Pain is a vastly complex subject and understanding pain is important to effectively deal with it. Intervention by a qualified Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist can assist to dramatically reduce acute pain and eliminate the chronic pain cycle.
The body does not think. Only the mind thinks, thus, when the mind accepts or perceives something as reality, the body must respond. An example of this is the Fire-Walk experience. With just a few hours training, a person can walk through a bed of coals with no burns or physical pain.
“If this were a drug, everyone would be using it”, says David Spiegel MD a psychiatrist at Stanford University. “Changing your mental set can Change what’s going on in your body”. – Quoted from “Hypnosis for Pain” by Evelyn Strauss, WebMed Medical News.
Acute pain is physiological and organic. It is caused by physical injury or illness. The intensity and the severity depend on the nature of the injury or illness and the pain tolerance of the injured or ill person. It is a signal that something is wrong in your body and needs to be evaluated by a Physician, Dentist or Chiropractor before consulting a Hypnotherapist.
The body is connected by nerve endings to the brain. When the nerve endings are stimulated by something, an impulse is sent to the brain. If an injury has occurred, the nerve endings send the message that something is wrong. The subconscious mind then determines what to do with the impulse. A qualified Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist can make alternative suggestions to inhibit the pain response. This process is called Inhibition of the Autonomic Nervous System.
Chronic pain is on going and is considered chronic after a specified duration of time. It is a combination of physical and psychogenic factors. The longer a person has been in pain, the greater the psychogenic component. External stressors such as tension, fear and anxiety, intensify and influence the chronic pain cycle.
The reaction to pain results in the tightening of the muscles causing tension in the body. The tension increases the severity of the pain. Pain is approximately 25% physical and 75% emotional. Tension, Anxiety and fear are factors in how an individual experiences pain.
Tension is a protective response. When an individual experiences something unpleasant, physically or emotionally, they resist, causing tension in the body. The muscles tighten and exacerbate the pain. Muscle tension associated with pain can be alleviated with physical relaxation exercises using self-hypnosis techniques.
Anxiety is a critical element in the experience of pain. It makes the pain more difficult and intensifies the severity. Preoccupation with the pain creates further tension and constriction of the muscles causing inflammation of the central nervous system.
Anxiety patterns are caused by the structure of the subject’s personality characteristics and experiences. How one deals with pain is a learned behavior. These patterns must be identified and changed to effectively reduce pain.
Fear is the most insidious of the components of pain. It is important to understand how fear and pain react in the chronic pain cycle. We learn early on that pain is an unpleasant experience, something to be avoided. If trauma is associated with pain, the unconscious mind imprints fear with pain; then pain is the trigger for fear. As people grow older the fear of pain increases. The feeling of helplessness and vulnerability create tension and anxiety, thus, exacerbating the pain experience. It is important to stop the impact of the pain and fear cycle, thus significantly reducing the subjective experience of pain.
Suffering is another element of pain. It is emotional in nature and is processed differently by the brain. Suffering is psychogenic and intensifies the experience. The suffering element of pain should be dealt with during the Hypnotherapy session.
Somatization of emotions is a further complication of pain. It is the internalization of the feelings into physical discomfort. The physical discomfort is a real experience of pain, however, the basis of the pain is psychological and emotional. The subject is feeling pain generated by their painful life experiences. Hypnotherapy helps these individuals remove painful emotions and the underlying psychological issues that cause them. Pain of this nature often appears as headaches, gastrointestinal issues or disease.
One very effective technique to assist in pain relief is a process using the Control Gate Theory. Although rather complex, an explanation of this theory is important to the understanding of how it works. The Control Gate Theory is the acceptance of the anatomical distinctiveness between two neural conducting systems from the spinal cord, to the higher centers of the brain, after impulses have entered the spinal cord as a result of the stimulation. The Sensory-Discriminative System is primarily informative and carries information about the location and the intensity of the stimulation without the unpleasant qualities. The Motivation-Affective System relates to the center of the brain structure that processes the suffering aspect of the physical sensations of pain. Both conduits allow pain and suffering to exist at the same time because they have separate processing systems. The longer pain and suffering continues, the stronger and more enmeshed they become.
The Gate Control Theory suggests that the experience of pain can be changed by impulses transmitted through the two systems. The Hypnotherapist, creates a deep trance experience and then gives direct suggestions so the mind can re-identify experience as pressure or discomfort rather than pain, in addition, visualization and suggestion are used to eliminate the emotional component of suffering.
“Most patients benefit from the use of hypnotic suggestion for pain relief”, according to Guy Montgomery, PhD, a behavioral scientist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. (Montgomery published a meta-analysis on the subject in the April 2, 2000 issue of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.)
A qualified Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist will have many different techniques to eliminate pain. Each person is unique and may require a series of processes until one is found that works. There is no one magic pill. Hypnosis is a solution for living healthier and pain free without the use of drugs.
Tonda Adams, JD, CCHT, MtnQuest Hypnotherapy, ( 775) 825-2588, www.mtnquest-hypnotherapy.com.