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Three Common Uses of Medical Hypnosis

Aug 17, 2007
When most people hear the word "hypnosis," they think of magicians or parlor tricks. Perhaps they picture a hypnotized person clucking like a chicken or barking like a dog. The truth is that hypnosis represents a state of deep relaxation, somewhere between being asleep and being awake. People in this state can be led to focus completely on one thing in their environment, while ignoring all other stimuli. People who are hypnotized are also somewhat inclined to follow suggestion, although no matter how deep the trance, the hypnotized subject is never out of control of his or her own behavior.

Over the years, the medical community has come to view medical hypnosis as a useful tool. Medical hypnosis has frequently been used to help treat the following conditions.

Pain

Pain signals originate in the brain. For instance, if you touch a hot stove, your fingers will immediately transmit the heat they feel to the brain. The brain interprets this as pain, and you jerk your hand back to avoid further injury. In this way, pain helps us survive.

But sometimes pain has no clear cause. When this type of pain becomes chronic, sufferers are often willing to try anything to end their torment. Medical hypnosis has been used successfully to help turn these random pain signals "off."

Pain is also highly associated with anxiety and fear. If the anxiety and fear are reduced through hypnosis, the pain may regulate itself.

Cancer

Medical hypnosis has been used in several ways in the fight against cancer. Child subjects especially, but sometimes adults as well, are encouraged under medical hypnosis to visualize their healthy cells attacking the cancer cells and making them go away. Whether or not this actually reduces the number of cancer cells is hard to say, but it does seem to make patients feel more empowered in their fights. This can lead to a more positive attitude and a better outcome.

Medical hypnosis is also used frequently to manage pain and nausea that result from the cancer itself and the cancer treatments the patient is receiving.

Bad Habits

Medical hypnosis has been offered as a cure for every problem for alcoholism to smoking to overeating. Most people who use hypnosis to treat these problems admit that patients do better if hypnosis is only one of many tools used. For instance, someone who smokes would get the best outcome if he or she underwent medical hypnosis and joined a support group and used nicotine gum or patches.

While medical hypnosis is not a cure-all, then, it does seem to help with certain conditions. If you're struggling with a health care problem that doesn't seem to respond to traditional treatments, why not discuss medical hypnosis with your physician? It could be just the tool you need to help resolve your health problem.
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