Hypnosis for pain relief? One study shows that “Pain affects up to 1.5 billion adults worldwide.” Being in constant pain can be debilitating, but hypnosis can help with chronic pain.
Does hypnosis help with pain relief?
Recently, a large study that included data from 85 other studies was completed on how well hypnosis helps to relieve pain and under what circumstances it works. This meta-study included 3632 people, and showed that hypnosis was able to relieve every type of pain it was used for.
What factors make hypnosis more effective in relieving pain?
While hypnosis was found to be effective for relieving discomfort, there are ways to make it more effective. A hypnotherapist with a high level of training would be know all of these methods and more.
1. Direct suggestions about pain relief
Hypnosis is most effective against pain when the hypnotist makes direct suggestions about reducing or eliminating the pain. This would seem to be obvious, but not everyone realizes it. If you are listening to general hypnosis CDs or receiving hypnosis for relaxation or another topic, it is not enough to adequately remove your pain. The hypnotherapist must make specific post-hypnotic suggestions that address pain reduction for the hypnosis to have the maximum effect.
2. How suggestible you are matters
In the study, the people who received the biggest reduction in pain were those who are the most suggestible. This is because the most suggestible are easily hypnotizable to the lowest depths of hypnosis. It is more difficult to get someone with a lower suggestibility to a low hypnotic depth, but it is possible.
3. How deep you are in hypnosis
As mentioned above, hypnotic depth can help determine how much pain relief you achieve in a session, and how long that relief lasts. This where a highly-trained hypnotherapist comes in. Highly trained hypnotherapists, those who receive months of training, learn how to get the client to an appropriate hypnotic depth the first time. They also lean how to increase the depth with each session. This is not something that can be learned in a weekend hypnosis course, and takes quite a bit of practice.
4. Whether you are working with a hypnotherapist
The study showed that what types of suggestions are used in your hypnosis can determine how effective it is for pain. It also showed that suggestibility is a determining factor in pain relief. A hypnotherapist can help with both of those issues. For this reason, it is a given that working with a hypnotherapist would be more effective in relieving pain than listening to pre-recorded scripts or doing self-hypnosis. Your hypnotherapist is also trained to understand what suggestions, specifically, would work for you for pain. They monitor you while in the process and help you achieve your goal of pain relief using all of their skill, training and experience.
If you have chronic pain, you have likely tried many things to relieve it. As hypnosis has been scientifically validated to be useful for pain-reduction, I would suggest trying it, especially if medication has failed. Your hypnotherapist can work with your doctor to help manage your pain symptoms, allowing you to use a more holistic approach to healthcare.
Thompson, T., Terhune, D. B., Oram, C., Sharangparni, J., Rouf, R., Solmi, M., … Stubbs, B. (2019). The effectiveness of hypnosis for pain relief: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 85 controlled experimental trials. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 99, 298–310. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.02.013
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