When you think of hypnosis, it’s hard to separate the idea from the more familiar images of stage magicians and mind control. But the truth is those images don’t reflect the reality of what can actually be a very useful treatment. Hypnotherapy can be an effective way to treat a number of different illnesses. And what’s most exciting is that there’s evidence it could actually help with fibromyalgia.
So, what is it? How does it work? And can it help treat your fibromyalgia?
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a process where a trained hypnotherapist coaches a patient into a state of deep relaxation. Of course, the state that it tries to achieve is more than just being relaxed. It’s closer to an altered state of consciousness. And in this state, people are more susceptible to suggestion and have a deeper sort of access to their subconscious. Hypnotherapists can use this state to help people learn to control their body’s physical responses.
That doesn’t mean that a hypnotherapist can control you the way we usually imagine when we think of hypnosis. Someone undergoing hypnosis can’t be brainwashed into doing something they wouldn’t normally do.
Instead, hypnotherapists focus on the subconscious processes through which the brain controls the body. This is useful for cases of anxiety or addiction. These conditions are often the result of negative thinking patterns or experiences. Hypnotherapists strive to help patients realize why they suffer from conditions like these and learn new ways to deal with them.
That’s hypnotherapy is usually most effective for mental health conditions like anxiety or depression. Because these problems are usually accompanied by negative subconscious elements, it can be an effective way to deal with them.
But there’s also evidence that hypnotherapy can affect things we normally don’t think of as something the mind can control, like pain. Numerous studies testing the effect of hypnotherapy for chronic pain have shown positive results. And surgeons have reported that their patients who had the therapy reported higher satisfaction levels and lower levels of pain than other patients.
Some researchers have even concluded that hypnotherapy can be a better way to control chronic pain than traditional methods.
It’s worth noting that, in these studies, patients who were “more suggestible” than others saw better outcomes than less suggestible patients. So, it seems like the power of suggestion can actually be an effective tool for treating pain. And it can be a good way to make that power work for you.
But can it work to treat the pain of fibromyalgia?
Hypnotherapy And Fibromyalgia
Studies have shown that the therapy can improve the pain of people with fibromyalgia. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health looked at 40 patients with the condition. Half were treated with hypnotherapy and the other half received standard physical therapy.
The study found that the patients treated with fibromyalgia noted that they suffered from less pain than the group receiving physical therapy. The study, therefore, concluded that hypnotherapy can actually be more effective in treating the pain of fibromyalgia than physical therapy.
So if that makes you want to give it a try, there are a few things you should be aware of. First, this type of therapy is an ongoing process, similar to physical therapy. A patient typically needs to receive multiple therapy sessions to see benefits and may need to continue the sessions for as long as they struggle with pain.
The National Institute of Health suggests that patients using hypnotherapy to relieve pain can try a few techniques to make their therapy more effective. First, you can actually learn to hypnotize yourself. And teaching a patient to use self-hypnosis outside of traditional therapy sessions can help them manage their pain on a daily basis. In addition, recording the sessions and using them on your own can help treat your pain.
The best course of action is to use these methods in addition to seeing a trained hypnotherapist. And your therapist can coach you in these methods to use outside your sessions to self-manage your pain.
As with all forms of therapy, you should be careful to only visit accredited practitioners and follow their recommendations. And if you find success with your therapy, you may be tempted to ditch your regular doctor. But it’s always better to stay in touch with your licensed physician and follow their recommendations in addition to the recommendations of your hypnotherapist.
So, have you ever had hypnotherapy to treat your fibromyalgia? Did you find it to be effective? Have you never had therapy but think you’d like to try it? Let us know in the comments.