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Easing Pain and Discomfort using Hypnosis  


Easing Pain and Discomfort using Hypnosis

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, your first port of call is always your medical doctor. There are lots of effective treatments and medications for pain relief, and it is very important to get a medical diagnosis and medical testing. Hypnotherapy is a complementary treatment, not an alternative treatment, so your medical doctor needs to be aware of the hypnotherapy.

Doctors will tell you that long term pain can be one of the most intractable and frustrating things to deal with. Treatment will work for a while, and that discomfort sometimes finds a way to come back. How on earth can hypnotherapy help then?

Pain has a lot of emotion and memory of past discomfort associated with it, and anticipation of future discomfort. Through the use of hypnosis you can use post hypnotic suggestions with appropriate cues to generate hypnotic anesthesias (no feeling at all) and hypnotic analgesias (sensation with much higher pain threshold). Hypnotherapy can be used to tackle emotional issues around pain and discomfort.

The theory behind hypnotic anesthesia and analgesia is based on  the work of Ronald Meizack (a Canadian who studied phantom limbs and pain) and Patrick Wall (an Englishman who studied pain and brain plasticity). They wrote the most important article in the history of pain. Wall and Meizack’s theory asserted that the pain system is spread throughout the brain and spinal cord, and far from being a passive recipient of pain, the brain always controls the pain signals we feel.

Their “gate control theory of pain” proposed a series of controls, or “gates:’ between the site of injury and the brain. When pain messages are sent from damaged tissue through the nervous system, they pass through several “gates,” starting in the spinal cord, before they get to the brain. But these messages travel only if the brain gives them “permission,” after determining they are important enough to be let through. If permission is granted, a gate will open and increase the feeling of pain by allowing certain neurons to turn on and transmit their signals. The brain can also close a gate and block the pain signal by releasing endorphins, the narcotics made by the body to quell pain.

With long term pain and discomfort, there tends to be a lot of muscle guarding, inflammation, vascular stasis. If a person holds their arm up for a period of time, it quickly becomes uncomfortable, and that discomfort is quickly eased by moving the arm, and appropriate relaxing and contracting of muscles. When a part of the body is injured, the brain uses muscle guarding. Muscle guarding is where your subconscious mind wants to keep the injured part still, so there won't be further injury. The mechanism used to keep the affected part still is to generate pain when there is a motor signal from that part of the body. A pain signal is quickly generated before the motor signal becomes actual movement. The pain is there to inhibit the movement, and over a long period of time the muscle guarding pain response can get locked in, even if that part of the body is now healed.

Hypnosis can give you access to the deeper part of your mind that controls automatic muscle movements and blood flow, and using different guided imagery techniques your mind can convert your imagined healing techniques to actual beneficial changes. A proof of this is the easily repeatable scratch test, where a hypnotically anesthetised arm is scratched at the same time as the other arm with normal sensation. The scratch on the hypnotically anesthetised  arm consistently heals much faster. 

Hypnotherapy can work with emotional issues around pain, and deep subconscious motivations. Bear in mind that these are not conscious motivations, they are motivations you will not be aware of. Let me give you some examples:

    • Inadvertent Hypnotic suggestions—can sink deep into our minds at times of high emotion like fear combined with high levels of discomfort, e.g. “You’ll just have to live with this pain”, can be interpreted by the subconscious as meaning death follows if the discomfort goes away, so of course your subconscious will want to hold onto the pain because it means life to your subconscious.
    • Financial reasons: Your subconscious can hold onto the discomfort because it fears losing disability benefit for instance.
    • Self Punishment: If there is a part of you that carries guilt about something, another part may decide to use a physical symptom as punishment.
    • A part of you may be using the symptom as a method of communication, telling you of some change needed, e.g. forcing you to slow down or some other change.
    • More attention from others: We all have basic needs for security and intimacy, and our subconscious may hold onto discomfort as a way of getting this.
    • Identification with someone else: E.g. “This runs in the family, so you are doomed to it also” can be literally manifested by your subconscious.
    • The intensity of emotion that goes with discomfort, having to deal with the emotions associated with past pain, current pain, and the fear of more of the same. It has been said that removing the emotional trauma from past pain and removing the fearful anticipation of future pain sorts out two thirds of the emotional burden.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Learning self hypnosis is a fantastic lifetime skill that you can use to manage stress and discomfort and access the resources of your deeper mind.

Hypnosis Makes it Easier to Manage Discomfort
• Hypnosis helps take away the anxiety of anticipation of future pain.
• Hypnosis helps to separate you from the emotions associated with past pain.
• You can access analgesia and anesthesia in hypnosis, and then use post hypnotic suggestions to access them when you want them during full conscious awareness. Like everything, this needs practice.
• If there is one or more sub conscious motivation(s) contributing to the discomfort, hypnotherapy can be used to deal with that.
• Various Guided Imagery Techniques can be used to alter how the mind perceives the discomfort to heighten pain thresholds, and even to increase the speed of healing.
• Hypnosis helps you to relax muscle guarding which can lower inflammation and allow better blood flow to carry nutrients and medicine to the affected area, and carry away waste.

If you would like an explanatory brochure, or a free consultation, please phone
Daniel Madden ADHP MICHP BE
Phone: 085 - 1318344

Email: dmadden@experiencetheworlddifferent.com