Modern hypnosis was developed by doctors, with a focus on resolving difficult medical issues like chronic pain control, totally eliminating pain during surgery, and the promoting rapid healing. The use of hypnosis for non-medical issues, such as habits and phobias, came later.
James Braid, the nineteenth-century doctor who coined the term “hypnosis,” stated that all the peculiar characteristics of the hypnotic state are things that any experienced doctor has seen many times in patients, and that means that hypnosis is a naturally occurring state. It’s just a matter of evoking it purposefully and setting it to good uses intelligently.
These days, doctors are more pro-hypnosis than ever. They may suggest that you see a hypnotist, or they may wait for you to bring it up, but either way, they’re likely to be all for it.
Many of my clients come to me for assistance with some aspect or other of their medical issues, with the full support of their doctors. These issues include pain control (feeling far more comfortable, often with greatly reduced medication), developing good habits about eating, exercising, and medication, breaking bad habits like smoking or drinking, and finding calmness and serenity instead of the anxiety and hopelessness that could otherwise get in the way of your recovery.
Here’s a brief ABC News video about how effective hypnosis is for breast cancer recovery:
And a more general discussion about medical hypnosis from Fox News:
One important thing to understand about hypnotherapy is that it’s different. If you’ve tried other things and they haven’t worked, all that means is that you need something different. Like hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a brief therapy, averaging around 5-8 weekly sessions for most issues, so you can often be in and out in the time you spend waiting to see a busy doctor once!
What kinds of pain can hypnosis help with?
- Arthritis pain
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Joint/knee/elbow pain
- Cancer pain
- Phantom limb pain
- Stomach/intestinal pain (such as from IBS)
- Pain from Fibromyalgia
- Migraine pain
- And many more
I won’t go so far as to say “pain is pain,” because different pains are different. But hypnosis has been used for pain control for more than 150 years, and it’s a pretty well-understood technology.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not the least bit anti-doctor. I think doctors are great. Which is excellent, because hypnosis tends to amplify the good work done by other people, adding its own unique boost to the mix. So the right answer isn’t “either/or,” it’s ‘both.”