Searing, scalding, boiling, stabbing, dull, sharp, electric, throbbing, pulsating, red, heavy, larger than the universe….


Back Pain


And if we are talking chronic pain it feels so relentless you think you’ll never get away from it. If you are a sufferer you know exactly what I am saying.

Whether you suffer because of cancer, psoriasis, frozen shoulder, complex regional pain syndrome, slipped disc, migraine, arthritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, pain following surgery doesn’t really matter where it stems from, it is pain!

However you may be able to do more about it than you realise. Research has shown hypnosis to be significantly more effective than non hypnotic techniques for reducing  discomfort, axiety and distress during painful medical procedures compared to nonhypnotic techniques .

I was honoured very recently to give a talk at a self-management pain group here in Aberdeen. Many of them knew much more mind mastery than I ever will such was there determination to make the most of their lot and grab as much quality of life as possible.

There are two main categories of pain. Acute pain can be very intense but is only temporary and will end – like banging your elbow or knee – it passes quickly and you can bear it.

Imagine, however, what it would be like if you believed that the intense pain from that stubbed toe was never going to go away – or that it would sometimes go away and then always keep coming back, maybe even worse, for the rest of your life. You would then be experiencing ‘chronic pain’. That’s what these guys were dealing with.

mental-painObviously your psychological attitudes, beliefs, expectations and wellbeing all have direct effects on the way you experience pain. Depression, anxiety, boredom and relaxation all influence the intensity of physical pain. The mind and body influence one another and as I hope you are already learning hypnosis can be used to influence both the psychological reference to the pain and physical experience of it. But as I was saying these guys were already 10 steps ahead by the simple fact they were there. So I decided I could best serve by talking about hypnosis, self-hypnosis.

Many people think there is a difference between hypnosis guided by someone else and self-hypnosis. Experts agree, however, that all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis. Someone like me may help you guide or develop the trance, but you are always in control. It is your hypnosis. So we spoke about hypnosis for pain management. You see there was something I already knew something that they didn’t.

They were already experts at hypnosis

This is because anyone who has ever suffered from pain will agree that it has an uncanny way of getting your attention and you see that’s what hypnosis is all about too – shifting attention and focus.

Try it, close your eyes for a second and just become aware of where are you experiencing less comfort at the moment? How would you rate that discomfort 0-10 with 0 the best and 10 the worst? Just make a mental note of that. Let’s see if we can get a little more comfortable –

Sitting comfortably bring your shoulders up to your ears, take them around and back, allowing your arms to rotate outwards from the shoulder joints so that the palms of your hands face the ceiling as you create a space between your arms and the sides of your body …


Relaxation – learn self-hypnosis

Now let your shoulder blades slide down towards your bottom…
Lengthen the back of your neck, allow your body to sway a little to find that balance…
Now let your bottom go…
I mean it, release your anal sphincter, softening the abdominal area… bringing a heaviness to your lower body…
Close your eyes… release your jaw… your facial muscles… and focus on a point between your eyebrows…
Now breathe deep into your belly…
As you breathe deep into your belly so your body naturally relaxes…
Your whole body naturally relaxes…

Now wherever you felt yourself to be experiencing that discomfort just breathe into that area. Don’t try to change or alter anything just breathe into the area for a minute or two. Rate again and open your eyes.



You see hypnosis is excellent for producing analgesia and anaesthesia. ‘Analgesia’ is the absence of pain, whereas ‘anaesthesia’ means absence of any sensation at all. Hypnosis is used as a supplement to chemical analgesics for painful conditions such as burns, cancer, obstetrics, migraine, dental extractions and other forms of surgery. In some cases, those where the subject is highly hypnotisable, it can be the sole anaesthetic, whereas as a supplement it can be a benefit to even moderately hypnotisable subjects and clinical evidence supports that hypnosis can be helpful in reducing pain in the majority of cases


Self-Hypnosis for Pain

So I continued to walk through the Steps for Self-Hypnosis and give some basic facts about the amazing tool we refer to as the subconscious mind (and not a lot of people know that). For more on the subconscious mind. They paired up and took the metaphors used to describe their pain and used them to create their own posthypnotic cues or suggestions to slot into the self-hypnosis. For example, ‘a stabbing pain’ can be ‘cushioned’ or buffered, a ‘burning pain’ can be ‘cooled’ and the pulse of ‘a pulsating pain’ can be slowed and eventually stopped altogether. A red pain can be painted white, a large pain made smaller – “shrinking and shrinking”, and so on thereby adjusting the level of comfort. The next step is to simply tell yourself during the hypnosis that the next time you are feeling uncomfortable you will…. For more on self-hypnosis

In my opinion as you probably already realise self-hypnosis is the best thing since sliced bread – use it as self-help. It is of course not the only way hypnosis can help. A client of mine, Sally, had multiple issues due to the stresses and anxiety she faces daily which manifested physically as pain which in turn led to more stress. We handled it by working through how to deal with present moment emotions as well as letting go of issues from the past. I guided her through that. Learning how to deal with certain issues allowed Sally to control her stress levels and live quality of life free of unnecessary pain or discomfort.

For more on Hypnosis and pain – …. Coming soon….

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