We’ve all heard about hypnosis used to treat smoking, weight-loss, and addictions. I’m sure you’ve known someone who was depressed or anxious and had seen a hypnotist. You probably have been in the audience of a public speaker who has seen a hypnotist to alleviate performance anxiety. But there are many things hypnosis treats that you didn’t know it could. Here are five issues that you never knew I could help you with.
1. Memory Retention
Memory is an elusive thing. Scientists are still trying to wrap their brains around what memory exactly is, where it’s stored, and how/why we retrieve it. This much we do know: memories are created only when emotions are strong. Think about it, you don’t remember a phone number as well as you remember your first kiss because your first kiss was an emotional experience.
Once stored, the memory is placed in parts of the brain that are not frequently accessed; some call it subconscious, I call it the ‘reptilian brain.’ It is only when the thought, feeling, or sensation is in our conscious mind that we can tap it and recall it.
Hypnosis bridges the subconscious with the conscious, the emotional with the thinking, and the passive with the active. So memories are easily accessible using the hypnotic induction, but my philosophy has always been, “Why stop there?” A memory is stored for a reason, and if it brings you pain in any way, shape, or form let’s take care of that too. It always amazes me when people come to remember a locker combination or where they put their mother’s ring when I could also help them live a happier and healthier life!
2. Pain Management
Pain is a matter of perception more than reality, and hypnosis is a master of perception over reality.
When people come to me with chronic back pain, post-surgical pain, headaches, or any other type of chronic pain, I always tell them first and foremost that their physical pain is like any other pain (emotional, psychological, spiritual, etc.). It is only as real as the mind will let it be.
Under hypnotic treatment, I retrain the person’s mind to ignore the painful nervous stimuli and land their thoughts elsewhere.
If it sounds like voodoo magic, please read about this wonderful study done in 1999 at Dartmouth about hypnosis used for pain management.
The link is: http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/1999F/Hypnotism.pdf
3. Bruxism (“Jaw Clenching”)
Bruxism has two roots: a physical one and a psychological one. If a person is suffering from TMJ (‘temporomandibular joint disorder’), they will often have an accompanying symptom of bruxism, or unconscious jaw clenching and facial tension.
Also, if a person is suffering from anxiety, they will also clench their jaw, especially while sleeping. Bruxism damages the teeth, worsens TMJ, leaves facial muscles sore, and leads to poor sleeping habits.
What I do to help people with bruxism is first differentiate between what is physically sourced and what is psychologically sourced. Once I’ve consulted with your orthodontist and he/she and I are coordinated, I will determine what is psychological and treat bruxism the same way I would treat anxiety, depression, or whatever other condition your condition suggests.
4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a gastrointestinal disorder that is characterized by abdominal pain and changes in bowel functioning like diarrhea and constipation. About 10-15% of people in the United States suffer from IBS, most of them being women.
While recent developments in traditional medication have been created for IBS treatment, they can lead to dependency and aren’t always effective for everyone.
Of the psychological treatments for the disorder, hypnosis has shown the highest success rate in replicated studies at 80% or more of the treated patients improving and improvement commonly lasting for at least a couple of years.
The statistics are available here: http://www.ibshypnosis.com/IBSresearch.html
Despite being the most powerful act to witness, childbirth can often be the most painful for the mother. Some women have trouble with administering themselves painkillers or anesthesia because of possible side effects.
For those naturalists who want to make the moments of labor and childbirth an organic experience through and through, they call on hypnosis. For mothers in labor, hypnosis has an auxiliary effect of relaxation in addition to pain management. I do offer on-call special treatment to expecting mothers who are giving birth in a Manhattan hospital (provided I’m not in session).