Health And Wellness

If You Have Anxiety About Going To The Doctor, Hypnotherapy Can Help

Photo: Unsplash 
Is Hypnosis Real? How Hypnotherapy For Anxiety & Worry Can Calm Emotional Distress

Are you wondering if hypnosis is real? Well, it turns out that hypnotherapy for anxiety and worry can actually help calm emotional distress that happens before a medical procedure. 

Hypnosis for anxiety can come in very handy when you're fearful of seeing the doctor.

RELATED: How To Know If Hypnosis Will Really Work For You (Using This Simple Self-Hypnosis Test)

Surgery, pain, needles, hospitals, tests-- Oh my! These words often evoke fear when a person faces a medical procedure. A child's response is, "will it hurt?" Adults, often have the same concerns— will there be pain, how will I get around, can I work, how long is the recovery, will I be the same and so on. 

Face it, more often than not, people are unprepared for a medical procedure or surgery. It is not generally acknowledged that we can control our own comfort, experience, and success for a procedure.

Emotional distress can impede healing and exacerbate pain. Even negative comments by medical personnel can cause a rise in blood pressure, increase heart and respiratory rate.

The importance of preparing yourself for a medical procedure or surgery is often underestimated by doctors because procedures and anesthesia have become routine. The majority of medical practitioners have not been taught to incorporate the mind and body as one.

By using hypnosis, you have the power within yourself to minimize the effects, concerns, and fear to support yourself in the healing process. 

Understanding the mind-body connection is a way of educating ourselves and breaking free of past constraints driven by fear or hopelessness. The power of suggestion can be used to transform your medical experience.

By understanding the power of imagery, you can be more relaxed and confident before a procedure.  As adults, we lose our child-like imagination and creativity.  By tapping into our original nature with imagery, visualization, and curiosity, we tap into what is already there. 

Hypnosis is a conducive clinical and therapeutic technique for medical procedures as it has the potential to lessen fear and anxiety, increase relaxation, and decrease pain while increasing comfort— which may create a more positive experience.  It may also facilitate quicker recovery and reduce the amount of anesthesia and/or medication. 

Hypnosis creates a state of relaxation and with open receptivity for appropriate suggestions, establishes compliance with the instructions which is characterized by focused inward attention. The subconscious bypasses the critical and resistant nature of the mind.

RELATED: I Tried Hypnotherapy for the First Time & Ended by Thanking Julie Andrews

Unfortunately, hypnosis has been given a bad rap as a result of lack of regulation and the proliferation of stage hypnosis. People don't question the benefits of mindfulness, but they do hypnosis; though the efficacy of both is documented. 

There is a current trend in the medical world that's becoming more open and receptive to alternative and integrative treatments in medicine out of necessity due to the rising cost of health care and the opioid crisis. 

Regardless of what it is called, there appears to be no doubt that a deep state of relaxation can improve an overall sense of well-being and health. We probably have all used hypnosis at some time, which is simply an absorbed state of focus. 

Perhaps sometime in the past, sitting in the dentist chair you imagined yourself someplace else, or you focused on your breath to relax your body while shutting out external sounds. 

Years ago, I had an MRI, was unprepared, and as my body went into the machine, I felt instant panic. I instantly closed my eyes and took myself to a tropical beach scene.  Hypnosis to the rescue!

Children also use self-hypnosis as a self-protective mechanism. For example, when my niece was eight years old, she had to have stitches from an accident. She quite quickly and naturally broke out in song and continued singing throughout the whole process of injections and stitching. 

The results I have see with my own clients over the years have unquestionably given me continued hope with our own internal abilities. Recently a man in his early 20s came to me after he underwent his first treatment for tattoo removal which was excruciatingly painful.

After our hypnosis session, he underwent his second treatment and was relieved to discover the comfort he experienced. He was able to utilize self-hypnosis we had practiced using relaxation suggestions and visualization, in addition to listening to the recordings I had made with him during our sessions. 

Before any procedure, it is essential to know what to expect. Some people want detailed information on the process, while others prefer less.  It is important that you feel empowered to ask your physician and anesthesiologist any questions or concerns you may have.

Hypnosis introduces the notion of deep relaxation, which can eliminate anticipatory anxiety and thoughts with the replacement of positive suggestions and statements.

Patients do better when undergoing procedures when there are suggestions of well-being, relaxation, and hope. With focused awareness, your mind perception can be altered, which induces relaxation and gives the person a sense of control.

While in this state, muscles relax, and breathing slows to a relaxed pace and blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate can decrease. According to Mark Jensen, Ph.D., University of Washington Medical Center, with focused attention through hypnosis, brain changes occur, which can affect perception, and location and intensity of pain can shift and transform.

The uses of hypnosis are endless. It can be applied as a technique in a clinical setting, either alone or in conjunction with therapy modalities in many areas— performance, anxiety, depression, confidence, phobias, habits, and relationships. Hypnosis has been used for centuries for healing in the medical field. 

Franz Mesmer brought the powerful healing modality of hypnosis to public awareness in the late 1970s and so to honor him, his birthday, May 23rd is designated Clinical Hypnosis Day. 

According to the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, Clinical Hypnosis Day is a day to raise awareness of the clinical applications of hypnosis through educating professional health care providers and the public.

It is also a day to recognize and reflect upon the many advances in research, knowledge, and application of hypnosis from then to now.

RELATED: Is Hypnosis Real? How Hypnotherapy Works And What Makes It So Effective

Tracey Harvey is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Imago relationship therapy.  She utilizes hypnosis as a therapeutic technique in her clinical practice and with her integrative approach she incorporates mindfulness, guided imagery and somatic work.