While 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.
Is It All in Your Head?
No. Just because the doctors don’t know what causes fibromyalgia doesn’t mean the problem isn’t real. It’s plenty real. (Up until recently, they thought ulcers were “all in your head,” and were surprised to discover that they’re typically caused by bacterial infection.)
Hypnotherapy works well on pain with known causes, and equally well on pain with unknown causes, such as the “phantom limb pain” suffered by some amputees. Fibromyalgia is no exception.
Not only that, hypnosis is routinely used for other fibromyalgia symptoms:
Research About Hypnotherapy and Fibromyalgia
Hypnosis has been the subject of scientific investigation for more than 200 years. These days, hypnotherapy is an accepted treatment modality. Few of today’s doctors “don’t believe in hypnosis.”
Compared to the pharmaceutical industry, there isn’t much money in hypnosis, so well-funded studies are almost nonexistent, but the research plugs along as best it can.
I’ll very briefly cite the results from the top three papers returned by a search for fibromyalgia and hypnosis on PubMed:
- Hypnosis for management of fibromyalgia. Compared to the control group, the hypnosis group reported better improvement on the Patient Global Impression of Change questionnaire and a significant improvement in sleep and CSQ dramatization subscale four months after treatment.
- Multicomponent cognitive-behavioral group therapy and hypnosis for the treatment of fibromyalgia: long-term outcome. In a study that compared drugs alone, drugs plus cognitive behavioral therapy (CBD) and drugs plus CBT plus hypnosis, the hypnosis group had the best results.
- Efficacy of hypnosis/guided imagery in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. Hypnosis and guided imagery reduces pain compared to the control group.
How does a fibromyalgia sufferer find a hypnotist? With Google, mostly. Most hypnotists, like me, are specialists, though a few are doctors, nurses, counselors, and so on.
If you don’t find a local hypnotist you like, your two other choices are:
- Remote hypnosis (usually over the Internet via Skype Video, Google Hangouts, etc.)
- Self-hypnosis, usually assisted by recordings. A good place to start is my free relaxation recording