It is a little known fact that hypnosis is very effective in relieving and controlling pain. In fact, it is so effective that the use of hypnosis to manage pain must be approached with extreme caution.
It is usually unadvisable to treat pain unless the cause of that pain is already known and has been diagnosed by a medical practitioner. Pain is sometimes a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, for example, a persistent headache could be a symptom of a brain tumour. If the hypnotherapist were to treat the headache in this example, before the root cause of the pain was known, then this could well lead to the brain tumour not being diagnosed for longer. However, if the patient had already been to their doctor and more serious causes of the headaches had been eliminated, then it would be fine for the hypnotherapist to proceed.
Pain should never be treated for its own sake, but if the underlying cause is known and your doctor gives permission, hypnosis can be very effective in relieving pain.
In fact, according to the Guardian Newspaper, Doctors are being encouraged to use hypnosis alongside, or even instead of, general anaesthetics during some operations.
Professor David Spiegel, of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Stanford University in the US, has called upon the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to add hypnotherapy to its list of approved therapeutic techniques for the treatment of conditions ranging from allergies and high blood pressure to the pain associated with bone marrow transplantation, cancer treatment and anaesthesia for liver biopsy. (The NICE has already approved the technique for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.)
“It is time for hypnosis to work its way into the mainstream of British medicine… There is solid science behind what sounds like mysticism and we need to get that message across to the bodies that influence this area. Hypnosis has no negative side-effects. It makes operations quicker, as the patient is able to talk to the surgeon as the operation proceeds, and it is cheaper than conventional pain relief. Since it does not interfere with the workings of the body, the patient recovers faster, too.
“It is also extremely powerful as a means of pain relief.”
A hypnotherapist had an 83-minute operation on his arm with no anaesthetic.
At one point, Alex Lenkei even heard the surgeon say: “Can I have the saw, please?”
Because he had put himself into a hypnotic trance, however, he said he felt no pain as the doctors chiselled out a walnut-sized chunk of bone from his wrist.
Mr Lenkei, 61, had the operation to treat his painful osteoarthritis. He said: “The results have been amazing. I feel ace.”
…The hypnotherapist amazed doctors by asking how things were going halfway through the surgery, at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex on Wednesday.
…Surgeon David Llewellyn-Clark said the operation went well and Mr Lenkei showed no reaction during the surgery. He added: “If he had been grinning and bearing it we would have known – but his heart rate and breathing remained constant throughout.
…Mr Lenkei, who is a registered hypnotherapist, has been practising the technique since he was 16. In 1996 he was hypnotised by a colleague before a 30-minute hernia operation.
Anaesthetist Richard Venn said the surgery would usually be carried out under general anaesthetic.
Dr Leon Gevertz, of the British Society of Medical and Dental Hypnosis, said that heart operations had been carried out under hypnosis.
Studies found that the practice relaxes the patient and can alter the perception of pain or increase the pain threshold.