This amazing guest post was written by Christy Hall, a Wellness Mindset Coach and Hypnotist. We encourage you to check out her website!
Medical hypnosis eases pain and recovery from surgery
More people are turning to medical hypnosis for pain control during surgery, for weight loss, and to deal with low self-esteem.
What is hypnosis and how does it work? Most of us have a clichéd picture of an old style watch swinging on a chain, or a pendulum that hypnotises you; or a hypnotist from a stage show.
Hypnosis is actually a natural state. It is focused attention that takes you into a different level of consciousness. A trained hypnotherapist can transfer you into an altered state of consciousness where you can tap into childhood memories and erase phobias that originated there. You can also get to the root of problems like depression or low self-esteem and deal with weight loss.
Research has found that patients who undergo surgery while under medical hypnosis recover faster. Dr. David Spiegel, MD, Department of Psychology and Behavioral Studies, Stanford University School of Medicine has written an article on the use of hypnosis in surgery. This has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Spiegel reports that hypnotic prepping of patients before surgery results in the use of less anaesthetic. Patients also report significantly less pain, discomfort, nausea and fatigue than those under conventional anaesthesia.
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The Rothman Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Bensalem Pasadena is utilizing hypnotherapy in surgery. Patients are given the option and many are opting for it. Some have even driven themselves home after an orthopedic procedure since they do not have the after-effects of dizziness and nausea from a regular anaesthetic. Dr. Mark Seigler, a medical ethicist at the University of Chicago has conducted a study on procedures of this sort, published in the American Journal of Surgery. Studies have shown that some patients have less anxiety about being awake during a surgical procedure than they are at being anaesthetized during it.
Patients are kept awake for some operations such as those that require deep brain stimulation, since it is necessary that they are able to communicate. Hypnotherapy is now being used for breast, colorectal, vascular, thoracic and cosmetic surgeries.
What are the patients saying? There is a high rate of satisfaction, since the recovery time is faster and there are no side effects. The cost of these procedures is also less.
Stanford University conducted a study to test the effects of hypnotherapy on the brain, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The study has found that there are changes in different areas of the brain during hypnosis. These are the areas that control the body’s functioning, focused attention and the awareness of both external and internal environments. Dr. David Spiegel of Stanford University who has studied the effects of hypnosis says that there is evidence to show that the brain does work differently under hypnosis. Patients under hypnosis show a decreased connection between the part of the brain involved in daydreaming and self-reflection and the areas in the prefrontal cortex that plan and execute tasks. He explains that this is the reason why hypnotised subjects are not self-conscious. The lack of self-consciousness can make hypnotherapy an effective tool in allowing patients to look at problems from another viewpoint.
The American College of Hypnotherapists offers a range of hypnotherapy courses for hypnotists and clinical hypnotherapy. Those registering must be licensed nurses or licensed healthcare professionals.
The Hypnotherapy Academy of America offers state licensed hypnotherapy courses and clinical hypnotherapy training. The HAA is exclusively providing the National Institutes of Health with hypnotherapy methods used in their research into mind-body medicine. This has been instrumental in the NIH’s new 3-year study of hypnotherapy.
The misconceptions about hypnosis (and hypnotherapy)
People think of hypnosis as a stage or party trick, not a process performed by a qualified licensed medical practitioner. The practice of medical hypnosis, however, goes back thousands of years in countries around the world. It was used as a pain management tool before the use of ether. Since hypnosis puts a patient in a state of deep mental relaxation, it is useful as an aid to control pain. In some states in the US, hypnotherapists can practice only if they get a license. In others they are unregulated. If you are looking for a hypnotherapist, do ask your medical practitioner to recommend someone who is medically qualified. You can also contact the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis for information.
Another common misconception about hypnosis is that it makes you unconscious and powerless. You may be lying down with your eyes shut but your mind registers what is being said to you and the instructions you are being given. Some people may remember most of what happens while others might not; some move their hands under prompting while others do not. Medical hypnosis works well with compliant patients. For instance, those undergoing hypnotherapy to quit smoking will find it effective only if they have a deep subconscious desire to stop the habit.
While people think that hypnosis will cure the root cause of their ailment, this is not always the case. It may work with other treatments, such as therapy if you are depressed; with medication, if you have physical pain or with diet, if you wish to lose weight. Doctors are still unsure of how exactly medical hypnosis works.
There are several certified clinical hypnotherapists in the US who offer people hypnotherapy as a means to stop smoking, lose weight and deal with stress or issues of low self-esteem. Some people are finding that hypnotherapy does work. More and more are turning to hypnotherapy as an additional way of dealing with problems such as insomnia or anxiety, for instance, without resorting to medication.
In an age where we are more open to alternative methods of pain control, dealing with stress, anxiety, or weight loss, hypnotherapy is gaining credibility. If it enables you to overcome situations with minimal medication and pain and with reduced side effects of medication, it is worth considering.
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