There may not be another type of therapy that has been more misrepresented or embellished in popular culture than hypnosis or hypnotherapy. If you think of a person on stage swinging a shiny object and getting people to act like chickens when you hear the word “hypnosis,” you’ve absorbed the pop culture version of what can actually be a very effective method of managing your pain.
The practitioners at Apex Medical Center encourage our patients to explore non-pharmaceutical methods of pain management, including hypnotherapy. We know that you may think it’s corny, but many people find that it brings relief from pain.
There’s no single cure for pain, but through a layered and multi-modality approach, you can find ways to manage your pain and get on with your life. Hypnotherapy, biofeedback, aromatherapy, and acupuncture are just a few of the alternative options we may recommend.
You’re in control
One of the most common misconceptions about hypnotherapy is that your therapist will somehow control you and be able to make you do things that are ridiculous or that you’re not aware of during your session. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Indeed, the goal of hypnotherapy is to teach you techniques that you can use yourself to manage your pain.
Focus, relax, change
A hypnotherapy session generally has three parts. During the first part, your therapist helps you become very focused. You may focus on your breath, for example. This stage helps you calm your mind and let go of extraneous thoughts.
During the second part, you become increasingly relaxed. This stage is sometimes called “deepening.” You may be asked to imagine a specific, relaxing place and describe it in specific detail, including what you see, how you feel, and so on.
The third part of your session involves changing how you perceive your pain. As you imagine a relaxing place, you still feel pain, but because you’re so relaxed, it’s not so distressing.
The idea behind hypnotherapy is to provide you with a tool that can help you focus on something besides your pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation, some 75% of people who have arthritis or a related disease and try hypnotherapy find significant pain relief.
It takes practice
Like so many therapies, you probably won’t find pain relief immediately upon completing your first hypnotherapy session. Most people need anywhere from 4 to 10 sessions. You should also practice at home, in between sessions. The idea is to learn how to use hypnosis to minimize pain when it occurs.
If you’d like to learn more about hypnotherapy and talk to one of our experts about if or how it could be part of your pain management treatment approach, schedule an appointment at one of our three convenient locations today.