Hypnotism has been around for thousands of years. It was first used by the ancient Greeks for treating medical problems. “Hypnos” is the Greek word for sleep.
The hypnotized person is not really asleep, but in a deeply-relaxed, trance-like state from which it is easier to contact and influence the subconscious mind. We often enter a similar state while day-dreaming, or when engrossed in a good movie or book.
The link between mind and body is not yet fully understood, but it is believed to be significant. Whatever condition the mind accepts to be true, will often be reproduced by the body. In seeking a cure for any physical complaint, trying self-hypnosis, in addition to traditional medical care, cannot hurt and it very well may help.
A state of hypnosis can be induced by a trained hypnotherapist or it can be entered voluntarily by the subject himself. If practiced alone, it is termed “self-hypnosis”.
Self-hypnosis is believed to be helpful in easing chronic pain or anxiety, in aiding sleep disturbances, in lessening the side effects of chemotherapy, and in treating a variety of illnesses. Here’s how to go about it.
1. Find a quiet, comfortable spot where you won’t be disturbed for at least half an hour. Dim the bright lights. Sit or recline in a comfortable chair. If you lie down, it’s too easy to fall asleep.
2. Close your eyes, sit back, and relax. Consciously tense, then relax in progression, the muscles in each part of your body: right foot, left foot, right leg, left leg, hips and abdomen, chest and back, right arm. left arm, neck, and head.
3. Breathe in and out slowly. With each breath, imagine yourself sinking deeper into the chair. Repeat 10 times. Then, picture yourself in a large vestibule. There is a sign on the wall indicating a elevator door nearby.
4. In your imagination, enter the elevator and push the “Down” button. As you descend, you become more and more relaxed. Count back slowly from 10 to 1. When you reach the bottom level, the door opens and you emerge on a sunny woodland path. There is a comfortable lounge chair nearby and sink peacefully into its big, soft cushions.
5. As you rest in the warmth, under tall, shady trees, mentally picture the cause of your illness and devise a creative means of destroying it. If you have a headache, picture an angel turning off a switch, and breaking the connection between the painful nerve endings and your forehead. Silently affirm, “The headache is gone. I feel rested, I am pain-free and I have lots of energy. Repeat several times.
If you are suffering from cancer, imagine a white-coated doctor approaching carrying an eraser. He steps up to the tumor and begins to work, rubbing it away bit by bit. You are happy as you watch it shrink smaller and smaller and you begin to see the healthy pink skin underneath. Thank the doctor and ask him to continue his work until you return.
Whatever health problem you have, picture it being overcome by a friendly but powerful entity who desires only the best for you. Spend a few minutes repeating positive affirmations and viewing mental images which confirm that your problem is disappearing or gone, and that you are feeling rested and well.
6. At this point, insert helpful post-hypnotic suggestions: you will awaken rested. refreshed and pain-free. Each time you repeat this exercise, you will enter the hypnotic state more quickly and easily.
7. When you are ready to return, imagine that you slowly rise, walk to the elevator in your mind, enter it and push the “Up” button. Count slowly from 1 to 10 as you return to the surface.
8. See yourself enter the vestibule again, recrossing it and emerging through the door to the quiet, comfortable spot where you began your journey. Open your eyes, rest a few minutes, stretch, then resume your normal activities.
A word of caution: self-hypnosis is by no means intended as a replacement for medical care. When serious illness strikes, your first line of attack must be to consult your doctor. This practice is only intended as a helpful addition to traditional treatment by a qualified physician. As noted above, the link between mind and body is not fully understood, but it is thought to be appreciable.
Self-hypnosis has been found to be helpful in the treatment of skin conditions, relieving chronic pain, reducing pain in childbirth, and easing the discomfort of dental procedures. Perhaps the subconscious mind can send positive thoughts and images to the affected parts of the body and initiate and strengthen the healing process.
Who knows? In any illness, it is agreed that the patient’s attitude is a significant factor in determining the ultimate outcome. Self-hypnosis, if done properly, will promote a positive attitude. That alone, makes it at least worth a try.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” William Shakespeare