Hypnotherapy is clinically used to address the spectrum of cancer’s physical and psychological dimensions, as well as to transform the patient’s interpretation and image of the experience. Hypnosis in the hospital helps to allay patients’ fears and anxieties thus becoming a force for healing, serves as an aide through the shock of crises, helps the client rediscover clarity in navigating the sudden maze of life, and provides a continuing foundation of self-respect. All of these elements significantly contribute to a healthy human being.
Several doctors and hypnotherapists are using hypnosis on a case-by-case basis in the prescribed healing of patients and in the goal of enhanced quality of life. Reverend C. Scot Giles, D.Min., the developer and facilitator of ICAN, a program of La Grange Memorial Hospital, combines hypnotism and group support as an adjust to treatment. This program has a waiting list due to its effectiveness in support, clarity, and effectiveness in overall patient well-being and healing. The primary goal of ICAN is in making the time of medical treatment also a time of self-improvement. The program helps participants modify self-talk and perception of life experience, come into touch with unconscious awareness, and discover a level of meaning in their illness. A subordinate goal is to help the patient create the personal circumstances most favorable to medical improvement. The unique feature of the ICAN program is the robust use of hypnotism.
Dr. Giles reports that in meetings where sessions have gone overtime due to extended dialogue, they are offered the choice of ending on time without hypnotism or staying later to allow hypnosis. At no time in the past five years has the group elected to end on time by skipping hypnotic work. Once relaxation is achieved, participants create images in their minds with the intent to elevate mood, to create mental distance from painful experiences, and to mobilize whatever healing resources the patient may have under unconscious control. Dr. Giles supports the research of Ernest Rossi, Ph.D., and David Cheek. M.D. in 1988, which proposes that information substances in the body such as neuropeptides, hormones, and immunotransmnitters, are generated by characteristic thought processes. These substances are believed to travel to specific organs and nodal areas of the central nervous system, causing somatic change. Dr. Rossi and Cheek propose that the resolution of those conflicts facilitates healing.
Dr. Giles states that by teaching patient show to use the power of the mind to control discomfort, elevate mood and directly participate in the healing process, the overall quality of a patient’s life and positive improvement in a patient’s medical condition is promoted. Most clinicians find that patients who are happy with themselves are more compliant with treatment, philosophical about discomfort, and seem to enjoy greater vitality. The participants in the ICAN program appear to experience an average for survival at more than 10 years that compares very favorably with the national average for survival at only five years for all stages of cancer. This improved survival is especially remarkable as the national average survival statistic includes data from persons detected with early stage disease, while ICAN participants almost uniformly have had progressed disease.
Dr. Deepak Chopra, a brilliant Endocrinologist, Aryuvedic specialist, founder of an internationally known healing center, author of numerous books, and the definitive leader in the field of mind-body medicine, has successfully integrated the current research of Western medicine, neuroscience, and physics to show that the human body is controlled by a “network of intelligence” grounded in an astounding reality. This intelligence lies deep enough to change the basic patterns that design our physiology. He states that the body is our experience transformed into physical expression and the outpouring of our belief system. If we are having the experience of anxiety, our body is making adrenalin and cortisone, and if we are having the experience of exhilaration and joy, our body is making interleukins, which are powerful anticancer drugs. The mere thought of a muscular action brings on electromyographic and psychological tension. So our body is constantly converting our experiences into molecules.
By quieting the mind we then quiet the body, and the less turbulent the body the more the innate self-repair healing mechanisms are amplified. Through hypnotherapy, the acquisition of the mind as an ally in the healing and recovery process is an asset that magnifies the probability of a return to health and to a wonderful quality of life. Research demonstrates that the anti-tumor effects of a particular cancer-fighting agent depend on more than just the drug itself – our immune response plays a major role. Hypnotherapy can directly help to support the emotional and subconscious factors influencing immune function, thus stimulating and supporting the body’s natural anti-tumor potential.
Dr. Sunnen, Board Certified in Psychiatry and Neurology and an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at NYU-Bellevue Medical Center in New York, states that through hypnotherapy the physical symptoms of cancer, the most common of which are pain and fatigue, and the physical effects of its treatment may be alleviated. Hypnosis has been amply documented to be a potent pain modulator. With Alaya’s specialized certifications in Advanced Pain Techniques and Hypnosis for Cancer, she serves as a valuable tool in a patient’s care and healing.
There is a synergistic relationship between pain and anxiety, and pain and depression. Through hypnotherapy, clients feel significantly more relaxed, report more energy, and clearly enjoy heightened capacity for pain free activity. Clear perception, modulated side effects to chemotherapy, heightened energizing feelings of optimism and self-esteem, all have been shown to be results of applied hypnotherapy that robustly assist them in accelerating healing.
According to Dr. Sunnen, hypnosis may be described as the most potent non-pharmacological relaxant known to science. The important mechanism of relaxation is hugely important in any healing process. Anxiety will lessen the positive affects of any treatment. In its deeper realms, hypnotic relaxation contains feelings of peacefulness, tranquility, and a profound sense of centeredness, even with quelling anxiety associated with anticipation. Deep relaxation can also significantly assist analgesia and enrich quality of life. Hypnotic pain reduction serves to manage and sometimes completely eliminate pain for the longterm. This is accomplished through hypnotic intervention by the medium of cortical override to change the degree and form in which pain is felt. Hypnosis is also used to regulate sleep and other biological rhythms, thus saving energy reserves. Imagery, through its cortical connections with neurohumoral networks, has a far-reaching influence on immune system function.
Aside from anxiety and pain, emotions that are universally felt during disease stages can be feelings of helplessness, anger, alienation, aloneness, low self-esteem, hopelessness, and loss. Dean Shrock, Ph.D., a Licensed Psychologist, author, and former director of mind-body medicine for a physician management group of forty cancer centers, developed, taught, and researched a program that extended survival with patients experiencing cancer. Dr. Shrock concluded that what made the greatest difference in why people lived longer pointed to conditions in which they felt that they were cared for and supported. When he asked cancer survivors and their families what they learned that helped them the most of what he taught, they said “You listened, you cared, and you were sincere.” Dr. Shrock believes that human factors and relationships are primary factors in healing.
Often illness, anxiety, and depression manifest in the sudden and steady decrease of healthy sleep patterns. The natural human biorhythm is considered to most effectively integrate sleep between 10pm and 6pm, with decreased mental activity before sleep. If this becomes difficult, health and healing will usually become impaired. Hypnotherapy is a very effective natural treatment for the restoration of healthy sleep schedules, not only due to support and care but also by teaching the client self-hypnosis techniques. A patient that is taught and practices self-hypnosis is given an active role in the management of his/her own condition.