(WCVB.com) When you think of hypnotherapy you might imagine a swinging pendulum and a spooky trance. But hypnotherapy has been gaining popularity for problems like smoking cessation, anxiety and weight loss. Now some scientific evidence shows hypnosis can help medically, from managing headaches to aiding with chemotherapy to preparing for surgery. Those who’ve tried it say the proof is in the results.
Rebecca Johnson said hypnosis got her through four operations with less anxiety and quicker healing. “The hypnotic experience allowed me to relax in a very deep, peaceful, pleasant way on my command,” said Johnson. Working with a medical hypnotherapist, Johnson used hypnotic suggestions to take her to a calm place, on cue.
“Being in this gorgeous place on a beautiful day with all of my senses were involved. I could see the sky and feel the breeze and smell the flowers. My body was relaxing,” said Johnson.
After the operations, Johnson needed minimal pain medication.
“The capacity to go into this state that we can call meditation or self-hypnosis or trance is actually just our innate ability to shift our focus, if you will. It’s sort of like shifting the channel on the tuner internally,” said Carol Ginandes, an expert in mind-body therapy and hypnosis.
“You can not only create a state of mind where they can go somewhere else — they can go to Hawaii instead of being in gurney rolled into surgery — you can also help them with the physiological aspects they’ll need to deal with,” she said. Ginandes said hypnosis can actually help tissue, organs and bones heal. And there’s science to back that up.
In March, a Swedish study found one hour a week of hypnotherapy for 12 weeks eased symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in 40 percent of patients, compared with 12 percent who didn’t have the treatment.
A Harvard medical school study found patients who had 15 minutes of hypnosis before surgery took less time in the operating room and needed less pain medication. “I was able to control aspects of physical function like blood pressure that I never though I’d control with my mind,” said Johnson. “The images themselves seemed to speak to my body.”
Resistance from mainstream medicine is strong, but Ginandes sees that changing.
“It’s such a wonderful resource for mind-body health as an adjunct to medical treatment,” said Ginandes.
Paul Gustafson, R.N., C.H. is an ‘A List’ Angie’s List provider. Check out his Surgical Success hypnosis program. Also available as cd .
Contact Paul for free consultation: 888-290-3972 or info@burlingtonhypnosis.com.