HYPNOSIS FOR PHYSICAL PROBLEMS

Sometimes people call asking if hypnosis can be used for a physical problems. My answer is always the same - “sometimes”. I tell prospective clients to see their general practitioner who will diagnose and perhaps refer them on to a specialist. Hypnotherapists are rarely medical doctors and should not be the first way to deal with a health problem. However, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool in the tool box in dealing with a medical issue.

As I have mentioned before on other blog posts, I always start with a free consultation so people can understand the process and spend some time to be with me and get their questions answered. It is also a time for me to make sure that what they want from their session is an appropriate use for hypnosis.

Hypnotherapy is not a magic wand. I often tell clients that I can’t make them fly by flapping their arms no matter how much hypnosis is done. It can be a great tool in dealing with medical issues. It can be used for everything from treating chronic pain like arthritis to acute pain experienced in childbirth. You can find a whole article on medical hypnosis in another post on this blog if you are interested.

Sometimes a client presents with a medical issue I have not worked with before. Recently, a woman came to me after being diagnosed with cervical dystonia, a painful condition in which the neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing the head to twist or turn to one side. She had had multiple treatments and was still in pain and uncomfortable.

I explained that if she wanted to proceed, we would do one session. The least she could expect was a nice, relaxing session with similar results to a massage. She chose to do one session. Here is the e-mail I received yesterday:

“Dear Dr. Johnson,

I wanted to touch base with you regarding my neck and the session I had with you.

It absolutely did make a difference. I am 75% improved. I can drive, turn my head,

relax easier. I have used the tape twice now. (Note: In actuality, my clients record

on their cell phone) You were right, with each session I am more relaxed. I will

continue to use it and am hopeful I can stay where I am physically. I am eager to

share my experience with you with my neurologist. I will keep you posted.”

Notice she did not say she was 100% cured. She had improvement which was exciting for her.

Notice she was going back to her neurologist. This is important. Hypnotherapy is an an adjunct

therapy to the medical care of her physicians.

If you are having a health or physical problem, ask your doctor if hypnotherapy might be another

tool in your tool box.

SECOND-HAND SMOKE AND THE BRAIN

If you or someone you love have been exposed to second-hand smoke, you need to be concerned about the health risks associated with that exposure. If you share your home or your life with a smoker, please have them read this to learn how secondhand smoke can affect the people they love. If they are ready to stop smoking and eliminate the risk for those they love, hypnosis can help.

Exposing others to the risks of heart disease, stroke and brain damage are three important factors to consider in making the decision to become a healthy nonsmoker.

David J. Llewellyn, PhD, a research associate with the department of public health and primary care at the University of Cambridge, England, theorizes that second-hand smoke damages the brain as well as raises the risk for heart disease and stroke based on a study of 4,809 nonsmoking adults.

The study showed that the participants with the highest levels of nicotine by-product, cotinine, were 44% more likely to show memory problems and other cognitive impairment than those with the lowest levels..

If you have not chosen to stop smoking for yourself, perhaps you will decide the risk of second-hand smoke to your loved ones including young children is important enough to stop exposing them to toxins which could affect their health. If you want to stop, hypnosis can help you protect those you love and be a healthy nonsmoker.

SECOND-HAND SMOKE AND CHILDREN

If you have been concerned about how second-hand smoke could affect your children’s health, you have a legitimate reason for that concern. Hypnotherapy can help you stop smoking and no longer worry about exposing your children to the dangers of second-hand smoke.

You may have seen the news about the possibility of laws to make it illegal to smoke in a car which is carrying young children. Some smokers believe this would infringe on the personal rights of the smoker to make choices about one’s behavior on one’s own property and consider this a civil rights issue.

The fact is that if an adult smokes in a car with a young child, that child is also smoking. Poisons from the cigarette include carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and benzene. When a child ingests these poisons through second-hand smoke, the smoke may trigger lower respiratory tract infections, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, decreased lung function and recurrent ear infections.

Allen Eskenazi, M.D., Director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at University of Maryland Medical Center has reported that second-hand smoke is responsible for 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections each year in infants under 18 months. In addition, each year second-hand smoke is responsible for 16,000 new cases of asthma.

Your child deserves clean air and a chance at a healthy life. So do not smoke within the airspace of children. Choose the non-smoking section permanently. Better yet, become a healthy non-smoker so you no longer have to worry or feel guilty for exposing your children to the poisons in cigarettes.

If you are ready to stop smoking and if you do not want to use prescription medications with their side effects, hypnosis can be a valuable tool. Become a healthy non-smoker and you and your children can BE WELL.

HYPNOSIS FOR IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) as been described as “a panic attack of the bowels.” If you have been diagnosed with IBS or told you have colitis, spastic colon or even a “nervous stomach”, you are likely aware how much the syndrome can affect your life.

Unfortunately, IBS affects 15% to 20% of the population. In fact, one in three women suffer from Irritable Bpwel Syndrome symptoms, And these symptoms can very negatively affect a sufferer’s life. Chronic pain, uncontrolled diarrhea, fecal incontinence and dehydration can severely limit a person’s activities. In fact, it is the second most commonly cited reason for missed work days.

The first step in addressing these issues is to see your physician for a conventional medical diagnosis. It is likely if an IBS diagnosis is given that the doctor will prescribe daily medications including prednisone. But researchers have found that IBS only responds to conventional medical treatment 25% of the time.

For those still suffering, hypnosis can be a valuable tool to relieve or even free the patient from symptoms. Hypnotherapy is to be used as an adjunct therapy in conjunction with your physician(s) and is not a replacement for conventional medical diagnosis and treatment. But hypnosis can help alleviate IBS symptoms or even help a sufferer become symptom free and BE WELL>

HYPNOSIS CAN HELP LOWER RISK FOR PREMATURE DEATH

If you want to have the best chance at a long, full healthy life, make positive lifestyle choices. That is the result of a study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study followed 4,886 adults for twenty years. Habits identified as unhealthy included smoking, alcohol consumption of three or more drinks per day for men and two or more for women, less than two hours of exercise per week and averaging less than three daily servings of vegetables and fruits. Hypnosis can help you make those changes.

The statistics are clear. During the twenty years, 1,080 of the participants in the study died. Those who scored poorly on all four standards and were identified as having the worst health habits compromised 29% of those who died. By contrast only eight percent of the 1,080 died from the category which had none of the four unhealthy standards.

The chances of dying earlier were greater in every category for people with the unhealthy habits. The risk was 10% greater because of poor diet, 18% from excessive alcohol consumption and 43% higher for both physical inactivity and smoking.

The researchers indicated that the study did not try to assess whether changing a poor lifestyle behavior would also change people’s risk for dying prematurely. They did conclude that the more unhealthy behaviors in which a person engages, the greater the risk for premature death.

If you are ready to lower your risk for premature death by changing poor lifestyle behavior, hypnosis can help you make the changes. Whether it’s quitting smoking, lowering alcohol consumption, exercising more or eating healthier, hypnosis can be a valuable tool to make those changes, lower your risk for premature death and BE WELL.

HYPNOSIS TO HELP YOU GAIN WEIGHT

Did you know that being underweight can be as dangerous as being overweight. Joel Ray, MD, associate professor at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, reported on a study comparing adults with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5 with those of a normal BMI and those considered obese. The study did not include people who had chronic or terminal illness. If you are underweight, hypnotherapy can help you reach a reasonable, healthy goal weight.

A normal body mass index is between 18.5 and 24.9 Dr. Ray reported that people in the obese BMI range of 30 or above had a risk of dying that was 1.2 times higher than for those with a normal BMI while those who had a BMI of less than 18.5 were 1.8 times more likely to dies than those with a normal body mass index. In other words, being underweight carries more risk than being obese.

You can check your BMI by logging in to www.NHLBI.NIH.gov and search for the “BMI Calculator.” If you are either overweight or underweight, hypnosis can be a valuable tool to help your body have a reasonable amount of muscle mass and fat. Check your BMI and remember hypnosis can help you BE WELL.

AGING FROM SMOKING? STOP SMOKING WITH HYPNOSIS

Have you ever heard the term “smoker’s face”? Even if you have not, did you immediately get an idea of what the term means? Almost everyone knows someone who has smoked for years and has not aged well. Time to stop smoking? Hypnosis helps.

The combination of smoke damage and the component chemicals in cigarettes damages skin in several ways. These chemicals reduce the body’s ability to create collagen. As collagen, the skin’s main structural component, decreases, elastin, the long smooth fibers in the skin thicken and break apart. This can cause heavily wrinkled skin. When the elastin breaks apart it cuts estrogen levels in women, causing cracking and skin dryness which interferes with the skin’s ability to protect itself from oxidation.

Researchers have found that female smokers between the ages of 40 and 70 were three times as likely to have moderate to severe wrinkling as nonsmokers. Plastic surgeons verify this research in their practices reporting on more dramatic wrinkling in smokers than in nonsmokers.

In my own practice, I see a fair number of clients referred by plastic surgeons to stop smoking before having a face lift, tummy tuck or eye brow lift, Smoking increases the complication of all surgeries and since cosmetic surgery is elective, some surgeons ask this commitment before a surgical procedure.

If you are aging before your time or planning to have surgery, i may be tme to stop smoking. If you need a strong, non-invasive tool to help you become a nonsmoker, hypnotherapy helps.

TRANCE STATE AND HYPNOSIS

Many new clients that I see are very curious about hypnosis and particularly ask about the trance state - what it is and how it is experienced. Sometimes clients believe that when they are hypnotized, they will be unconscious. In actuality, people experience trance-like states all the time. When they go to a movie and get so involved with what is happening on the screen that they are no longer aware that they are in the theater, they are in a trance state.

I found that state while reading. Sometimes I can get so involved in a good book, I don’t hear someone speak or the phone ring.

Listening to music, attending a lecture, playing video games, working or playing on the computer can all trigger that “daydreamy” state of mind we call trance. A classic trance state that many people have experienced is when they are driving. “Oh, yeah. I found myself at a traffic light and didn’t remember driving the last couple of miles”, said one client. There is even the term “road hypnosis” to describe he trance state experienced by those who have driven hour after hour on interstate highways.

The only difference between those trance states and hypnosis is the way it is induced. It doesn’t make any difference whether it is induced by the extreme focus of a video game or book, the boredom of a long stretch of highway or a hypnotherapist’s induction. All can lead to trance.

Characteristics of hypnotic trance include: inner awareness, a context-free and literal understanding of words and phrases, an involvement in imagine events that can be vivid and realistic and the editing out of restrictions to abilities and responses imposed by the unconscious. A good hypnotherapy session is designed to use these characteristics of trance to full advantage.

Sometimes clients in traditional therapy are distracted and unable to focus their attention on critical issues because of defensiveness. They may spend much time consciously or unconsciously protecting their current perceptions and maintaining their commitment to the status quo.

Hypnotherapy allows the mind to go into trance state where the attention is more highly focused, In this state, that attention can focus on sensations, images or thoughts that might be ignored or denied during regular therapy. In the trance state, situations and evens can be merely observed, like an audience at the movies, rather than altered or censored.

Some real advantages occur in using hypnosis to change attitudes and states of mind. In trance, clients, can experience imagined events in very clear, realistic ways while being very relaxed. In this way, they can accept changes in belief and learning performance as if the situation had really happened. Clients will often comfortably accept statements from their hypnotherapist which might have been rejected in other therapies.

You can learn about and experience a trance state that will allow you to make real and positive changes in your life by making an appointment with a hypnotherapist. Hypnosis can help you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to BE WELL.

HYPNOSIS FOR A BETTER SEX LIFE

     You may not have thought about hypnosis for improving your sex life. But clients come to see me with a variety of issues around this important aspect of their lives.  Some are dealing with physiological issues such as premature ejaculation, impotence, a lowered sex drive or inability to reach orgasm.  Others feel emotionally disconnected from their partners and no longer desire intimacy.  And many have a lifestyle that is so busy and demanding, that sex has long been put on the back burner.  If your sex life is not what you would like it to be, hypnosis can be a great tool to revive it.

    If you have a physical issue such as erectile dysfunction or lowered sex drive, don't give up.  Go to your family physician who will examine you and may give you medication or refer you to a clinic. Your physician may tell you that there seems to be no physical reason for your problem.  In that case, hypnosis may be valuable to help improve your sex life.

    Sometimes the relationship between partners becomes a battle ground.  Often, the disharmony and anger carry over into the bedroom and sex is not good or disappears completely. A marriage counselor will work on the relationship. But improving your sex life can be a part of that.  The sex act itself can produce emotional intimacy which in turn improves the relationship.  If emphasis in hypnosis is on pleasing your partner that intimacy can return quickly.

    Sexual addiction is another area of sexuality that can destroy a relationship. Some mental health professionals do not believe that sexual addiction exists.  They believe that it is actually some other emotional or psychological issue such as bipolar disorder or anxiety.  But The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity talks to people every day who describe their out of control sexuality as destroying relationships and causing deep problems in their lives.

    Their are specialists in sex and marriage therapy.  To find a sex therapist contact the American Association of Sex Education, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) at 319-895-407 or the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) at 202-452-0109. 

   Hypnosis can be an adjunct therapy to working with a medical doctor, marriage counselor or sex therapist.  It can help you make the positive changes you need for a better sex life. 

EXERCISE HELPS PREVENT ALZHEIMER'S

    Are you fearful of developing Alzheimer's?  If you are trying to figure out what you can do to prevent dementia.  Another study reinforces the need to get moving.  If you need help, hypnosis can be a valuable tool.

   You may not have had genetic testing.  But genes are one of the many risk factors for dementia.  A gene called APOE epsilon4 allele (e4 gene) which is present in approximately ten to fifteen percent of people can influence your risk for late-onset Alzheimer's.  Stephen Rao, Phd, professor and director of Schey Center for Cognitive Neuromanaging at the Cleveland Clinic was leader of a study of 97 people with the e4 gene which was published in FRONTIERS IN AGING NEUROSCIENCE.

    The 18 month study found that the brain scans of people with the e4 gene who exercised moderately a few times a week had far less shrinkage in the hippocampus, an indicator of Alzheimers, than those the gene who were not physically active. 

    So once again, we find it's time to get up and move.  If you need help to start moving and protect your brain from shrinking, hypnosis can help. 

 

     

IMPROVING ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE WITH HYPNOSIS

     A sport psychologist for a U.S Olympic team once noted that 80 to 90 percent of an Olympic athlete's performance is in the mind.  In the 1960's in East Germany, Olympic trainers were working with athletes using hypnosis.  Today, hypnotherapists work with trainers and sports psychologists at the college and professional levels as well as Olympic athletes.  Using your mind to improve physical performance can be of real value to you.  And hypnosis is a great way of using your mind.

     An issue for which clients come to see me is improving athletic performance.  I have seen people who are professionals wanting to improve their performance in everything from football to golf.  Students come to see me hoping to release fears about getting hit by a ball or a tackle or improving their skills enough for a scholarship. I have worked with Olympic hopefuls in diving,swimming and gymnastics.  All recognize that hypnosis can be a great tool to improve their skills in their chosen sport.

     There are a number of different ways that hypnosis can improve athletic performance.  Using visualization is a key part of such improvement.  Back in 1984, Mary Lou Retton competed in the Olympics.  She described her nighttime ritual of visualizing her routines, "I see myself hitting all my routines, doing everything perfectly.  I imagine all the moves and go through them with the image in my mind."  She did just that in competition.  Note that the hypnotherapist does not need to know a great deal about your sport, you will give her a description and many of the words that will be used in your session.

     Thomas Tutko and Umberto Tosi in their book, SPORTS PSYCHING, talked of using visualization which they called "Mental Rehearsal".  In this rehearsal, you picture your goal clearly, going through a routine, shot or stroke in exactly the same pattern as you hope to it in competition. In this mind rehearsal, every movement is clear and positive.  These mental rehearsals improve neuro-muscular coordination and emotional confidence and affirmation.

     Using visualization can heighten your awareness of each movement and improve your technique.  It can improve your coordination, concentration and agility.  As these improve, it will also increase your enjoyment of your chosen sport as it eases the pressure of competition while increasing competitiveness.

     Eliminating fears, anxieties and other obstacles which can hold you back from your best athletic performance is another way to use hypnotherapy.  Over the years, I have seen many clients who had an actual physical fear of their sport.  Little-leaguers afraid of being hit by a ball, gymnasts afraid of falling off "the" horse or equestrians afraid of falling off "a" horse are some of those issues.  

     There are other fears that may stand in the way of peak athletic performance.  Sometimes the fear is of failing.  Some of the children I see have been competing in their sports for much of their life.  They know the many hours and much money that has been invested n getting them to the competition and the pressure and fear of failing can be enormous. Many professional athletes have a small window of time to play at their peak performance and financial pressures can elevate their fear of failure.

    Sometimes the fear is of moving up to the next level and fear of a stronger, more powerful competition is causing problems for the athlete.  Hypnosis can be used to eliminate those obstacles and allow the athlete o compete and enjoy their sport without fear.

     Other emotional issues can also be addressed when they are affecting athletic performance.  Besides the fear mentioned above, anger and resentment can affect all areas of life including sports.  Some children and adults feel pressure from parents or coaches and respond with distraction, lack of self-confidence or inappropriate aggressiveness.  Releasing these negative emotions allows room to overcome fears and pressures and to develop a winning attitude.

     Occasionally a client will call because they are experiencing a slump.  Golfers talk about "losing their game".  Baseball players lose the ability to play automatically which interferes with their ability to pitch or hit the ball as they had in the past.  These issues can be addressed by regressing and reconnecting back to a time when they were pitching or hitting successfully.

     Almost always as part of the hypnosis session, I will have the client picture and imagine their perfect game or meet.  Using very positive words and suggestions, I have the client go through the competition in their mind "moving Perfectly, in exactly the right way".   Using the terminology of their sport, I lead them through the competition with their body, strong yet relaxed, their mind clear and focused, playing the game with strength and power.  as Bob Reese, a one-time New York Jets trainer, once commented, "There is no guarantee that if you create  vision it will happen.  There is a guarantee that if you don't have the vision, it will never happen."  Hypnotherapy is a way of creating that vision.

     Some people may think, "I can't use hypnosis for sports performance because I don't play baseball or compete in gymnastics."  But hypnosis works in much the same way for other competitions at all levels from professional to new amateurs.  Whether you are on a bowling team, go to the golf course or firing range, lift weights or play indoor games like chess, bridge or Scrabble, you may be amazed at the results of a hypnosis session to improve your performance.

LOSE WEIGHT WITH HYPNOSIS AND REDUCE CANCER RISK

     When I do a clinical interview with a weight loss client, I always ask about the client's motivation to lose the weight.  I hear lots of reasons that range from self-esteem to wearing all those clothes hanging up in the closet that don't fit.  Some clients will also mention health risks for heart disease or diabetes.  A less well-known risk for being overweight or obese is cancer.

     Melina Arnold, PhD and scientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon France has reported on a review of health data of almost 74,000 postmenopausal women which found that every decade in which people were overweight or obese drove up the risk of being diagnosed with certain cancers by as much as 37%  Among the risks were breast, kidney and colon cancer.  The strongest risk was for endometrial cancer.

    Arnold suggests that reasons for risk of cancer after being overweight or obese for decades include chronic inflammation, hormone metabolism which can elevate the risk for certain cancers and oxidative DNA damage.  If you or a loved one have been overweight for decades, it's time to lose the weight and reduce further cancer risk.

    So what can you do to finally lose the weight?  First of all, see your physician.  Make sure you are not fighting a medical issue which keeps you from losing weight or even causes you to gain weight. Once those risks have been eliminated it's time to create your plan for losing weight.

     Research has found that people who have a plan or a particular program do better than those who simply decide to "watch their weight".  So research weight loss programs which may include weight-loss books, nutrition books, gym and personal training programs, prepared food providers, diet and weight loss clubs or one-on-one nutrition and diet counseling.  

    Once you have created a plan for how you choose to lose the weight, get a boost from hypnosis.  A hypnotherapist can help you set goals on eating, exercise and staying motivated to follow your plan.  Hypnosis can be a valuable tool to lose weight and reduce your cancer risk. 

    

USE HYPNOSIS TO QUIT DRINKING DIET SODA

        If you have followed this blog for a while, you may  have seen my updates on the problems with drinking diet soda.  Many of my clients tell me similar stories of being concerned about weight gain. With the best of intentions, they shifted from regular soft drinks to diet sodas to eliminate calories.  But in many cases, they actually gained weight.  Hypnosis is a great tool to help those wanting to quit drinking diet soda.

     It seems so unfair.  You trade from regular to diet soft drinks in attempt to lose or at least control weight gain.  But the exact opposite happens.  Sharon Fowler, MPH, obesity researcher at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, reported on a nine year study of almost 500 adults over the age of 64 and found that daily diet soda drinkers had much larger increases in waist circumference than those who did not drink diet soft drinks.  In fact there was a threefold increase in the circumference of the waist of diet soda drinkers.

    Beyond the cosmetic results from diet soda drinking, there is a health risk.  Since artificial sweeteners can interfere with glucose metabolism, it increases the risk for stroke, diabetes and heart disease.  If you have been thinking about reducing the risk of these health issues and want to keep your belly flat and your waist trim, it's time to stop.  If you need some help, hypnosis can help you stop drinking diet soda and BE WELL.  

MAJOR ILLNESSES LINKED TO SMOKING. QUIT WITH HYPNOSIS

     A report published in JAMA INTERNAL MEDICINE by researchers at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, was an analysis of data from 2006 through 2012 on data from two national health surveys.  The analysis showed the huge toll of smoking on smokers' health.  At the time of the report, smoking was linked to 14 million cases of major illness in the United States.  The report concluded that for each death caused by smoking in the U.S. at that time, fifteen to twenty people were suffering with a major disease caused by their smoking habit.

   I once had a close friend justify her smoking habit with the comment, "Everyone has to die of something".  Well, she died of lung cancer that spread to her brain.  Major diseases like cancer and heart disease are often side-effects of smoking.  If you have been thinking about quitting smoking, don't wait until you have a bad diagnosis. 

    Recently a message was left on my voice mail, I'd like to share with you."Hi, Jennifer,  This is Elizabeth _____, Today is the first anniversary of quitting smoking with your help.  Thanks to you, I'll never smoke another cigarette.  I feel so much better.  My life is better.  My grandkids get to keep me.  Thank you so much."  Don't wait for a major illness to quit smoking.  Hypnosis can help you stop and BE WELL.

E-CIGS DON'T HELP. HYPNOSIS DOES

     Many e-cigarette users report trying to quit smoking by using them along with regular cigarettes.  Stanton Clantz, PhD, a professor of medicine at University of California-San Francisco and director of the university's Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education reported that people trying to quit smoking by using a combination of regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes were 28% LESS likely to quit smoking than those using regular cigarettes alone.

   You can quit smoking.  In the late 1960s one half the population smoked.  Today, far fewer people smoke.  If you are trying to become a nonsmoker, hypnosis can be a valuable tool to help you give up cigarettes.  E-cigarettes are not the answer.  They just prolong the problem.  Set yourself free with the help of hypnotherapy.  Be an active, healthy nonsmoker and BE WELL.