By Colin Christopher

For people in chronic pain or who have long-term emotional, mental, or addiction issues, hypnosis may not be the first therapeutic option that springs to mind. As one of the least known treatments, hypnosis is still thought of by many as merely parlour tricks and dismissed by some as quackery when it comes to any potential for actual healing. That perception is slowly changing, as more education gets out and more high profile celebrities use hypnosis for a wide variety of ailments. A recent example was when Princess Kate Middleton used it to overcome a food aversion brought on from dealing with morning sickness during her pregnancy.

Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

During hypnosis, the body is completely relaxed and the mind is calm, yet still active. What a hypnotherapist does is bypass active consciousness and access the subconscious part of the mind. This is where many of our more primal emotions and motivations originate. These urges evolved over thousands of years and most make perfect sense when thought of in terms of ensuring survival. Fear, the urge to eat whenever possible, avoiding pain, etc. are all very reasonable in the context of a more primitive environment. Our society has moved forward much faster than our biology, so some of the primal urges have yet to adapt to our relatively new surroundings. These urges can sometimes get intertwined with feelings of stress, want, or pain and bring about unwanted actions and consequences. A good example can be overeating. Our ancestors evolved to know that food was scarce and they needed to eat as much as they could, whenever they could. Feeling hungry all the time helped to ensure that they took any chance that they got to eat and stay alive. But our landscape has evolved, and now food is no further than the fridge. A quick run to the store is all we need for more, but the primal part of our brain doesn’t know that and keeps telling some people to keep eating.

What a hypnotherapist does is access the subconscious and intelligently realign thought patterns to fit the situation desired. The subconscious mind is responsible for many of our bodily functions and also our beliefs. The two are very connected. Think of the old adage, “laughter is the best medicine.” We’ve probably all had some experience where we were in pain or feeling bad and something pleasant took our mind off of it, making us feel better. Thought patterns and moods actually do release different combinations of chemicals that affect everything from how we feel to how our body functions. The way we process stimulus from our senses can affect how we react and start a chain reaction that will lead us to behave in different ways. When in a hypnotic trance, we are better able to be receptive to directions. The hypnotherapist doesn’t control the patient. You can’t be forced to do something against your will while hypnotized. What does happen is that the therapist fills the patient’s mind with positive images and directions/suggestions for how to bring about the desired outcome.

Image courtesy of sxc.hu

Image courtesy of sxc.hu

As amazing as it sounds, hypnosis can be just as effective as traditional medicine when dealing with pain management, addiction, mental health issues, etc. Our bodies have a built in chemistry that affects how it works. When we take medicine, a chemical reaction takes place and changes how we feel. The same thing happens with hypnosis. If you are in pain, a trained hypnotherapist can get patients to respond to hypnotic suggestions that they release “feel-good” hormones, such as endorphins and serotonin.  We’ve seen examples of exactly this with women using hypnosis during child birth, and surgeries performed without anesthetic.

No medical treatment can claim to be 100% effective, and there are some things that should be left to doctors, but hypnosis is an established and verified science. It has been used to treat a broad spectrum of problems. People have been able to stop smoking, lose weight quicker, improve self-confidence, overcome non-medical sexual dysfunction and even stop or reduce taking some of their pain medicines after being treated with hypnosis. Many people with anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders have been able to leave their neuroses behind them and lead much fuller lives after treatment. When you undergo hypnosis, there is the potential to get to the very root of deep-seated problems and solve them in a very fundamental way.

Colin Christopher is a clinical hypnotherapist certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners.  He is the author of “Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions That Will Make or Break You”.  www.stmbook.com and www.colinchristopher.com