Just as with stretching, we don’t typically hear hypnosis talked about as a method you can use to deal with pain. Most discussion on the subject, even the things you find on our website, typically focuses on using it as a tool to change behaviors and old habits, or to break addictions. Physical pain doesn’t often come up in that discussion. But in fact hypnosis is quite good for pain – especially chronic pain. Here are some things to know about hypnosis and pain:
- Hypnosis can generate a feeling of anesthesia. We’ve probably all heard the story about a person who injured themselves during a sports event but didn’t feel it until after the event was over. Some of us have probably been that person. Pain isn’t always felt in the moment an injury happens, and ultimately, any sensation of pain is only felt because we process some neural trigger in our brains. Under hypnosis, a person can learn to detach from the triggers that create pain, so that the body feels numb – as though a person had chemical anesthesia. This feeling of anesthesia can be as small or as large as it needs to be, so that hands, arms, or even the whole body is numb.
- Hypnosis helps a person remember what being out of pain is like. For those who live with chronic pain day in and day out, eventually there comes a time when it becomes hard to remember what not being in pain feels like. When this happens, someone who suffers from pain can start believing that nothing will ever get better and that they are a hopeless case. This is a terrible situation to be in, and it nearly stops all chance of further recovery. But under hypnosis, people can be brought back to relive pleasant experiences in their past that help them remember what it is to be free of pain, and to bring those expectations and feelings of hope into the future.
- Hypnosis can help with both acute & chronic pain. Hypnosis is not limited to those who deal with chronic pain – it is good for pain of any kind, from any cause, and of any severity. Beyond those who are dealing with pain for limited (or indefinite) periods of time, this can also be good for people who are concerned about pain from events they know are helpful, such as surgery or dental procedures.
- Hypnosis is not a good stand-alone intervention. Hand in hand with the last point, because hypnosis can block pain from any cause, it’s not a good intervention when your body really needs to communicate something to you – like the chest pain associated with a heart attack. Hypnosis is best for pain when the cause of pain is well understood but the occurrence or intensity of pain is needless.
With all these things in mind, if you have a loved one dealing with chronic pain, urge them to schedule a consultation and find relief right away!