5 Ways Hypnotherapy Can Help Relieve Your Pain
By Brooke Lemke, Hypnotherapist at Genesis Health System
Today we get to discuss one of my favorite areas and probably one of the top five reasons people seek out hypnotherapy: pain!
Personally, I turned to hypnotherapy to manage over 16 years of chronic abdominal pain and found success with hypnotherapy after a few sessions. It was because of this success that I have dedicated my life as a hypnotherapist as a way to help others live a quality life!
Pain is one of the many reasons people struggle to live the quality of life they desire. Walking, exercising and other once fun and enjoyable activities can become limited.
Types of pain
The first type is the one where there is a known cause to the pain, i.e., an accident, surgery, a medical diagnosis, etc. This type of pain can follow someone for months, years and even decades. The longest period of pain someone had that I’ve worked with was OVER 50 years! That is a long time to be in chronic pain!
The second type of pain is one in which there is no known medical reason to the pain. Doctors aren’t able to locate a cause for it, and they might go as far as telling you “it’s in your head!” And in a way it is. However, we are led to believe the pain isn’t real. The pain is VERY MUCH real! This was the type pain I suffered from for 16 years. I was told it was in my head, which made me believe I was making it up. What needs to be clarified is how this pain is exactly “in your head."
Hypnotherapy approaches to pain
Please Note: Hypnotherapy to treat pain does require a referral. This is so I can build a team relationship with your doctor, and so I can have a better understanding of your condition.
1. Relaxation & Breathing
A lot of the time the pain we experience is actually due to a lack of oxygen to the muscles, allowing the muscles to tighten and ultimately increasing the pain level.
With many of my clients I do a progressive relaxation, enabling the muscles in the body to relax and to release tension. I also teach a breathing exercise to increase the oxygen flow into your body. Sounds simple, and that’s because it is! Sometimes, the simplest tools can have the greatest success!
You might say, "Yes, but I’ve been in a horrible car accident and I’ve dealt with the pain for decades." My response is simple: "this tool will still help you in decreasing your pain!" I’ve witnessed it first hand, and I love it when others get to witness this power as well!
2. Glove Anesthesia
This is for those with isolated pain that can be reached with the hand.
Your mind is so incredibly powerful that it can actually create a numbing or cold sensation in your hand. You’re then able to place that cold hand on the place of pain as though it were an ice pack!
This method tends to impress people a lot because they had no idea their mind could do this! I guide you through this process in hypnosis, allowing the subconscious to do all the work!
This one my clients’ favorite next to the control room. I work with each client individually to create an image in their mind of what this pain might look like and how they can see themselves getting rid of it. Maybe the pain is an object, or maybe it’s a color or a shape.
Take a moment and think of what your pain looks like to you and where is it located. Now imagine what you could do to release it! Can you smash it with a hammer? Can you set it on fire? Can you wash it away? The subconscious doesn’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, so by doing an imagery journey, the subconscious is actually able to release it from the body! This is powerful and a lot of fun!
4. Control Room
This is type of imagery in which you picture your mind as a control room. We work together on creating the description of it, and then we can actually turn down the pain dials in the mind! This method is usually the one where the client will say “I have no idea how it works, but it works!” I have seen clients go off their narcotics thanks to this imagery!
As you can conclude, pain is very much in our mind. But it is very, very real! That is because the mind and the body communicate with each other. Neuroscience is now able to back what we know with hypnotherapy. What was once deemed “in your head” is there, but ultimately expressed in the body.
That is because pain, according to the subconscious, keeps you safe. The subconscious fears letting go of the pain because it has relied on it for your survival. The above methods assist in letting go of the pain!
With that we can now discuss the pain that has no medical cause. We can apply the above methods for this type of pain; however, we take it one step further. With this type of pain we actually look at emotions.
Did you know that your emotions need to be released? If they are not released, they can actually appear in the body. In fact, we can even pinpoint certain emotions to certain types of pain. You may know this as psychosomatic symptoms, but we refer to them as body syndromes in hypnotherapy.
5. Releasing Emotions
In this approach, we look at emotions around an event, a circumstance, a person or people, etc., and we begin to release them. We even release the emotions that we have towards the pain. Maybe that’s anger, depression, anxiety, guilt or even jealousy towards others who have good health.
The list of emotions is endless. And the best part is, emotions are healthy! It’s okay to be sad or angry, but it’s not necessarily healthy to hold onto them. We look at what you want, what you feel you need, and we cater this approach specifically to you.
Request a phone consult
I hope this blog was able answer questions you may have had about how hypnotherapy can best treat pain. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out for a phone consult by filling out the form below: