Coming to the end of my hypnotherapy training now and what an eye opener it has been! I am beginning to see how powerfully we are limited by our beliefs. Not just in our behaviours but in our physical ailments..
Hypnotherapy is widely understood to be powerful in treating habits and unwanted behaviours like smoking and overeating. It also has proven use in treating depression and anxiety (something I am very interested in having suffered myself) but the degree to which it can reverse chronic pain is a new area and one which I am currently developing.
I have long used EFT (Emotional Freedom technique) in pain control - the tapping sequence appears to stimulate the amygdala or other deep emotional centres of the brain and allows pain that is pychosomatic in origin (that is it results from the body memory of trauma or some other unresolved emotion like grief or anger) to be reduced/released. This requires a degree of positive intention and focus on the part of the person doing it and is best directed by a skilled practitioner as the feelings that come up can be frightening if done on one's own. I recently had a client who told me she was tapping over her labyrinthitis (technical name for inflammation of the ear canal causing dizziness) and started to shake which scared her so much she stopped. When I explained that animals do this to release trauma and it is, in fact a healthy reaction, she was much relieved. (see Peter Levine's book 'Releasing the Tiger' for more details of this).
But the use of hypnotherapy in this medium is still in it's infancy - it has been used in pain control during dental and operative procedures but in terms of pain reduction/removal in chronic conditions like Fibromyalgia and arthritis its use is not widely known. This is something I would like to change. Indeed, I have just written about the subject in my dissertation for my Higher International Diploma in Naturopathy with the School of Natural Health Sciences (http://www.naturalhealthcourses.com/Reading_Room/index.html).
I have titled it 'Treating chronic pain with hypnotherapy and EFT'.
I have found in the course of my studies and working with clients that much of the pain of these so-called physical diseases has its roots in the emotional responses and can be altered with hypnotherapeutic intervention. When you take someone into hypnosis their critical mind (the monkey mind - the analytical, critical voice inside our heads) is quietened and therefore set aside for a while and we can communicate directly by the larger subconscious mind. This allows us to get to the root of where the negative feelings reside (past memories, physical trauma) and allows us to challenge and rewrite the thoughts and feelings.
By using certain techqniques such as consulting the inner coach and perceptual positions (detailed more completely in my download from the hypnotherapy page of my website www.alchemytherapies.co.uk one can unravel these complex mindbody associations.
This has lead me to develop my theory that most if not all physical disease may have its origins in the subconscious mind. How else to explain the complete remission of cancer in people like Anita Moorjani (see her book 'Dying to be me')? I understand that the subconscious is a metaphor or working model of a complex neurology (there is no true separation of minds in physical terms - it is a process of thinking that differs) and there is much still to learn in this fascinating field. But I am beginning to find such remarkable results from treating physical disease in this way that I am speculating that there is nothing that cannot be cured if you have the right tools to do so. The mindbody interaction may be the key to this process.