?Is Hypnosis an Effective Method to Improve Health?
Many high schools have hypnotists come to their school to entertain the students. Once a hypnotist came to the Fletcher High School gymnasium and hypnotized about a half dozen people. He convinced these six people into believing they were five years old watching their favorite cartoon. Their mannerisms were shocking. They truly believed they were
five-years-old, throwing a fit when the hypnotist told them their mother just turned off the cartoons. Knowing that it is very hard to remember back to when a person is five-years-old, it was amazing that the power of hypnosis made them remember so easily. It seemed as if the hypnotist could make them remember anything. Just before the students woke from their hypnosis, the hypnotists told them they would be fully rested and feel extremely good about his or herself. Afterwards, they remarked on how rested they felt.
A hypnotist can make people feel completely rested while being under hypnosis, and make people believe things that are not true. Why stop there though? If something hurts, then tell the hypnotherapist to suggest under hypnosis that the pain is gone and does not bother them anymore and the person will feel better. If someone has a stuttering problem, then they can visit a hypnotherapist and he should be able to straighten up their speech so they can speak more clearly. Likewise, a persons self-confidence could be uplifted and they
could begin to believe in his or herself. Some people could even be anesthetized for surgery using hypnosis.
Many people are hypnotized for entertainment purposes, so maybe it should also be used to help people with problems that are hard to resolve. Hypnosis can be used to relieve pain, conquer almost any fear, eliminate the use unnecessary prescription medicines, and help a person to overcome alcoholism and to overcome drug addictions. Also, upon finding support from a hypnotherapist, many have been able to quit addictive habits such as smoking.
Conquering phobias is a specialty of hypnotherapists. A phobia is a compulsive fear of a specified situation or object (Knight 2). A few types of phobias are fear of open spaces, fear of snow, fear of the cold, fear of marriage, fear of insanity, fear of being alone, fear of darkness, fear of disease, fear of beards, fear of birds, fear of being stared at, fear of being buried alive, fear of the unknown, fear of animals, and there are also many other fears that ruin peoples lives or pursuit of happiness (Knight 2). People find that it is easier to turn away from the thing they are afraid of, or simply run from the fear avoiding the feared object as much as possible. When the phobia is avoidable, there is not a strong need for medical attention, but when the phobia interferes with the persons quality of life, a hypnotherapist may be needed (Knight 2-3).
Hypnotherapists claim to be able to get rid of numerous unnecessary prescription medicines. Dr. Thomas Nicoli states that many rely on pharmaceuticals as a crutch that they may not need. Nicoli supports his thinking by saying, If you break or badly injure your leg, you need crutches. Of course. But, would you expect to need those crutches for a very long time? How about the rest of your life? Of course not. Well, thats how I began looking at
pills. As a continual internal crutch (Nicoli 1). In order to alleviate the need for this internal crutch, the root of the problem must be found and the problem worked out from the there. Some people may not even remember the initial incident or cause of their discomfort. Their feelings may be so repressed in their subconscious that they do not remember the root of their problem. Hypnosis may be the only way a person could find these lost emotions or actions (Nicoli 2).
Using hypnosis to help quit smoking has about a twenty percent success rate (Wolff, Personal Interview). The reasons for this seemingly low success is due to the people themselves. Hypnotherapists make it very clear before they start the process of hypnosis that the patient must first want to quit (Hypnosis and Smoking 1). Also, in any state of hypnosis, a person can be pushed to do something against their will, but ultimately a hypnotist cannot make someone do something against their morals or beliefs (Hypnosis and Smoking 1).
The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (1990) estimated that more than 80% of current smokers wish that they could quit, and about one third of smokers attempt to quit annually (Kirsch, Capafons, Cardea-Buelna, and Amig 250). Smoking, however, is a powerful addiction and is a difficult habit to quit. The odds of breaking the smoking habit are discouragingly low, especially if an individual tries to quit on his or her own. The American Psychiatric Association (1994) estimated that less than 5% of those people trying to quit would be successful without professional assistance (Kirsch, Capafons, Cardea-Buelna, and Amig 250).
For some, quitting smoking with self hypnosis is easy and painless; for others, quitting smoking is difficult no matter what method is used (Hypnosis and Smoking 3). One aspect
of this treatment is that no matter what level a persons desire is to quit smoking; hypnosis will increase the chances of becoming a non-smoker. One method a doctor has found successful is helping the patient realize that he can do it. If a person trying to quit does not believe this, then eventually the person will fail in their attempt to quit smoking. Dr. Charles E. Chuck says the best way to quit smoking is to quit just for today, and anybody can do something for just one day (qtd. in Hypnosis and Smoking 3).
An aid to quit smoking is only one of the many uses of hypnosis. A group of researchers noticed that when a person was experiencing back pain, the site of the pain had a lower amount of oxygen than the rest of the body in that area of discomfort. After much investigation, the researchers noted that the lack of oxygen must have come from a
brain-initiated activity. A hypnotist could, in fact, suggest an increase of the levels of oxygen to that area. Through maybe an hour of relaxation and suggestions by a hypnotherapist almost all of the pain could be relieved (Nicoli 2).
Hypnotism is also used in dentistry and as an anesthetic during surgery. In dentistry, there is a large success rate. Hypnosis is able to calm a patient better than any drug could accomplish. The patient is relaxed and the best thing of all is that he or she feels no pain (Estabrooks 162).
Hypnosis in surgery is very different from dentistry causeing many different side affects. For some patients undergoing surgery, using hypnosis is a miracle, but for others it can be devastating. Dr. Wolff, a psychology professor at Southwestern University, described hypnosis was used as an alternative for chemical anesthesia, but was abruptly halted by virtually everyone. Some patients, although completely hypnotized, could still feel the pain.
They could not move or speak. All the patients could do was lie paralyzed and feel the extreme amount of pain from the cutting and slicing of the scapels. After this happened a few times, it is not a surprise that many people are reluctant to be anesthetized by hypnosis for surgery purposes (Wolff, Personal Interview).
During hypnotherapy, drug abuse and alcoholism can be cured in most cases, depending on the level of hypnosis the hypnotist may put the person. There are many different levels of hypnosis. At the deepest level the hypnotist can even control the involuntary organs in the body (Estabrooks 161-2). This has much effect on the curing of an alcoholic or drug abuser. For instance, an alcoholic can be told under hypnosis that the very sight of alcohol disgusts him or her. Then, they can be told that the taste of alcohol is so disgusting that when the take a drink, it actually makes them throw up or become ill (Estabrooks 163-4).
The psyche rarely appears in dermatoses as a sole cause, but mental states and conflicts can be converted into skin disorders just as they can be converted into hysteria or phobias. The skin acts not only as a protective and defensive agent for the body, but also occasionally for the mind. The availability and erogenicity of the skin renders it vulnerable to patients with exhibitionistic, masochistic, paranoid, obsessional, compulsive, or abnormal sexual tendencies (Schneck 123). Whatever happens in the mind is reflected in the body, and any alteration in the latter has repercussions in the former (qtd. in Schneck 124). These skin disorders caused by mental breakdowns or stress can be avoided or treated by just visiting hypnotherapists.
In some instances, hypnotherapy can be used to help a problem in a pregnancy that may take the mothers life while she is delivering the baby. Hypnosis can rarely be life saving, but
will often be beneficial to the childbearing female (qtd. in Schneck 145). Hypnotherapy, along with dietary supplements, can be most helpful to losing weight quicker and less expensive (qtd. in Schneck 146). Many other diseases in dermatology, gynecology, obstetrics, surgery, psychiatry, and other diseases that are caused from different brain activities can also be helped and treated with hypnotherapy.
It is remarkable that the high school students could remember most of the emotions they felt at the age of five. Is it not possible then to turn someones mind into a machine capable of remembering virtually everything? This is definitely something that could be used for school purposes. Imagine going to class and being able to remember and understand every word. Maybe the person would even be able to recite every syllable the instructor spoke during the entire hour of class. Maybe some day someone could be hypnotized and given information and just take every bit of it into their memory. Instead
of going to school for years and years information could just be programmed into a person like in the Matrix where Keanu Reeves could learn anything he wanted to learn in only a few seconds. But learning and remembering is only one aspect of hypnosis. If a hypnotist can make someone remember something so far back and make that person reenact those memories, hypnosis could be a powerful tool regarding many health problems caused by brain activities.There is so much more that has yet to be discovered.
Estabrooks, George H., Hypnotism. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1957.
Hypnosis and Smoking: The Mighty Power of Suggestion. Smoking Cessation. N.
pag. Online. Internet. 13 Apr. 2000. Available WWW: http://www.hypnosis.about.com/smoking.hypnos.htm
Kirsch, Irving, Antonio Capafons, Etzel Cardea-Buelna, Salvador Amig. Clinical Hypnosis and Self-Regulation. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1999.
Knight, Bryan. You Can Conquer Your Phobia. Hypnogenesis. N. pag. Online.
Internet. 13 Apr. 2000. Available WWW: http://www.hypnos.co.uk/hypnomag/drknigh3.htm
Nicoli, Thomas. Pain and Physical Disorder Relief Through Hypnosis.
Hypnogenesis. N. pag. Online. Internet. 13 Apr. 2000. Available WWW:
Schneck, Jerome M. Hypnosis in Modern Medicine. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas, 1953.
Wolff, Michael. Personal Interview. 28 Apr. 2000.
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