Hypnosis and hypnotherapy have been proven to effectively treat medical conditions, such as skin problems/conditions, digestive disorders, pain, headaches, migraine, medical procedures, as well as side effects of cancer, chemotherapy and radiation? Immune diseases also benefit from medical applications of hypnosis. Now, of course, we are talking about the therapeutic benefits of clinical or medical hypnosis and not referring to lay or stage hypnosis. Stage hypnosis is for entertainment, whereas clinical or medical hypnosis is used by professionals trained in medicine, psychology, social work, counseling, nursing, and dentistry.
The medical use of hypnosis can benefit:
Asthma, back pain, brain injury, cancer, depression, erectile function, fertility, fibroid healing, headache, liver conditions, hypertension, immunity, IBS, multiple sclerosis, neck conditions, pain, pregnancy and childbirth, skin conditions, spinal cord healing, surgery and recovery, and tinnitus, and a myriad of other medical needs.
Hypnosis has historically been used in healing for a long time, and has been called by many different names such as NLP, Biofeedback, Mind Healing, Sleep-Healing, Divine Healing, and Guided Imagery. The history of hypnosis for healing and medical benefit goes back to the ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and is referred in the Ebers Papyrus, the oldest medical document. But it was when Franz Anton Mesmer popularized it in late 1700’s France that others took note of its therapeutic value. In particular, around 1850, physicians from England and Scotland (James Braid, James Esdaile, and John Elliotson) began to use it in medical applications. Dr. Esdaile documented hundreds of major surgical operations using hypnosis as the sole anesthesia with excellent results. Dr. Elliotson (who also brought the stethoscope to England) created the first hypnosis hospital, and founded Zoist, the first medical journal devoted to medical treatments with hypnosis.
Although misnamed “hypnosis” after the Greek god of sleep ‘Hypnos’, hypnosis is not sleep at all. We now have advanced technology in neuroimaging of the brain with PET scans, functional MRIs and EEG which show that individuals producing and experiencing hypnosis are awake (not asleep, as stage hypnotists want an audience to believe).
Since the mid to late 1800s to date thousands of studies looking at the medical value of hypnosis have led to just as many articles in professional journals dealing with gastrointestinal, neurology, dermatology, surgery, skin disorders, rehabilitation oncology, and others.
Perhaps one of the most impressive findings from current neuroimagery studies of medical hypnosis is that, although ‘imagination’ and ‘belief’ play a major role in using hypnosis, the results of hypnosis are not imaginary, they are very real physiological responses.