There is evidence and data that supports the practice of hypnosis to alleviate common symptoms and challenges that individuals diagnosed with multiple sclerosis face. Specifically, patients with multiple sclerosis report chronic pain, balance issues, stress, fatigue and mood swings or depression coupled with their physical functionality difficulties.
Hypnosis for Pain Management
Hypnosis has been found to be a highly effective and natural approach to dealing with pain. The hypnosis practitioner utilizes techniques that tap into the natural pain suppressors. These are already in your body, specifically endorphins.
Hypnosis for pain overall can dramatically improve your quality of life by:
Allowing you to disconnect from the actual pain
Reducing your pain or offering techniques that distract from the pain
Adjusting the pain signals that go to the brain
Increasing your functionality and ability to perform more of the activities you want
Hypnosis for Multiple Sclerosis can teach your subconscious mind to retrieve and stimulate those natural pain killers resulting in a reduction in pain. Like morphine, endorphins provide a positive feeling, while simultaneously blocking out the negative ones. The body naturally creates endorphins when one exercises or sees a love interest for example. In fact, how it works is that your nerve endings send signals, based on what is going on in your body. These signals make their way to the spinal cord and your body emits endorphins that slow down the communication of pain signals, therefore lessening the pain. Your body performs these activities and hypnotic suggestions for pain management is sending signals to the subconscious mind that you are lessening or eliminating discomforrt. This allows the mind and body to work in unison to produce endorphins and control your pain.
Studies Supporting Hypnosis for Multiple Sclerosis
Now we look at a study that follows three multiple sclerosis patients each at a different stage in their illness. The first patient is confined to a wheelchair diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 35 years ago. The second and third individual were just diagnosed, one with balance issues and the other with leg pain. Within several weeks of hypnosis, all three individuals showed improvements with their symptoms. Coupled with that, they showed a greater level of positivity, feeling encouraged based on their improvements.
An in depth, and long term study, showed tremendous promise with the use of hypnotherapy for multiple sclerosis participants. The study conducted follow ups after 1 month, a year and 8 years later with an emphasis on pain and neuromuscular conditions like balance and double vision. Hypnotic techniques included guided imagery and hypnotic suggestions. The result was significant progress in balance, controlling pain, decreased double vision following 2 weeks of treatment. The researchers concluded the strong evidence of this study suggest that more studies should be conducted to tap into these benefits.
Managing Stress and Pain with Hypnosis for Multiple Sclerosis
Pain and stress most deeply impact multiple sclerosis patients and their overall well-being. About 90% suffer from heightened levels of fatigue while many battle depression. The treatments and medications available may provide limited relief. The study researched scientific data, identifying over 100 publications. Based on their criteria, the study focused on 14 publications. The overall conclusion was that hypnosis and hypnotherapy is an effective treatment with a broad range of benefits. They include perception of pain, elevated mood, fatigue, overall mental health, and physical functionality.
Mindfulness and Deep Relaxation with Hypnosis
A study conducted in Baylor University, Texas focused on what they referred to as mindful hypnotherapy. There were 42 college age students reporting high levels of stress. Half of the participants received 8 weeks of mindful hypnosis while the control group did not. The group also was provided with hypnosis recordings for reinforcement. The group receiving hypnosis reported a significant decrease in stress. In addition, they had elevated levels of mindfulness. The control group did not experience any of these benefits.
Hypnosis facilitates a deep relaxation where the mind is more open to beneficial suggestions. The subconscious mind doesn’t carry with it all the obstacles that the conscious mind does when it resists changes in behavior and holds on to baggage that prevents one from moving forward in a healthy way. Some of the techniques involve slow and deep breathing, while others focus on relaxing various muscle groups within the body. Other clients are told to imagine a happy memory or experience, they may also be asked to imagine success in dealing with an issue. Some medical practitioners have incorporated hypnosis into their treatment plans. Hypnotherapists generally spend between 30 minute to an hour during a hypnosis session.
Evidence supports the efficacy of hypnosis and relaxation for anxiety, stress management, and reducing chronic pain. Findings show the benefits of hypnotherapy in relieving symptoms for those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.