Pain and Physical Disorder Relief with Hypnosis
By Thomas Nicoli, PhD., CH
(Anyone experiencing pain or any physical disorder is advised to seek medical advice before entering into hypnotherapy.)
The subject of pain and physical disorder relief is very prominent in our society and at times controversial. Add in the word hypnosis and you now enter into a completely different arena. My intention is to give a summarized and logical explanation on this subject, coupled with actual experiences in my own practice as a hypnotherapist.
I began researching pain and physical disorders after thinking about a few family members. I wondered why there was a need for anyone to take pharmaceuticals daily, long term and sometimes even lifelong. (I have now sparked the controversy I mentioned previously. The defenses have gone up and I can hear the slamming shut of many minds. Please, take a long deep relaxing breath and give me just a few minutes.)
My analogy to the pill theory is this; if you break or badly injure a leg, you need crutches? Of course. But, would you expect to need those crutches for a very long time? How about for the rest of your life? Of course not. Well, that’s how I began looking at pills… as a continual internal crutch.
I do not advocate the total dismissal of pharmaceuticals. Many lives have been saved and many physical situations call for their necessity. However, there is a phenomenal rate of quick decision making to prescribe them in situations not required, along with the general belief that pills are the only cure for whatever ails you, especially in our western civilization.
Back to the internal crutch. If you need to use anything as a support system for an ailment, then you have not cured the problem. The first step to eliminate a problem is to locate the cause, the root. The second step is to create a strategy to cure it.
Another analogy. You pull a dandelion off your lawn but it comes back. Pulling it out is a temporary solution. To eliminate the reoccurrence of the dandelion, you must locate the root and create a strategy to cure the problem. Well, this is exactly the procedure that we can use as hypnotherapists in eliminating pain and many physical disorders for our clients.
A large variety of physical disorders and physical pain is the result of an avoidance strategy the mind uses. As Columbia psychoanalyst Stanley Coen has suggested, these physical symptoms are a defense mechanism to divert people’s attention to the body, so that they can avoid the awareness of or confrontation with certain unconscious (repressed) feelings.
Another point of attention is that two German researchers and a team of Swedish rheumatologists found that there was evidence of mild oxygen deprivation in the nuclei of muscle cells of patients with back pain. Something in the brain decides to initiate this process. Autonomic nervous centers are activated and within milliseconds the circulation to the involved area is reduced. This means that these tissues are now deprived of their full complement of oxygen. Even if the cause of the pain is some other brain-induced process, it is apparent that definitive treatment has to be directed to the brain, not the local tissues.
Understanding that the root of most pain and physical disorders lies within the unconscious, we can now introduce the strategy for cure; hypnotherapy. Consciously, we can educate people and have success; however, an expedient and higher rate of success can be achieved when utilizing hypnosis as part of this therapeutic strategy.
Some causes of physical disorder(s) and pain are so deeply repressed in the unconscious that hypnotherapy is extremely beneficial to recall the initiating incident. In traditional therapy, it can take months or years to locate the past experience that is the cause. And in some cases, the experience is so traumatic and deeply rooted, it never becomes aware to the conscious mind. I have found these types of cases to be of the minority.
The majority of all physical disorders and pain related cases I have seen and learned of during research are the cause of simple daily living. Every one of us experiences at least one situation per day when we repress an emotion or thought that adds to the “rage folder”. Imagine all frustration, bits of anger, tension and stress we experience as small deposits in a folder in our unconscious. Eventually, the folder overflows and thus the avoidance strategy is put into action by our unconscious mind, creating a physical disorder or some type of pain. Therefore, the majority of all clients I see, experience changes almost immediately and over 90%, when following instructions, become free of the pain and/or disorder in a relatively short time.
Some clients I’ve seen for weight control have told me they had nagging pain. I would add suggestions when they were under hypnosis to remove the pain. A week later when back for their second visit, they would say the pain had “miraculously disappeared.”
One common factor regarding pain and some physical disorders is the inability to sleep, or wake after only a few hours of sleep. I have found it most beneficial to add the suggestion, during hypnosis, “You can now sleep comfortably through the night and wake feeling physically fit, alert and refreshed.” This added simple suggestion has become routine in most of these type of sessions.
By educating clients with this information, coupled with insightful and probing questions during a thorough entrance exam, the hypnotherapist can form an effective strategy to eliminate pain and many physical disorders. People have lived too long under the assumption that there is no alternative to their personal circumstance. We know there is!!
*Note: Extensive research and years of documented information is available to support this theory. Dr. John Sarno, MD is one of the people involved in such research. I strongly urge you to read The Mindbody Connection and Healing Back Pain, by Dr. Sarno.
Here are some of the physical disorders that may be related to repressed rage or emotions:
Back pain leg pain Sciatica Fibromyalgia TMJ Repetitive Stress Injury Hives Migraines Allergies Hypertension Panic Attacks Carpal Tunnel Tinnitus.