How Your Pain is Lying to You [Video]

This surprisingly funny video about how pain works tells you everything you need to know about pain except what to do about it, which I’ll get into when you’re done looking at it.

If pain is largely a matter of interpretation by our brains, then one of the most helpful ways of dealing with it is reinterpretation.

Hypnosis can turn pain from 11 down to 1 or 2Hypnosis has been used for pain control for more than 150 years. One of the classic techniques is very similar to an experiment described in the video. In the experiment, you have the subject wear a “pain helmet” that doesn’t actually do anything, and allow him to watch as you turn up a “pain knob” that doesn’t do anything either. And as you turn up the knob, the subject’s pain increases. It really does. Even though the knob isn’t connected to anything at all.

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Hypnosis Research: It’s Real, and it Works

You’d be surprised how much scientific research has been focused on hypnosis. According to this article in Penn State News, there have been more than 12,000 scientific articles on the subject! Technology is giving researchers more and more toys to use in their studies, including brain imaging techniques that let them see how brain activity changes under hypnosis. It changes a lot!

People in a hypnotic trance tend to be very relaxed, that kind of delicious relaxation where you’d prefer to enjoy it and not talk or move much. This lethargy is misleading, because it conceals a heightened level of mental activity. With this heightened level of mental ability, more than ever, it’s easy to think, imagine, remember, face previously troublesome issues serenely, connect with all your mental, physical, and emotional resources, make decisions that are right for you, and change.

Some of the researchers even admit that their results are gloomier than they should be. Why? For one thing, research often uses whichever student volunteers can be rounded up at the moment, rather than people who are truly motivated to change. Also, for consistency, researchers often use specific, standardized techniques for a fixed number of sessions, rather than tailoring the approach to the individual and continuing until the job is done. And finally, sometimes researchers without much experience or passion for hypnotherapy will do the hypnosis, simply because they’re available.

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How Safe is Hypnosis?

Is hypnosis safe?” Hypnosis is safer than most things. Drugs carry the risk of side effects, surgery carries the risk of complications and infection, while hypnosis doesn’t.

The most common issue with hypnosis is when the hypnotist goes solely for the symptom itself. Sometimes the symptom is just a nuisance and it will go away forever if the unconscious mind is asked to do this in a way it understands. Sometimes the symptom serves a purpose, and removing it can cause trouble.

For example, what happens when a smoker who has forgotten how to relax without lighting up goes to see a bad hypnotist? His real problem is that his unconscious mind has built up a false belief that “relaxation is impossible without smoking.” The smoker likely doesn’t realize this consciously. He needs to replace this belief with something more helpful: that’s the key to solving his problem. But a bad hypnotist will ignore the belief and work only on the smoking itself. In this situation, three outcomes are possible:

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Taking the Unconscious Mind Seriously

This short video by John Grinder shows why it’s so important to take the client’s unconscious mind seriously:

We all do things that we wish we didn’t, and every one of these behaviors has a purpose behind it. It may not have wisdom behind it, but there’s always a purpose.

One thing you need to know about our behaviors is that the thoughts behind them tend to be frozen in time. If a teacher tells us that we have no artistic talent, we tend to accept that judgment as a child and forget to reassess it later. This means that we continue to overlook the fact that the teacher was nothing but a bully who wouldn’t know talent if it were pointed out by a choir of angels, and that means that, for all we know, we might be overflowing with talent!

Our limiting beliefs aren’t keeping up with current events, but they effect our feelings and behavior every day. The result is that your unconscious mind is busily protecting you from criticism by applying the old lessons, even though they may have always been the wrong lessons, and even if they were the right lessons then, they’re the wrong lessons now. The intentions are good, it’s just the method that needs to be updated.

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