Hypnotherapy and Pain
I was very encouraged to read an article by John Naish this week in The Times, “Chronic pain – The Doctor who says it’s in the brain.” It is about the effect of the mind/body connection and how hypnotherapy had cured Dr Monty Lyman of a life-long debilitating illness.
Dr Lyman (age 28) had suffered with painful IBS all of his life. He was deeply sceptical about the mind’s ability to cure the body until he tried hypnotherapy as a last resort. He is now cured completely and so evangelical about the effects hypnosis had on him that he’s written a book – “The Painful Truth, the new science of why we hurt and how we can heal”.
It is a wonderful endorsement for a natural therapy that has no side effects and works on reducing the fear and anxiety associated with pain in order to manage chronic conditions.
Hypnotherapy and Pain
Hypnotherapy helps to reduce stress and relax the nervous system to help it become less reactive to pain.
For some, their first introduction to the power of linking the mind and body for pain is hypnobirthing. This practice is now regularly employed by expectant mothers as a means of pain management during labour and birth.
Pain and its treatment can be a complex issue. Everyone experiences pain differently with varying symptoms and differing levels of severity and discomfort.
One in three people in the UK experience chronic pain.
According to Dr Lyman, “We misunderstand the nature of pain.” Only by understanding the mind/body link can chronic conditions be alleviated. Even after an injury has healed, the brain remains wired to be oversensitive, which is why the pain sensations don’t stop. He argues that this is a major challenge for modern medicine. We are sent to one hospital for physical illness and another for mental illness. The challenges of COVID and the surge in mental health problems with Long COVID are a very obvious example of this.
As a consequence, patients are prescribed pills such as opioids for chronic pain conditions, which don’t necessarily work and are potentially addictive.
Research has shown that shifting the brain’s attention, can help to alleviate pain. Hypnosis does just this, using visualisation and relaxation techniques. When we focus on changing the thought patterns related to pain, it can make a huge difference to our perception of it. During hypnosis, positive suggestions are made to encourage pain relief. In most cases of chronic pain, the brain is on hyper-alert. During a hypnotherapy session the subconscious is calmed to reduce the cues of a threat and create a sense of calm and safety.
Before I see clients for hypnotherapy and pain, I advise that they see a doctor as a starting point to investigate the cause. Hypnotherapy can form a large part of the support plan to manage the emotional implications of a chronic condition and break the stress/pain cycle.
Living in pain is exhausting, so if any of this resonates with you, please do get in touch for an on-line appointment. Hypnotherapy is a safe and relaxing way to implement positive thoughts and coping strategies to help you manage and be pain free!