Hypnosis and Pain Control
Hypnosis can be helpful in controlling chronic pain, pain that never completely disappears. Chronic pain can be the result of a medical condition, or it can be caused by physical damage, perhaps from an accident. Pain can take an emotional and physical toll on you; it can cause stress that, in turn, amplifies the pain.
Anxiety and worry often accompany medical conditions that cause pain. You may fear a yet-unknown illness, or you may fear a recent diagnosis. The moment you become aware of the pain, you focus on it. As long as your focus remains on the pain, you are not focused on wellness.
Before designing a self-hypnotic pain control program for yourself, you need to have a complete understanding of the reason for the pain. Discuss the pain with your doctor and work with her to develop your wellness model. Your doctor may not be familiar with how hypnosis works, and you may need to furnish her with information about the benefits of self-hypnosis.
There are several techniques that use self-hypnosis for pain control; these include diminishing the pain, dissociation from the pain, and transference of the pain. You can also develop an image of the pain and build a positive model to push through it.
What is pain amnesia?
Focusing on pain keeps it in your mind constantly. If you acknowledge that there is pain and then turn your focus to something positive, it is possible to forget the pain for a period of time. Pain amnesia moves the awareness of pain to your unconscious mind, so your conscious is not aware of it.
The Dimmer Switch Technique
The dimmer switch technique gradually turns down the intensity of the pain. You can use a knob or a slider control, whichever works best for you. This induction will use a dimmer scale from ten to one, but you can change the count, making your own adjustments.
Find a comfortable place, loosen your clothes, take a deep breath, and exhale. Take a couple more deep breaths, exhaling in between, and then take a deep breath and hold it for a few moments before exhaling. Let your eyes go out of focus, and when you're ready, close them. You may be aware that you are beginning to relax your muscles. Some of your muscles may tighten from time to time, and when they do, you may relax them and go deeper and deeper into self-hypnosis.
Now imagine your dimmer switch. Picture it, if you can, and feel your fingers ready to control it. Set the dial on ten. In a few moments you may start counting slowly backward, from ten to one. Before you begin to count, focus on the dial, and feel your fingers ready to turn it down one click each time you say a number. If you are ready, begin.
When you count yourself down, allow plenty of time at each number. Continually suggest to yourself that you are going deeper and deeper, and that the pain is getting dimmer and dimmer with each movement of the control. Repeating the suggestions helps to reinforce them in the unconscious mind.
Ten: you feel your fingers on the knob, and you feel the pain as you breathe in and out, relaxing more and more with each breath. Nine: repeat to yourself that you are relaxing and going deeper into hypnosis every time you turn down your pain control. Anticipate each number as you count down to one, and as you turn down the pain control switch on each count, the pain becomes dimmer and dimmer, just as lights get dimmer when you slowly turned them down.
When you reach one, suggest to yourself that the pain will be completely diminished. If you are going to sleep, suggest that you will sleep, calm and relaxed. If you are doing something active, suggest that you will go about your activity calmly, relaxed, and with the pain diminished.
The Pain Dissociation Technique
Pain dissociation techniques may work well if you are confined to bed or immobile. They can also be used before going to sleep or during a longer self-hypnotic trance. In pain dissociation, you use self-hypnosis to escape pain by mentally leaving your body.
You may use any destination for this purpose: a favorite remembered place, an imagined place, a place up in the clouds, or a place deep inside yourself. You can use the mind model you have created of your five senses to locate the best place for you.
Find a comfortable place, loosen your clothing, take a deep breath, exhale, and let your eyes go out of focus. Suggest to yourself that when you reach zero, you will be in your favorite place, and you will feel its positive healing energy with all five senses. You may be aware of the muscles in your body: some are stiff and some are relaxed. Each time you feel a muscle relax, you will go deeper and deeper into self-hypnosis. When you're ready, slowly count yourself backward from ten to zero.
As you count down, suggest to yourself that you will relax more and more, and go deeper and deeper into hypnosis with each number. Also suggest that when you reach zero, you will be in your favorite place, experiencing its healing energy with all five senses. Think of a healing smell as you breathe in and out, allowing it to become stronger and stronger with each count. Take your time, and feel yourself going deeper and deeper into hypnosis with each count.
When you reach zero, you can suggest that you may fall asleep in your special place, far away from pain, or you can spend as long as you want there, free of pain. Suggest to yourself that you can visit this place anytime you want by giving yourself a special word, phrase, or touch as an anchor. You may also suggest that when you come back to consciousness, you will continue to be free of pain. When you are ready to come back, you can count yourself upward, or you can slowly drift back to the surface of your mind.
If you experience migraine headaches, you can use heat transference through self-hypnosis to move the heat you feel in your head just before the headache begins. If you can cool down your head and send the heat to your fingers, you can avoid the headache. When the heat reaches the ends of your fingers, you can send it out into space.
The Pain Transference Technique
Pain transference techniques can help move a pain from one part of your body to another. Headaches, for example, can be addressed by this method. From a comfortable position, do your relaxation exercise, counting down from five to zero. Suggest to yourself that you will go deeper and deeper into self-hypnosis with each number.
Tell yourself that when you get to zero, you will focus on your pain, and you will move it to one of your little fingers. When you transfer the pain, its original location will feel normal and healthy. You will send all the pain to your little finger. Once all the pain is in your little finger, suggest that when you wiggle your little finger, the pain will float off into the air.