|by Paul Gustafson RN, BSN, CH
Did you know that Americans spend as much out-of-pocket
for holistic solutions such as hypnosis as they do for
inpatient hospitalizations? The Eisenberg studies of 1991
and again in 1997 shocked the mainstream medical community
with these findings. The authoritarian approach to western
medicine assumes that health and wellness comes from others.
This minimizes the importance of our own natural ability
to not only enhance the healing process but to avoid illness
to begin with.
If the rapid assembly line of traditional healthcare has
clinicians overwhelmed, what about the emotional state
of those being cared for? How are the patients coping
with their situation? What expectations do they have for
recovery? Do they see themselves as temporarily side tracked
or powerless? Do they believe there is a role for them
to play in their own recovery or do they feel totally
dependant? This article describes how hypnosis works and
reviews some of the clinical applications.
What is Hypnosis?
The word hypnosis is a Greek derivative for
sleep coined by scientist James Braid in 1843.
It was an unfortunate choice of words because hypnosis
is not sleep at all. Nearly all hypnosis clients hear
and remember everything during a session. Hypnosis is
better described as a combination of deep physical relaxation
and heightened awareness.
It is the process of bypassing conscious thought and stepping
into the subconscious, which is our bodys control
center and also where all of our habits, values and beliefs
reside. The subconscious mind is like the hard drive of
a computer, it is where all the programming is stored.
Hypnosis not only helps you step inside of this powerful
place, but it also empowers the client to initiate positive
changes supporting improved health and thoughts of future
A hypnotist/hypnotherapist uses soothing music and paints
peaceful verbal images enabling clients to shift from
conscious to subconscious thought. Once this is accomplished
they are directed with carefully phrased suggestions,
affirmations and imagery supporting the desired goals.
The client subconsciously integrates the information and
puts it into action.
Clinical hypnosis applies to medical concerns. There are
dozens of applications of this holistic technique in the
acute care setting and scientific research is building
an impressive case supporting its effectiveness and cost
saving merits. Here are some examples:
Intensive Care: Clients can block out distractions and
reduce discomfort, which improves their ability to get
quality rest and speed up recovery time. Clinical hypnosis
reduces stress, balances blood pressure and heart rate,
which minimize complications. It can also be used to reduce
secretions, bleeding, improve immune response and make
procedures more tolerable.
Oncology: Hypnosis lessens stress, anxiety, pain, nausea
and vomiting. It reduces respiratory distress and even
helps prevents hair loss. It increases confidence and
self-image. Clinical hypnosis helps ease the acceptance
of physical restrictions or even coping with end of life
Pediatrics: What better gift to give a frightened child
than control during a time of crisis. Children have active
imaginations and respond very well to hypnosis. It can
melt away fear; increase their relaxation and focus making
it easier for them to understand and tolerate procedures
Surgical: Clinical hypnosis can reduce anxiety, pain,
stress and bleeding. It promotes rapid healing and improved
immune response. These clients can better manage post-op
pain and nausea. They use less medication and avoid the
side effects that go with it. Those who are relaxed going
into anesthesia are relaxed coming out of it. They have
fewer complications and have a shorter length of stay.
Mental Health: Hypnosis relieves symptoms of despair or
sadness, fears, phobias and even addictions. It puts the
client in control. They get to play an active role in
their own recovery, which adds to an increased sense of
fulfillment ensuring long-term success.
Dentistry: Hypnosis helps minimize anticipatory anxiety,
bleeding, gagging, pain, excess salivation and distorts
time perception making procedure seem to go by quickly.
Hypnosis can also help establish a positive association
with dental care promoting routine care.
Clinical hypnosis offers clients an oasis of relaxation
and control when they need it most. They have a shorter
length of stay, use less medication, have fewer complications
and feel like they were a part of the team. Hypnosis can
blend nature and science with dramatically positive results.
And clients who go on to become self-practitioners of
this relaxing technique can make positive changes in many
other areas of their lives as well.
About the Author
Paul Gustafson RN, BSN, CH runs HealthyHypnosis.com of
Burlington, Massachusetts. His 11 years of acute cardiac
and hospice experience offer a solid foundation supporting
his clinical approach to hypnotherapy. Visit HealthyHypnosis.com
or call toll free at 888-290-3972.