Hypnosis For Pain Relief – Further Observations
Following my recent post I thought it would be useful to talk a little more broadly about this subject. Even though I made that last post as brief as I felt I could it was still quite long, and there is so much more that can to be said on this subject.
Read previous post here – Hypnosis For Pain Relief
Firstly, there are many different reasons someone might be in pain. They may have pulled a muscle slightly, they may have had a physical injury to the surface of their body. They may have a serious illness, etc.
So, it is important to use hypnosis/NLP style pain relief techniques in context. It isn’t going to be useful to help someone not feel pain in their sprained calf muscle if they end up using it vigorously and causing more damage, for example. Similarly, I don’t see people for migraines unless they have been thoroughly medically checked out, in case it isn’t a migraine but something else that needs urgent medical attention…
Also, some pain seems to be ‘referred’. For example I’ve met several people who have a pain in their body that, basically, originated elsewhere. Head and neck problems can be caused by physical problems further down the body so it’s good to rule out these sorts of factors where possible.
As an example of this, a few years ago I suffered from tendonitis in my left arm/wrist/hand. The doctor (bless her), winced when she saw the livid red line down the inside of my arm. ‘That must be very painful,’ she said.
It didn’t stop there.
‘I’m going to give you a course of anti-inflammatory drugs,’ she continued, ‘they probably won’t work but it’s worth a try. At the end of the course you will probably need a cortisone injection directly into the tendon.’ She winced at this point, adding, ‘that really really hurts, I had to have it done myself’.
So, in my mind I told myself to cancel all the terrible suggestions, and I carried on with life. I wore a brace on my arm and wrist and it didn’t bother me at all. I took the drugs and just lived life as usual. However a few weeks later I was beginning to notice that my arm wasn’t getting any better, and I began to have a larger and larger vision of the big injection, and I said to myself, ‘you had better get this sorted’.
In NLP we call this style of motivation… ‘moving away from’
A friend of mine, John Forster, (now retired) was a specialist in muscle therapy, a little known therapy that never really took off because, as far as I could see, it was too effective. Every single person I referred to him got better, pretty much immediately. I wasn’t sure he could help with tendonitis but I called him anyway.
He was confident.
So the next day I’m sitting in his treatment room with my sleeve rolled up and he is looking at my arm and smiling.
‘Where do you think the problem is,’ he says.
Now as my tendon is inflamed to the point where it looks like someone has made a big heavy line down my arm in red felt pen, this seems a bit of a weird question. So I point at it and raise my eyebrows.
‘No’, he says, ‘it’s not there’. And he takes the weight of my arm in one hand and leans forward, pressing his large thumb just above my left collarbone.
And immediately my whole arm is was filled with a big buzzing feeling. Not uncomfortable, just weird. A couple of minutes later he is pressing another point near the collar bone and the buzzing sensation continues. After about 15 minutes of this he stands back and says, ‘it is done, the healing is complete’.
‘Thanks’ I say, uncertainly. He then spends ten minutes or so rubbing his hand firmly up the muscles in my arm but that is pretty much that and I thank him and go home.
The next morning I wake up and I have absolutely no trace of tendonitis at all. No red line, just a comfortable arm and wrist. And I haven’t suffered in the slightest since.
John’s explanation was as follows…
‘Very often the pain that manifests in one part of the body is referred from somewhere else in the body. So if you see someone with a headache, ask them how their feet, legs, back are. In many cases you will find that something is out of alignment somewhere else. In my case what John did was release the tension at the top of the tendony bits (OK my anatomy knowledge isn’t that great…). I didn’t have any pain there, but the cure came from there.
So the point is, some pain can be more rapidly and effectively dealt with physiologically, and really should be.
Now John has retired I typically suggest to people that they do some simple Chi Gung exercises, or learn Alexander technique, or maybe see a chiropractor. Most people can’t be bothered to learn yoga, which is a shame, as it really can help on many levels.
Yes, we can help reduce or even eliminate pain with hypnosis and NLP. Yes, we can give a host of other suggestions to help the person to heal on every level and come more into balance as a whole being. Yes, we can help get them to visualise being fit, vibrant, flexible and radiant super-beings. Yes we can often help them feel more comfortable, more confident and more motivated. And most people in this field will have a number of stories about how they seemingly fixed someone’s chronic pain in a short time…..
If the client’s chronic headaches are actually being caused by a dodgy bed causing tension in their lower back that makes them unconsciously adjust their posture in such a way as causes the headaches…
As practitioners/therapists/coaches/trainers, we owe a duty of care to our clients to be as holistic as possible, to explore every avenue for healing. And as individuals, we owe a duty of care to do the same for ourselves.
And I haven’t even touched on other causal factors, diet, lifestyle, drug abuse etc, but they will have to wait for another post…
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