shown that cancer patients who receive hypnotherapyprior to or during chemotherapy sessions experience less nausea andvomiting than those going through chemotherapy without the aid ofhypnosis.
The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis,April 2000 discovered that hypnosis relieved pain in 75 percent ofthe people studied.
And this list goes on and on.
As more and more doctors and patients are beginning to recognize thatmental states and emotional and physical well-being are connected,hypnosis continues to be used more frequently. Hypnosis can help youto take back control of your health and your life and once you havetaken back control, then the real fun can start, realizing all thepossibilities available to you, all the directions you can go andfinally realizing that your life is a journey not just a destination.A journey that you can now control.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
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