We’ve all seen the cartoons, stages shows, and movies featuring hypnosis, sometimes referred to as “brainwashing”.
Some of the acts and plots featuring diabolical hypnotists/scientists taking complete control over someone’s mind and body to make that person do evil deeds. (Warning: The following scene ends with the beginning of a murder.)
What a misconception. And by the way, if you haven’t seen the original Manchurian Candidate, you need to watch it! You can also read the novel.
Many medical professionals believe that hypnosis trains patients to cope instead of to crumble under pain, by conditioning areas of the brain; the use of hypnosis spans centuries. Studies show that hypnosis works for a viable percentage of pain patients. Components for success include:
- a legitimate hypnotist to help learn the way
- an open mind and willingness.
- consistency and patience.
About the first component: This need not be expensive. You can sign up for an affordable course if you do a Google search or ask your doctor. Legitimate hypnotists also offer free video sessions on YouTube.
Hypnosis best serves pain patients as a complementary treatment, along with
- a doctor who recognizes fibromyalgia
- a healthy diet
- a viable exercise program
- a consistent sleep routine
- a support system of family and friends.
Let me interrupt you mid-eye-roll to say that I know not everyone can accomplish or has access to all of these elements. Attaining consistent sleep with fibromyalgia…well, the thought of that happening seems out of reach for many fibro patients. I’ve written a whole series about fibromyalgia and sleep; you can read it here. Oh, and here’s another piece.
You can work with a professional to help facilitate the process, but the goal is to incorporate the process into your life in a natural way so you can self-hypnotize yourself when pain strikes. It’s a great coping mechanism because it’s free and it’s healthy. No one is going to gain weight or overdose on hypnosis.
Hypnosis Vs. Meditation
A longstanding disagreement exists over whether these two practices are actually one practice. After all, both practices use relaxation.
I side with the people who believe they are two practices.
My reasoning: Meditation does help pain patients. But the way it does this is by focusing on one’s breath or a candle flame or a color, to help attain awareness of the present.
Hypnosis involves opening oneself to suggestions of how to better manage addiction, pain, or fearful thoughts. It doesn’t require focusing on the present in the same way that all the forms of meditation do. Instead, a person enters more of a trance-like state to absorb guidance.
Good for Kids
For kids who suffer from pain conditions, hypnosis can show them how to manage their trauma, same as it shows adults. When successful, the practice provides a sense of self-worth that extends to other areas of their life, showing them how to manage problems in a way that doesn’t always involve drugs. Not that I am anti-drugs; I’m a big believer in many types of drugs.
But we all know that pain meds present problems for many people, ranging from allergic reactions to addiction.
Speak to your doctor or another trusted source to find a hypnosis program.
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