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Medicine and Hypnosis. Hypnotherapy - Healing Emotionally and Physically from the Inside Out

By Linda Simmon

More and more doctors now realize that hypnosis is powerful medicine.

Why this is and how it happens is still something of a mystery, but

science is proving that hypnosis can improve your health in amazing

ways. It can help relieve pain, make breathing easier for people

with respiratory illnesses, aid with gastrointestinal ailments and

relieve depression just to name a few. The most astonishing evidence

is coming from research on healing.

In a pilot study published in 1999, Harvard University psychologist

Carol Ginandes, Ph.D., showed that hypnosis can help broken bones

heal faster and, in a follow-up experiment published in 2000,

Ginandes and her research team discovered that women who had breast

reduction surgery recovered far more quickly after undergoing


It is speculated that hypnosis alters the levels of certain chemicals

found in the brain that influence the nervous system, hormone

production, and the immune system. It appears that hypnosis affects

how genes in cells express themselves, turning some functions on and

others off. Studies using brain scans and other imaging technology

are providing explanations as to how and why hypnosis works in

helping the body heal itself.

Hypnotherapy uses relaxation techniques such as deep breathing,

imagery, visualization and positive suggestions. Clients often say

to me that they experience a feeling of peacefulness and euphoria yet

are fully aware during a session. This is similar to what is

experienced during meditation. As David Spiegel, director of the

psychosocial treatment laboratory at Stanford University School of

Medicine and coauthor of Trance & Treatment: Clinical Uses of

Hypnosis (American Psychiatric Publishing) explains, there is "some

overlap with meditation" however, "hypnosis focuses on the ability to

do something for a specific purpose." And this is how hypnosis

achieves its strength, by using positive statements and suggestions

while a client is in a fully relaxed state. This enables the client

to more easily focus on past problematic patterns or behaviors and it

is this ability to more easily focus that results in the desired

change. A sort of spring cleaning for the mind. Working from the

inside out, releasing negative thoughts, perceptions and behaviors

and replacing them with the positive thoughts and suggestions that

the client desires.

It is this technique of focusing and strengthening willpower that is

responsible for hypnotherapy's high success rate, particularly for

clients who want to lose weight or quit smoking. A University of

Connecticut review of six weigh-loss studies found that 70 percent of

study participants rated hypnosis better than cognitive therapy


Arreed Barabasz, director of the laboratory of hypnosis research at

Washington State University in Pullman and coauthor of

Hypnotherapeutic Techniques (Brunner-Routledge) agrees. The

suggestions, however, must not emphasize what you are against, but

rather stress the positive goals and imagery that you are seeking.

For the client who wishes to quit smoking, positive suggestions about

their body and visualizing their lungs becoming clear and free of

smoke as well as instilling images of the client happy, healthy and

smoke free are the types of suggestions that are most effective.

When Barabasz tested this approach on 300 heavy smokers who had

previously quit and relapsed, almost half stayed smoke-free 18 months

after hypnotherapy - compared with 10 percent for the

nicotine-replacement therapy alone.

Research has shown that cancer patients who receive hypnotherapy

prior to or during chemotherapy sessions experience less nausea and

vomiting than those going through chemotherapy without the aid of


The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis,

April 2000 discovered that hypnosis relieved pain in 75 percent of

the people studied.

And this list goes on and on.

As more and more doctors and patients are beginning to recognize that

mental states and emotional and physical well-being are connected,

hypnosis continues to be used more frequently. Hypnosis can help you

to take back control of your health and your life and once you have

taken back control, then the real fun can start, realizing all the

possibilities available to you, all the directions you can go and

finally realizing that your life is a journey not just a destination.

A journey that you can now control.

Linda Simmon, C.Ht.

Notice: All contents of this article are © Copyright 2003, NewBeginnings.

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About The Author
Linda is a Certified Hypnotherapist; member of the American Hypnosis Association, American Counseling Association, Hypnotherapists Union, AFL CIO, and a Blue Cross Alternative Medicine Practitioner.

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