Clinical hypnosis is a far cry from a guy in a sequined suit getting people to bark like dogs on a stage. While perhaps not as humorous as the entertainment variety of hypnosis, the clinical form has been shown to treat many conditions successfully.
Hypnosis is a state of altered and highly focused attention. It results in relaxation that dissociates the participant from the present. It can allow them to feel temporarily like they are somewhere else or at some other time. Such deep relaxation guides the mind away from the health condition, most often pain of some sort. Professional hypnotists may suggest home techniques that allow users to control their pain. The at-home techniques that hypnotists teach are especially useful, as they can be done in the comfort of your home.
Western science started to look more closely at this therapy after studies compared it to acupuncture and painkillers. Hypnosis was found to reduce pain, and it varied according to what kind of wording the therapist used. In monitoring brain waves, researchers have found that the hypnotic response really did occur in the brain. And that means real physiological changes can occur. The body can respond if the brain responds.
So what is it good for? Hypnosis has proven very useful in controlling anxiety and stress in a wide variety of individuals. That includes patients for whom stress is downright dangerous: hemophiliac patients who have uncontrollable bleeding that can be worsened through stress. Hypnosis is also often used to help people overcome fears, quit smoking, control drug abuse problems, etc.
In the management of disease and pain, hypnosis becomes most useful in situations where painkillers are not appropriate or effective. It is also used in chronic illnesses like cancer and HIV. This treatment, which is relatively safe and side-effect free, has been tried on virtually every pain or illness imaginable. Like the old saying goes, “mind over matter.” Many professional hypnotists believe that the process of hypnosis may at least alleviate the presence of symptoms in a patient, helping them to heal mentally, if not physically. It has been used in irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, burns, terminal illness and even cough.
One thing to note is that not everyone can be hypnotized. It is estimated that about 25% of people cannot enter a state of hypnotization. But, for three-quarters of the population, this therapy remains an option.