By John Tamiazzo, PhD
(October 5, 2018)
I was reading an article the other day on a medical website highlighting the best approaches for pain management. Among those listed was Self-Hypnosis. The writer went on to say that even though it oftentimes successfully works, how it works is not understood. I disagree. Once you understand the dynamics of Self-Hypnosis, it is easy to comprehend how and why it works.
As one approach, Self-Hypnosis assists a person in moving their attention away from the pain to another place in time: a relaxing scene in nature, a pleasant past memory, an enjoyable future image, or by simply distracting yourself by doing something else. The greater you use your brain power to focus and concentrate on the imagined or actual positive image, the more success you’ll have with managing physical and psychological pain. As you do these things, you are altering your brain chemistry by releasing hormones and neurotransmitters that stimulate, support, and bring about positive feelings. Once these chemicals enter the bloodstream, the entire body healthily and harmoniously responds.
Hundreds of medical research studies using placebo medicine or sugar pills report that the placebo oftentimes works as well as the actual medication. This confirms one very important principle of medical Self-Hypnosis and that is the power of suggestion should not be overlooked or underrated as a healing agent. If you believe that the pill, whether it is filled with medication or sugar, is going to ameliorate your pain, it most likely will. If you believe that the power of your mind and imagination can help you manage pain and that these powers will rid you of it, then that can happen. Another interesting discovery about placebo medicine is the pill’s color. Research has shown that people tend to view dark red pills as sedatives and white pills as painkillers. The power of belief put into action is an amazing force that can achieve things that some regard as miracles.
In dozens of double-blind studies comparing placebos to aspirin, placebos proved to be 50% as effective meaning that 50% of those who used placebos had the same positive effect as aspirin for pain. Taking this a step further, how about offering him/her a hypnotic suggestion that they will not have any pain? One of the ways of doing this is to create a new pain vocabulary and exclude the word ‘pain’ altogether. Using words like heat, pressure, throbbing, tenderness, or stinging is a good start. All hypnosis is Self-Hypnosis which means that if I give you a suggestion for pain and you accept the suggestion and believe the suggestion will work, then it becomes Self-Hypnosis.
Self-Hypnosis works upon the principle of reframing. Reframing is taking an image of something you perceive as uncomfortable and changing it into images that are pleasant. When you picture something from your past, present, or anticipate something in your future that is bothersome, you can alter that image or thought so that it doesn’t affect you negatively anymore through the power of your own creative imagination. Since how you see and experience your past determines how you see and experience the future, clearing away those old memories is important to your health and well-being. You just might discover that a current bodily pain or illness is related to an old emotional wound.
John Tamiazzo, PhD will be offering a 5-week series on Self-Hypnosis for Health at the Yavapai College OLLI program in Sedona beginning Wednesday evening October 10th. He is the author of two self-help books, Love & be Loved: 8 Steps to Creating Intimacy and Finding the Love You Want; Returning to the Land of Oz: Finding Hope, Love, and Courage on Your Yellow Brick Road. Visit his website www.johntamiazzo.com to learn more about his Counseling Services, Consulting, Public Speaking, and his upcoming Fall Workshops and classes in Sedona.