The Huffington Post | By Sarah Klein
Hypnosis can play a very real role in protecting and promoting health. According to the American Psychological Association, hypnosis for health benefits is a clinical procedure used in conjunction with other therapies and treatments and should only be conducted by properly trained and credentialed health care professionals. They should also have been trained in the use of hypnosis and who are working within the limits of their professional expertise.
The concentration and focused attention brought on by hypnosis help use our mind powerfully which has inspired researchers and clinicians to explore the use of hypnosis in a number of health outcomes.
Swiss researchers have found that hypnosis improves sleep and compared to sleep-inducing drugs, hypnosis has no side-effects. The APA also reported that hypnosis helped improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients. Patients even continued to feel better up to six years after the hypnosis treatment ended. Researchers have also found that weekly hypnosis sessions cut hot flashes of postmenopausal women by 74 percent.
Hypnosis is perhaps most-well researched in the context of managing pain. Hypnosis was effective at lowering pain with a number of conditions, including fibromyalgia, arthritis and cancer.
Hypnosis is often employed to relieve anxieties related to other medical procedures, like surgery, scans or even giving birth, called state anxiety.
By Josh Shaffer
Bob Dick, a Chatham County psychologist underwent surgery without the aid of anesthesia but with hypnosis. While anesthesia is widely considered safe, it carries the small risk of stroke, heart attack and death, especially in older adults or those with a serious medical history.
With this in mind, and knowing that anesthesia can mean a longer time in the hospital and in recovery, Dick decided to try the method he’s long employed in his own practice.
As a young psychologist in the early 1970s, he studied for a week in Arizona with Milton Erickson, a psychiatrist who specialized in medical hypnosis. Rather than instructing patients with a direct order, Erickson would offer suggestions, much like Dick’s own: “Now it’s safe to go into a comfortable learning trance” which he used during his own surgery.
Hypnosis is an increasingly common alternative to anesthesia. It was used before on a breast cancer patient, hernia surgery and even throat surgery.
A short session of hypnosis might lead to a better night’s sleep. Women who are receptive to hypnosis spent two-thirds less time awake, and about 80 percent more time in deep sleep compared to those who slept without the hypnotic suggestion.
Jan 24, 2014, 05.10 PM IST
The moment someone says the word ‘hypno’ people think of magic, taking control of others’ mind against their will, and many such myths. But that is what they are: just myths.
Hypnotherapy is actually a science of mind. It is not mystic but scientific. It is basically a form of psychotherapy, which uses the power of the sub-conscious mind to go to the source of problems, challenges and issues and find a solution to them. It also accesses the inner strength of an individual through the subconscious mind, which can really accelerate healing in the physical body. This is where it’s role in the medical domain comes into play.
The surgery life-cycle has three key stages: pre surgery, during surgery and post surgery. Hypnotherapy plays an important role in each of the stages. In the pre surgery stage, clients who go through the hypnotherapy procedure before surgery felt less fearful, anxious and stressful and thus are able to control nausea, blood loss, pain, fatigue, unpleasantness effectively. The hypnosis intervention also reduced use of anesthesia and self-reported pain but also reduced institutional costs for surgery, mainly by reducing time in the operating room. During surgery, hypnotherapy is used as an alternative to anesthesia. Patients also had better and faster recovery. Hypnotherapy also found a very significant role in post surgery. Targeted hypnotic intervention can accelerate postoperative wound healing. It also helped reduce hot flashes in breast cancer survivors, helped reduce anxiety, depressions and improved sleep which contributed to faster recovery.
The various research confirm that hypnotherapy has a very important role to play in all the three stages of the surgical process and can actually and support the medical science in making its healing process more effective and fast.
One of the finer points in the law on evidence is whether a defendant in a criminal case can present hypnotically refreshed testimony as part of his defense.
What is hypnotically refreshed testimony? In layman’s terms, it is testimony on details of an incident that a party or witness is able to recall after undergoing hypnosis under the supervision of an expert.
In the United Sates, the US Supreme Court has categorically ruled on the issue. In Rock vs. Arkansas, 483 U.S. 44 (1987), the petitioner was accused of shooting her husband with a handgun. However, she could not remember whether she actually pulled the trigger or the gun accidentally fired off. She underwent hypnosis and was able to recall that she had her thumb on the hammer of the gun and no finger on the trigger. She also recalled that the gun had discharged when her husband grabbed her arm during the scuffle. Her counsel arranged for a gun expert to examine the handgun. The inspection revealed that the gun was defective and prone to fire, when hit or dropped, without the trigger being pulled.
Due to a rule evidence in Arkansas, the hypnotically refreshed testimony was not admitted. It was then brought to the US Federal Supreme Court where it overruled the Arkansas Supreme Court. It held that a criminal defendant has a constitutional right to testify in his own defense. Despite any unreliability that hypnosis may introduce into the testimony, the procedure has been credited as instrumental in obtaining particular types of information and the hypnotically refreshed testimony was verified by corroborating evidence and traditional means of assessing accuracy and inaccuracies and safeguards.