Can Hypnosis Really Replace Vicodin and Percocet?

Hypnosis instead of pillsThese days, with too many people taking too many pills because they’re suffering too much pain, hypnosis for pain control is more important than ever.

A track record of pain relief. Hypnosis was pioneered by nineteenth-century surgeons, such as James Esdiale and James Braid, and pain control was one of the earliest uses of hypnosis. Chemical anesthesia (ether, chloroform) came later. And hypnotic pain control techniques have gotten better over time.

  • Hypnosis can help you:
  • Control pain without painkillers.
  • Reduce your dependence on painkillers like Vicodin (hydrocodone), Percocet (oxycodone), or even methadone.
  • Reduce withdrawal and cravings.
  • Increase the effectiveness of painkillers.

Does it Work?

Let’s look at some research findings:

“Randomized controlled studies with clinical populations indicate that hypnosis has a reliable and significant impact on acute procedural pain and chronic pain conditions.”
Patterson and Jensen. “Hypnosis and clinical pain,” Psychological Bulletin of the American Psychological Association, 2003

“A pain protocol including hypnosis reduced pain intensity, improved opioid efficiency, reduced anxiety, improved wound outcome while reducing costs. The protocol-guided use of opioids improved patient care without side effects, while hypnosis had significant psychological benefits.”
Berger, et al. “Impact of a pain protocol including hypnosis in major burns.” Burns, 2010. Continue Reading...

Fibromyalgia: Can Hypnosis Help?

hypnosis can help fibromyalgia pain and fatigueWhile we’re waiting for scientists to figure out fibromyalgia, what can people do in the meantime? Because, sadly, fibromyalgia is one of those issues that baffles medical science: unknown cause, unknown cure, doesn’t show up in today’s blood-tests, and is generally mysterious.

How do we deal with a problem with an unknown cause? By turning to solutions where knowing the cause isn’t necessary. Suppose I were a tow-truck driver. If you called me to pull your car out of a ditch, I’d get it out even if you didn’t tell me how it got there. No problem.

Hypnosis for Fibromyalgia

Hypnosis works with fibromyalgia the same way it works for other issues: I get you into a hypnotic state where the usually inaccessible parts of the mind are listening, and give hypnotic suggestions for comfort, healing, stamina, enthusiasm, and well-being. The way I do it, I combine relaxation, direct suggestion, and guided imagery, approaching the problem from many different angles. Continue Reading...

11 Symptoms That Show You May Be Depressed

Eeyore, the little depressed donkeyAre you depressed? And what does “depressed” mean, anyway? (And can hypnosis help with depression?)

To help with the first two questions, here’s an 11-point list from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

  1. Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
  2. Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  3. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  4. Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, including sex
  5. Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
  6. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  7. Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  8. Low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  9. Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
  10. Restlessness, irritability
  11. Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain for which no other cause can be diagnosed.

A Hypnotist’s Comments on the List

Persistent Sad, Anxious, or Empty Mood

Piglet has anxietyThis is a strange one: Most people would agree that sad or empty matches up with “depressed” pretty well but not “anxious.” Depression is like Eeyore. Anxiety is like Piglet. Right?

Right. But that didn’t stop anybody from shoehorning anxiety into depression anyway. For example, this diagram, also from the ADAA, shows generalized anxiety disorder as being a mere subset of depression:


As a hypnotherapist, I use ordinary language rather than therapy-speak, so I’m free to avoid sloppy nomenclature. But some of my clients come in pre-confused by this sort of thing, and we need to take the time to distinguish between labels that actually describe the client’s experience and ones that don’t. Continue Reading...

Hypnosis for Alien Abductions? Is That a Thing?

The first time someone asked me about hypnosis for alien abductions,Cow being abducted by aliens in a UFO I was a little taken aback. “You want to abduct an alien? With hypnosis?”

But they explained to me that it’s more like, “I think maybe I was abducted by aliens. Can I find out in hypnosis?”

First, let me level with you: I have no training at all in forensic hypnosis. There really is such a thing as forensic hypnosis, with an idea of helping people remember things in a way that’s clean enough to help an investigation. But I have no training in it. And I’m no expert in aliens, either.

A True Story On a Related Theme

A client came to me and felt that her troubles lay in a past life. Well, past-life regression happens to be one of those things that we hypnotists do. I told her that this is done with no guarantees. I’m pretty confident that you’ll have an interesting hypnotic experience, and likely it will be moving and powerful as well. Will the things you remember be literally true? They often feel that way, but I can’t make any promises, because I don’t know! (But if a past-life experience leads you to buried treasure, please send me a post card.) Continue Reading...

Are the Holidays Stressing You Out?

Are the holidays stressing you out? Too much to do, too many demands, gloomy weather, annoying relatives, high expectations?Stressed out by the holidays

You can’t change the weather, or your relatives, or the timing of the holidays (and neither can I), but hypnosis can help! The very first thing hypnosis does for you, besides giving you a time to put your feet up, close your eyes, and relax, is to put you back in touch with you sense of centered, calm relaxation, and take it with you when you leave the office. There’s nothing like it for relieving stress. And hypnosis is easy. With modern techniques, everyone is a good hypnotic subject; you’ll do just fine, no matter how rushed and stressed and jangled you might feel at the start.

Hypnosis is a brief therapy, so it’s not like you have to start during summer vacation to get ready for the holidays. You can start during the holidays and it’ll work just fine. Perfect for last-minute shopping for that hardest-to-please person: you. Continue Reading...