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Fibromyalgia and Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy teaches people how to master their own states of awareness in order to improve bodily functions and psychological responses. This technique can be used to control the pain and stress that occur with fibromyalgia.

Effect of Hypnotherapy on Fibromyalgia

Hypnosis reduces pain, boosts energy, and promote comfort among fibromyalgia sufferers. It may help relieve the following symptoms:

  • muscle pain
  • morning fatigue
  • sleep difficulties
  • stress

Read more details about Hypnotherapy.

Research Evidence on Hypnotherapy

An article in The Journal of Rheumatology shows that hypnotherapy significantly improved some symptoms of fibromyalgia. For this trial, 40 participants were randomly selected to receive either hypnotherapy or physical therapy. Either therapies were given for 12 weeks. The effects of both treatment were assessed on the 12th and 24th weeks.

On the 12-week and 24-week assessments, the participants in the hypnotherapy group reported a reduction in pain, fatigue and sleep difficulties. Before the start of the trial, the participants reported feeling discomfort both mentally and physically. On the follow-up, patients in the hypnotherapy group reported a significant decrease in feelings of discomfort. Those who received physical therapy, on the other hand, did not report any significant decrease. The researchers then concluded that hypnosis may be useful in relieving pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms.

How to Use Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy uses the hypnotic state to allow the patient to break free from typical patterns of response and behavior. The hypnotherapist induces a trance-like state by guided relaxation. When a person is in hypnosis, their awareness is heightened and they get completely focused on the hypnotist's voice. Hypnosis activates the minds' subconscious level while suppressing the conscious mind. The conscious level is used for decision-making, thoughts, and actions. The subconscious, on the other hand, is responsible for our emotions. Hypnotherapy can effectively block negative thoughts. The therapist does this by inputting ideas, concepts, as well as lifestyle adaptations into the subconscious level. With hypnosis, positive messages are firmly instilled and this allows the patient to achieve many important tasks such as stress management and improving their sense of well being.

If pain relief is sought, the hypnotherapist will have the patient concentrate on something other than pain and will lead through relaxation exercises. Once full relaxation is achieved, the therapist might use a technique known as dissociation. This is done by suggesting images that may help the patient experience pain as something distinctly different from themselves. Another technique is symptom substitution which guides the patient to think of pain in a different way.

Types of Professionals That Would Be Involved with This Treatment

Most hypnotherapists are health professionals—medical doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives-- who have received additional training in hypnotherapy. To look for hypnotherapists near you, you may contact:

  • The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis: www.asch.net
  • The American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists: www.aaph.org
  • The Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis: www.sceh.us/index.html

Safety Issues

In the hands of a competent practitioner, hypnotherapy should present no more risks than any other form of psychotherapy. These risks might include worsening of the original problem and temporary fluctuations in mood.

Contrary to various works of fiction, hypnosis does not give the hypnotist absolute power over his subject. However, as with all forms of psychotherapy, the hypnotherapist does gain some power over the client through the client’s trust; an unethical therapist can abuse this.

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