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by C. Devin Hastings
Should a person use hypnosis before, during and/or after surgery?
Should my child be hypnotized for surgery?
Is there any proof that hypnosis can help with a surgical procedure?
Can hypnosis help with things like migraines or anxiety?
Is hypnosis is a safe answer because sometimes what you don't know can definitely hurt.
Before discovering some really nifty information, let's figure out one really important question: What is hypnosis? Before I answer this, please bear in mind that I have been using hypnosis for over 22 years to help people to change their lives and, I am a research geek. So, the following answer is one based on my professional experience and research:
Hypnosis is a person's ability to convince themselves of any belief. Therefore, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. That's it. No hypno-rays or spooky watches.
Consider this: If hypnosis really was some sort of hypnotist-to-victim brain control, why on earth do we have jails? Couldn't we just 'zap' all those bad boys and girls and make them law-abiding? Nope. Haven't and can't.
So, with the above definition in mind, think for a moment about the so-called 'placebo effect'. (1) where people get better even though there has been no real drug administered.
The truth is that the placebo effect is actually positive self-hypnosis!
And, you may or may not have heard of the 'nocebo' effect but, as you might guess, it is a negative or harmful self-hypnosis.
So, should a person be hypnotized before/during/after surgery? Yes, because positive hypnosis can yield impressive results such as reduced pain, reduced medication needs and a significantly improved outlook (attitude) that can make a big difference.
Most importantly, if a person has been engaging in 'gloom and doom' projections (self-hypnosis) about their surgery they really must have the trained services of a hypnotist who can help them bring to create more helpful beliefs.
Consider the incredible work by Dr. Herbert Benson, author of numerous books. In his book Timeless Healing, he has done a meta-analysis of hundreds of studies and his conclusion is simple but profound: He states that "Beliefs can be a major source of illness and a major force in treatment."
Of course, most people intuitively understand this but to view the research is at once scary and inspiring.
So, what about children, hypnosis and surgery? Is it safe? Again, my assertion is that yes it is safe and even more so, crucial.
Can hypnosis help with migraines? Well, a recent BBC article pointed out that fake acupuncture (placebo) worked just as well as real acupuncture for pain relief. (2)
Just make sure to get a doctor's clearance before using hypnosis (or anything else) to get rid of a disabling headache. In rare cases, a headache is a sign of serious problems.
Another interesting article(3) pointed out how the placebo response was just as effective at not only removing anxiety but in replacing the anxiety!
(1) Interestingly, Dr. Herbert Benson prefers to call the placebo response 'Remembered Wellness'.
(2) Full text of article here: Placebo-response-and-migraines
(3) Full text of article here: Placebo-response-and-anxiety