Medical applications for hypnotherapy

There’s been several articles in the news recently, all excitedly talking about the ‘breakthrough’ that is harnessing the power of hypnosis for surgical procedures and other medical applications for hypnotherapy. Hypnosis has a long history of use in both pain management and anaesthesia.  In the 1800’s hypnosis was used extensively during surgery, but fell out of favour when modern anaesthetics were developed as these were quicker. In America, the use of hypnosis for rapid treatment of injuries and trauma in WWI, WWII, and the Korean conflict led to a renewed interest in hypnosis in the fields of dentistry and psychiatry. In 1955, the British Medical Association approved the use of hypnosis in the areas of psychoneuroses and hypnoanesthesia in pain management in childbirth and surgery recommending that all physicians and medical students to receive fundamental training in hypnosis.

Since the 70’s hypnosis has been the subject of many scientific studies. Peer reviewed studies have shown that it is capable of reducing inflammation, altering blood flow and changing the perception of pain. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) agrees, stating that hypnotherapy is often extremely effective for pain management.  Studies have shown that there are documented changes that occur while a person is in a state of hypnosis including a greater connectivity between the brain’s executive-control network and the insula, a grape-sized region deeper in the brain that helps us control what’s going on in the body, including processing pain.

There are many different medical conditions that hypnotherapy can be helpful for.  In recent months we have written about how effective it can be as an adjunctive support to people living with breast cancer, lupus and other autoimmune conditions.

During sessions of hypnotherapy you will discuss with your therapist what you want to achieve.  You’ll work together, using a range of different techniques to help you find a way to either manage your symptoms or to transform how you feel about the challenges that you are facing.

When seeing a therapist for medical support, it is essential that you are is accessed by a GP first and receive a formal diagnosis.  After you’ve had this diagnosis, contact a hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory.