Mind and body techniques are applied by a certified practitioner to induce a relaxed state and allow the person to safely move an emotional block or experience from the subconscious mind to the conscious mind. In doing this, it allows the person's experience to be reframed in a positive fashion to release pent-up negative feelings about the experience. This frees the person from reacting subconsciously to old emotional trauma or wounds, and allows them instead to make more positive or healthy choices. The techniques are also effective for stress reduction as when in a deeply relaxed state the person lowers the fight or flight responses in the body and instead utilizes the relaxation responses to heal themselves. The patient is in control at all times, and directs the therapy by their responses. They may "awaken" at any time, as indeed they are not asleep but rather in a deep day-dream like state. Two such examples of mind body techniques offered in our clinic are Guided Imagery and Medical Self Hypnosis.
Guided imagery refers to a specific mind-body technique used by patients with the help of a practitioner for relaxation and healing. These techniques range from simple visualization to direct imagery based suggestion through metaphor or storytelling.
The use of Guided Imagery has been proven to be able to affect almost all major systems of the body, including respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, gastrointestinal motility and secretions, sexual function and the immune response. Hence, it can be instrumental in helping to foster a desirable healing response for improving overall health or applied specifically to a medical problem.
Potential uses of Guided Imagery include:
- Relaxation training and stress reduction
- Pain relief
- Managing chronic illness and preventing "flare-ups"
- Preparing for surgery and other medical procedures
- Medication/Lifestyle compliance issues
- Cancer treatment
- Terminal illnesses and end-of-life care
- Fertility and birthing
- Grief therapy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety or depression
- Stage fright or social phobias
- Post Stroke paralysis
The practitioner and patient choose the problem to be explored, and prior to the session, establish with the patient the desired goals and outcomes for the session. After the session, discussion takes place to deepen the gift of insight that was received, and to make sure the goals were met. The patient is then taught to use the techniques for home use in order to provide the patient with an ongoing powerful tool that will help to continue the healing process and further gain self-knowledge.
Hypnosis is a technique that should be more accurately termed self-hypnosis. During self-hypnosis the patient is guided by a trained medical professional into a deeply relaxed state where they can explore their subconscious feelings and memories that are lodged there. The therapist quietly asks questions as the patient is reviewing the problem, and creates a flash of insight that helps the person resolve or move beyond the issue. It is important to note that the person undergoing self-hypnosis does not in any way "lose control" of their thoughts or dignity.
Hypnosis refers to techniques which allow us to enhance communication between and within the mind and body. Because the body actually hears everything that is introduced to the subconscious mind, these methods can dramatically influence the body and its functions. Hypnosis can be done by oneself, with the help of a practitioner, or by using books, videos or audiotapes.
What health problems tend to respond to hypnosis? Andrew Weil, MD, director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine says: "I believe that no condition is out of bounds for trying hypnotherapy on." A short list of conditions that the medical literature has shown effectiveness for includes: asthma, atopic dermatitis, end-of-life care, irritable bowel syndrome, labor pain, migraines, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, psoriasis, attention deficit disorder, substance abuse, urticaria, and warts.