Medical Hypnosis Helps Manage Illness

Hi Everyone,

Check out this article on medical hypnosis. Gwenn Henkel at the Optimal Fitness Lifestyle Center is a Master Medical Hypnotherapist and can help you decrease stress, pain, anxiety, depression, weight and more. The article below will give you some techniques you can do on your own for self hypnosis.

Source: Bottom Line’s Daily Health News.
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Hypnosis used to be considered some kind of parlor trick to make people behave in bizarre ways. But, oh, how that’s changed — nowadays people seek out hypnosis because they know it can help them with assorted health-related matters. Studies show that among other things, hypnosis is effective as a tool to reduce pain and manage anxiety, as well as a way to help people curb certain habits such as smoking and overeating. According to James S. Gordon, MD, founder and director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC, self-hypnosis can also help lower blood pressure, reduce stress and calm anxiety in fear-filled situations, including cancer treatment or surgery.

To find out more about self-hypnosis and some ways to learn it, I called Dr. Gordon, who is also a clinical professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, and the former chairperson of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. He explains that self-hypnosis is very similar to deep meditation, but it goes even further in giving the mind a way to directly affect the body. Hypnosis is successful because it teaches the parasympathetic nervous system — the one in charge of relaxation — to counteract the “fight or flight” responses of the sympathetic nervous system. Although a few people still worry that hypnosis opens the mind to outside influences and so can be dangerous, Dr. Gordon says that’s not even possible. Under self-hypnosis your mind alone exercises control and what it achieves is completely up to you.

Dr. Gordon says there are several simple ways to start the practice of self-hypnosis. The first one he teaches is particularly easy and is called “soft belly.” Here is how to do it: Sit in a relaxed position, eyes closed and begin to breathe slowly and deeply, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Then on the inhale, say to yourself “soft” and focus on making your belly soft (this will allow your breath to go even deeper and will be even more relaxing), and as you exhale say the word “belly.” Repeat this as many times as you need to feel completely calm. The point is simply to relax you.

The next technique has a more scientific name, “autogenic training.” Dr. Gordon says it’s a great introduction to learning self-hypnosis. It consists of six verbal phrases, all of which give specific instructions to the body to produce physiological changes that induce relaxation. Again sit in a relaxed position, eyes closed and breathing deeply (in fact, “soft belly” is a good lead-in to this). Repeat each one of the six self-instructions six times before you move on to the next. (The first few times you can repeat them out loud, after that, you can simply silently recite them to yourself.) They are:

* “My arms and legs are heavy… I am at peace.” (This starts to bring the blood flow away from the body core where it heads when you’re anxious or upset, and back into your limbs.)
* “My arms and legs are warm… I am at peace.”
* “My heartbeat is calm and regular… I am at peace.”
* “My abdomen radiates warmth… I am at peace.”
* “My forehead is cool… I am at peace.”
* “My breathing is easy… I am at peace.”

Autogenic training can be used to quiet your mind anytime you feel yourself growing agitated. It can also be used to help break the cycle of longing for a cigarette or the urge to indulge in an eating binge. You could use autogenic phrases to help you achieve specific goals. Begin with the six phrases above, and then, for example, if you are having trouble falling asleep at night, add the phrase, “I am happily going to sleep… I am at peace.”

Everyone should have a “safe place” in their mind where they can find peace, says Dr. Gordon, and he suggests creating one right away. Having it already established allows you to retreat to your peaceful corner anytime you feel threatened, are ill or when you just need some comfort and a sense of being safe. This is a place you can conjure up in your mind using mental imagery. Some people base their retreat on a real place they know well, but others create one that is fictional and built entirely from fantasy. “Make experiencing the place as real as possible,” suggests Dr. Gordon. “Picture what you are wearing and the smells of the place, its sounds, how it feels.” You can choose whether you want to be alone there or with others — it’s completely yours to fashion as you like.

This retreat is not just whimsical or even about the physiological relief you experience in its calm — it also brings a sense of control and hopefulness that is healing to people who are anxious, depressed or ill. Dr. Gordon suggests hospitalized patients may teach themselves to “retreat” this way when undergoing an uncomfortable procedure. Surgery patients can take themselves to their safe place on their way into the operating room and again when coming out of the anesthesia. Additionally, practicing this relaxation technique will help the healing process, he adds.

Here is how to go to your safe place: Start with a few minutes of “soft belly,” which will put you into a relaxed state in which suggestions about your safe place will have maximum effect. Now imagine you are going to your safe place. Make yourself comfortable there, look around. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel and smell? Relax. Breathe deeply. Enjoy yourself. Know that you can return here whenever you like. After a while, perhaps five or 10 minutes, let your breathing deepen and become aware of yourself sitting in the room where you began this exercise. Remind yourself that you can breathe deeply and return to your special safe place any time you wish. Dr. Gordon says that soon you will be able to put yourself there after just a few deep breaths.

These are just a few techniques of self-hypnosis. Many people find they are all they need, but more sophisticated ones are also available to help with such issues as stress relief. The Center has a “Best of Stress Management” kit, with 10 CDs, a DVD, workbook and an electronic biofeedback monitor, which ordinarily costs $219. He is offering the kit to Daily Health News readers for the special price of $189. Go to www.cmbm.org/kit <http://link.dhn.bottomlinesecrets.com/h/25XX/NTBI/RF/260Q7S> and enter discount code CMBM189 to receive the special rate.

James S. Gordon, MD, founder and director, The Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC, clinical professor, Georgetown University School of Medicine, former chairperson, White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy.

If you would like a FREE consultation with Gwenn Henkel, Master Medical Hypnotherapist at the Optimal Fitness Lifestyle Center contact us today @ [email protected]