What Can Hypnotherapy Help With? The 5 Most Impressive Health Benefits
The use of visualisation in supporting the body to heal has been around for a very long time, and the idea that the mind and the body are connected is certainly nothing new.
A quote I came across sums this up perfectly, which is to say “the mind and the body are different sides of the same coin and they intersect most strongly at the level of imagination.”
Your mind influences your body
You don’t need a science degree to know that your mind influences your body. Just think back to the last time you felt ‘stressed’. Perhaps you were running late for a meeting, missed the bus, received an unexpected call. And can you also remember how you felt? Perhaps your heart started to beat faster, perhaps you started to feel flushed, your mouth got dry and your stomach started churning. Quite simply you were experiencing your body’s ‘stress response’, otherwise known as ‘fight or flight’.
So, if we know that the mind can influence the body, the benefits of mind-based therapies should come as no surprise. But you may be surprised to know the depth and power of these benefits, especially when using hypnosis. Intrigued? Read on.
What is Hypnosis?
If you’re new to the world of hypnosis, it’s helpful for me to give you a brief overview of what hypnosis is before I continue. Hypnosis simply describes a deeply focused inward state of mind, something that we actually go in and out of many times during the day. A simple example of when your brain may go into the state of hypnosis is when you are reading a book. When you are completely oblivious to what is going on around you and totally absorbed by what you are reading – you are in fact in hypnosis. Another example of being in hypnosis is when you are talking to someone and you are completely un-distracted by a phone ringing or other background noise. Cool hey?
In fact, when our brains enter the state of hypnosis, our brain waves slow down from Beta (which is associated with normal waking, active thinking and alertness) to Alpha (light hypnosis) and then down again to Theta (day dreaming, deep hypnosis, drowsiness). This is one reason why being hypnotised can feel so wonderfully relaxing!
So forget about what you may have heard about hypnosis, it is in fact a very normal state of mind and one you may experience multiple times a day without even realising it!
What can hypnotherapy help with?
When you are in the relaxed and highly focused state of hypnosis, your brain waves slow down to alpha or theta, and you enter a natural healing state where your body can easily restore and rejuvenate. You also have direct access to your subconscious mind which is running all the ‘programs’ in your body that you’re not consciously aware of– from controlling your heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and breathing (and many, many more!).
The health benefits of this relaxed natural healing state are numerous, but here are what I believe to be the 5 most impressive.
5 of the most impressive health benefits of hypnosis
1. Hypnosis for stress relief
We live in stressful times, and I have not yet had a client come to see me without some level of stress going on in their life. When you experience stress, your stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine) increase. When these stress hormones are constantly pumping through your body they can cause increased blood pressure, increased plaque build-up in your arteries, and decrease your immune system.
The health of your heart, brain, gut, sleep pattern and of course your weight can all be affected by stress, and most definitely chronic stress.
Simply focusing on short term solutions can only get you so far. Hypnosis allows you to work on the real cause of the stress, and gain understanding on what is creating the stress in the first place.
2. Hypnosis Reduces the stress hormones pumping around your body
Hypnosis, along with meditation and yoga can all elicit a response in your body that actually slow down the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Stress hormones if allowed to build up in your body can cause numerous health issues, so actively working to reduce them is hugely beneficial. I believe this is the most important area of your health to focus on, full stop.
Research by Herbert Benson, M.D., director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, also shows that guided visualisation/hypnosis can cause your heart rate to slow, your blood pressure to drop and even your digestion to ease.
3. Hypnosis can speed up your body’s Healing
There are now a growing number of research studies being conducted to demonstrate how guided visualisation (as in guided hypnosis) can actually increase the healing process. In fact, one study looking at whether hypnosis could accelerate the healing of bone fractures showed positive results, and concluded that hypnosis may be capable of ‘enhancing both anatomical and functional fracture healing’.
There are of course also hundreds, and even thousands of stories across the internet of people who have used their mind and the power of their imagination to heal from injury or disease.
4. Hypnosis helps you to relax
How often do you actually stop and relax? Yes, I’m talking to you!
Hypnosis can be a wonderfully relaxing experience as the body and mind slow down, and the ‘relaxation response’ is switched on – the opposite of the stress response. When we are in this calm and relaxed state, our immune system actually kicks back into gear, our blood pressure starts to lower, and our stress levels decrease. Research also shows that by regularly slowing down and relaxing (e.g. switching on your natural ‘relaxation response’) you can help your body overcome many health issues associated with chronic stress including adrenal fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Essentially you are allowing your body the chance to heal itself through its own innate wisdom.
5. Suffer from IBS? Hypnosis can reset and reprogram your gut
Having being trained in Gut Directed Hypnotherapy by both the leading experts in Australia and the United States, this is an area of hypnotherapy that continues to fascinate me.
Numerous research studies have time and again demonstrated that despite us being unclear on ‘exactly’ how hypnosis works, we can indeed influence and create physical changes in the body under the state of hypnosis. For those who suffered from IBS, studies show that under hypnosis, clients can not only reduce the contractions in their bowel, but they can also make the lining of their bowel less sensitive.
Physical benefits are a reality when utilising hypnosis, and that is perhaps one of the powerful health benefits of all.