Wall Street Journal Article

HEALTH: Hypnosis gaining respectability among doctors, patients
Wall Street Journal

Hypnosis, often misunderstood and almost always controversial, is increasingly being employed in mainstream medicine. Numerous scientific studies have emerged in recent years showing that the hypnotized mind can exert a real and powerful effect on the body. The new findings are leading major hospitals to try hypnosis to help relieve pain and speed recovery in a variety of illnesses. At the University of North Carolina, hypnosis is transforming the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, an often-intractable gastro-intestinal disorder, by helping patients to use their mind to quiet an unruly gut. Doctors at the University of Washington’s regional burn center in Seattle regularly use it to help patients alleviate excruciating pain. Several hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School are employing hypnosis to speed up postsurgical recovery time. In one of the most persuasive studies yet, a Harvard researcher reports that hypnosis quickened the typical healing time of bone fractures by several weeks. “Hypnosis may sound like magic, but we are now producing evidence showing it can be significantly therapeutic,” says David Spiegel, a Stanford University psychologist. “We know it works, but we don’t exactly know how, though there is some science beginning to figure that out, too.” </p><p>Hypnosis can’t help everyone, many practitioners say, and some physicians reject it entirely. Even those who are convinced of its effect say some people are more hypnotizable than others, perhaps based on an individual’s willingness to suspend logic or to simply be open to the potential effectiveness of the process.


These days, legitimate hypnosis is often performed by psychiatrists and psychologists though people in other medical specialties are becoming licensed in it, too. It can involve just one session, but often it takes several — or listening to a tape in which a therapist guides an individual into a trancelike state. Whatever the form, it is increasingly being used to help women give birth without drugs, for muting dental pain, treating phobias and severe anxieties, for helping people lose weight, stop smoking or even perform better in thletics or academic tests. Many health-insurance plans, even some HMOs, now will pay for hypnosis when part of an accepted medical

Pain Relief for Chronic Conditions

Pain Relief and Management for Chronic Conditions

James Duncan, C.Ht.

© 2003

Almost any person can be trained through hypnosis for pain management, to relieve anxiety, regain muscle control and to respond positively to treatment of any kind. Suggestions are given for controlling pain and discomfort if it becomes particularly intense, but leaves the client the ability to experience any natural warning signs that need to be addressed as discomfort is designed to do just that. Once the issue is addressed the discomfort is programmed to disappear. Many people can immediately experience relief in just a few seconds. Hypnotic methods for pain relief are many and varied. The choice of method would depend upon the condition and personality of the client. Attitude is a major influencing factor in the successful use of hypnosis. It is important that the client accepts and expects that relief is possible.

It is often difficult for a client with no personal experience in formal hypnotic induction to accept that relief can be dramatic and quick. Many times a simple exercise in hypnotic relaxation techniques with basic post hypnotic suggestion to illustrate the effectiveness of the session are all it takes to turn the opinion of skeptical or analytical clients. The result is then a change in the belief and expectancy, which is so crucial for success. It is very important to know that at all times it is the client themselves who bring about the changes they desire through the use of their own hyper-focused subconscious mind. It is an exceptionally powerful tool.

In my own work with people facing cancer, Marfan syndrome and other chronic or catastrophic diagnosis, the results are astounding. Pain-free living is attainable. Drug and chemotherapies are often completely free of side effects. Immune function increases, energy increases, sleep is restful and healing, anxiety is virtually eliminated, blood pressure and heart rate are controlled, recover times from surgical procedures are greatly improved, to name just a few of the positive benefits made to the challenges faced by those diagnosed with “catastrophic” illnesses. The only difference that these people have from the average man on the street is that they desire, expect and believe they can find relief in a positive and relaxing way through hypnosis.

I urge everyone to investigate further and experience the benefits of this wonderful tool that requires nothing more than the imagination we were born to explore and enjoy..


James Duncan is a Life Fellow of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association® and serves on the Board of Directors as Chairman of IMDHA Mentoring Programs. He was the first IMDHA Certified Forensic Hypnotist in the State of Michigan and is a Certified Spiritual Hypnotherapist. He is a regular speaker with organizations such as Gilda’s Club and The National Marfan Foundation. He is listed in Who’s Who in America; Who’s Who in Emerging Leaders; Who’s Who in Rising Young Americans. Mr. Duncan has an extensive background in Training the Trainer, How to Handle Difficult People, and Working in Multi-Cultural Environments.

James W. Duncan, C.Ht.

108 East 5th Street, Suite F

Royal Oak, MI 48067





Pain in the Brain

Pain in the brain: It’s not what you imagine

Researchers are one step closer to unravelling the mystery of medically unexplained pain such as chronic low back pain, which continues to baffle doctors. A study exploring the experience of pain in hypnotised volunteers has found that some types of pain which cannot be traced to a medical condition may have its origins in our brains, not in our bodies.

The study by University College London and University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre found that volunteers who felt pain as a result of hypnotic suggestion showed strikingly similar brain activity to those subjected to physical pain via pulses of heat at 49 degrees Celsius.

The study, to appear in the next issue of NeuroImage, also found that when the volunteers were asked to simply imagine that they felt the same pain, they had significantly different brain activity than under hypnotised and physical pain conditions.

Dr. David Oakley, Director of UCL’s Hypnosis Unit, says: “The fact that hypnosis was able to induce a genuine painful experience suggests that some pain really can begin in our minds. People reporting this type of pain are not simply imagining it.”

A separate hypnosis study by Dr Oakley and UCL Professor Patrick Haggard explored the basis of free-will in hypnotised volunteers who were asked to deliberately move their finger, were told their finger would move ‘all by itself’ or had their finger moved for them.

The study, which will appear in the next issue of Consciousness and Cognition, found that volunteers under hypnosis reported that when their finger moved ‘all by itself’ it felt ‘involuntary’ even though they had actually moved it themselves.

Dr. Oakley says: “This study questions the conscious nature of free-will, which is an important issue for society. For example, in legal terms someone may only be considered responsible for a criminal act if it is performed with conscious intention.”

In both studies volunteers were chosen using the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, where those scoring 8 or more out of 12 were selected. Volunteers were hypnotised using a simple procedure involving imagery such as going down stairs or descending in a lift.

Dr. Oakley adds: “Studies such as these, published in reputable scientific journals, provide good evidence that hypnosis has moved out of the Dark Ages and is now recognised as a valuable research tool. Hypnosis offers a safe way of altering a person’s experience of themselves or of the world around them. Brain imaging is another good way of exploring these reported changes – you can’t easily fool a brain scanner.”

Mayo Clinic Staff on Hypnosis

Hypnosis: An altered state of consciousness

By Mayo Clinic staff

Have you ever been totally absorbed while reading a book or cooking or watching a movie? Did you zone out to the point where you didn’t notice what else was going on around you? If so, you have experienced a type of trancelike state or focused attention that’s similar to what happens to you during hypnosis.

Although its medical uses aren’t entirely understood, hypnosis, when provided by a certified hypnotherapist or other qualified clinician, appears to help with a variety of health conditions. These range from helping to control pain to easing the symptoms of asthma. Before considering hypnosis, learn more about how it works, what conditions it may be helpful for and what to look for in a hypnotherapist.


What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis, which is sometimes referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is an altered state of consciousness. This state of consciousness is generally artificially induced and is different from your everyday awareness. When you’re under hypnosis:

Your attention is more focused.

You’re more responsive to suggestions.

You’re more open and less critical or disbelieving.

The purpose of hypnosis as a therapeutic technique is to help you understand and gain more control over your behavior, emotions or physical well-being.


Who is Hypnosis for?

It’s not clear how hypnosis works. However, it appears to affect how your brain communicates with your body through nerve impulses, hormones and body chemicals such as neuropeptides. Hypnotherapists say that hypnosis creates a state of deep relaxation and quiets the mind. When you’re hypnotized, you can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation while blocking out distractions. You’re more open than usual to suggestions, and this can be used to improve your health and well-being.

Hypnotherapy has the potential to help relieve the symptoms of a wide variety of illnesses and conditions. It can be used independently or along with other treatments. For example, it’s one of several relaxation methods for treating chronic pain that has been approved by an independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health.

According to preliminary studies, hypnotherapy can be used to:

  • Treat pain during childbirth and reduce labor time

  • Control bleeding and pain during dental and surgical procedures

  • Relieve cramping and other symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Reduce blood pressure and regulate blood flow
  • Enhance the body’s immune system and ability to fight infection
  • Control nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy
  • Reduce the intensity or frequency of migraine headaches in children and teenagers
  • Treat and ease the symptoms of asthma
  • Hasten the healing of some skin diseases
  • Improve psoriasis and atopic dermatitis

  • Change negative behaviors, such as smoking, bedwetting and overeating

  • Reduce fear, stress and anxiety
  • Eliminate or decrease the intensity of phobias
    • A typical session lasts from 30 to 60 minutes.

    • The number of sessions can range from one to a series of several.

    • You generally bring yourself out of hypnosis at the end of a session.
    • You can usually resume your daily activities immediately after a session.

      Myths About Hypnosis

      If you’ve ever seen a “hypnotist” who uses trance states as entertainment in a stage act, you’ve probably witnessed several of the myths about hypnosis in action. Legitimate clinical hypnotherapy practiced by a qualified professional is not the same process as that performed on stage.


      Myth: When you’re under hypnosis, you surrender your free will. Reality: Hypnosis is a heightened state of concentration and focused attention. When you’re under hypnosis, you don’t lose your personality, your free will or your personal strength.


      Myth: When you’re under hypnosis, the hypnotherapist controls you. Reality: You do hypnosis voluntarily for yourself. A hypnotherapist only serves as a knowledgeable guide or facilitator.

      Myth: Under hypnosis, you lose consciousness and have amnesia. Reality: A small number of people who go into a very deep hypnotic state experience spontaneous amnesia. However, most people remember everything that occurs under hypnosis.

      Myth: You can be put under hypnosis without your consent. Reality: Successful hypnosis depends on your willingness to experience it. Even with voluntary participation, not everyone can be led into a hypnotic state.




    Although hypnosis may have the potential to help with a wide variety of conditions, it’s not a magic bullet. It’s typically used as one part of a broader treatment plan rather than as a stand-alone therapy. Like any other therapy, it can be very helpful to some people and fail with others. It seems to work best when you’re highly motivated and your therapist is well trained and understands your particular problem.

    A variety of hypnotic techniques exists. The approach you choose depends on what you want to accomplish, as well as your personal preferences. Your hypnotherapist may make a recommendation regarding the best technique for your particular situation.


    For example, in one method, a hypnotherapist leads you into hypnosis by talking in gentle, soothing tones and describing images that create a sense of relaxation, security and well-being. While you’re under hypnosis, the hypnotherapist suggests ways for you to achieve specific goals — for example, reducing pain or stress or helping to eliminate the cravings associated with smoking cessation.

    In another technique, once you’re under hypnosis the hypnotherapist helps stimulate your imagination by suggesting specific mental images to see in your mind’s eye. This conscious creation of vivid, meaningful pictures in your mind is called mental imagery, and it’s a powerful way to help bring about what you want to achieve. For example, hypnotherapists can help athletes specifically visualize what they want to accomplish before they perform it physically.

    Self-hypnosis is a third technique. A certified hypnotherapist needs to teach you how to induce a state of hypnosis in yourself. You then can use this skill to help yourself.

    Although hypnotherapists, like other health care practitioners, each have their own style, expect some common elements:



Hypnotism gaining respect in medicine as useful tool

From the November 15, 2002 print edition

Hypnotism gaining respect in medicine as a useful tool

Danek S. Kaus

About a dozen people sit in a dimly lit circle of comfortable chairs. The people are deeply relaxed as they listen to a voice guide them through images designed to promote healthy bodies.
That might sound like a New Age retreat in the mountains, but it’s a classroom at Stanford University. The speaker is Jeanne Fournier, a medical hypnotherapist from Mountain View. She conducts group sessions at Stanford Hospital’s Center for Integrated Medicine as well as at Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Community Breast Health Project.
Once relegated to stage acts and B movies, hypnosis is gaining acceptance as a medical tool that can help the body.
“It is such a gentle, relaxing thing,” Ms. Fournier says. “A lot of the imagery is designed to help people activate the body’s natural resources for health and balance.”
People who have experienced medical hypnosis tend to be able to cope better with their treatment. They often have fewer, milder side effects, such as the nausea caused by chemotherapy and radiation for cancer, according to Ms. Fournier.
In a group setting she gives general suggestions for well-being. “Not everyone is dealing with the same issues,” Ms. Fournier says.
When she works with individuals in her office, she addresses specific health problems and makes a tape of the session that clients can use at home to reinforce the suggestions.
“The feedback I get from people is that they feel hypnosis has played a significant role in their healing,” Ms. Fournier says. “It gives them a sense of control that they are doing something to help the healing. It really improves the effectiveness of the medical treatment, the quality of life and even their mental well-being.”
The Center for Integrative Medicine uses hypnosis, biofeedback and acupuncture in conjunction with regular medical treatment — not as a substitute, says Thomas Nagy, a staff psychologist. He says hypnosis is a natural state, one we all go into many times a day, but without labeling it as such.
“It is not a trance,” Dr. Nagy says. “I would call it a state of absorption and concentration where you suspend your general reality orientation or your normal way of processing information and probably permit access to other ways of problem solving, including suggestion and imagination.”
We can enter this state while intently focusing on a particular task, while daydreaming, listening to music or watching television.
Hypnosis is not a form of mind control. Dr. Nagy calls it a collaborative exercise in which the therapist and individual agree on the goal. One goal is behavior modification, such as to stop smoking or eating sweets. It also can be used to reduce and even eliminate pain, and some dentists now use it in their practice.
It also helps reduce anxiety and stress. According to Dr. Nagy, stress can make illness worse and bring on its own set of symptoms, including stomach aches, muscle pain and various forms of chronic pain.
“There is increasing scientific evidence of the connection between how the mind functions and body operates,” Dr. Nagy says. “The Chinese have known this for 5,000 years and it is now being discovered by Western medicine.”
The results of hypnosis vary with the person. Some need only a few sessions, others may require many. Dr. Nagy teaches patients self-hypnosis so people don’t have to depend on a hypnotherapist.
Dr. Dan Handel uses hypnosis as a member of the Pain and Palliative Care Service at National Institutes of Health and past president of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. About two-thirds of his patients can significantly modify their
perceptions of pain by altering the neurophysiology of the experience. It is believed that this is done by changing how the brain monitors pain. The patient does not have to stay in a hypnotic state to have relief.
“It is like taking medicine, where you get a pronounced effect for a time and then have to do refresher work,” Dr. Handel says.
Like Dr. Nagy, he says teaching people to reduce stress is a key element of health, but not a magic bullet.
“Every moment of the day our mind and body are speaking together,” Dr. Handel says. “I think of wellness as a real balance of the flow of information.”

Danek S. Kaus is a freelance writer based in Los Altos.

Hypnosis Really Changes Your Mind

Hypnosis really changes your mind
13:28 10 September 04

NewScientist.com news service
Hypnosis is more than just a party trick, it measurably changes how the brain works, says a UK researcher.
Hypnosis significantly affects the activity in a part of the brain responsible for detecting and responding to errors, says John Gruzelier, a psychologist at Imperial College in London. Using functional brain imaging, he also found that hypnosis affects an area that controls higher level executive functions.
“This explains why, under hypnosis, people can do outrageous things that ordinarily they wouldn’t dream of doing,” says Gruzelier, who presented his study at the British Association for the Advancement of Science Festival in Exeter, UK.

The finding is one of the first to indicate a biological mechanism underpinning the experience of hypnosis. Gruzelier hopes it will also benefit emerging research showing, for example, that hypnosis can help cancer patients deal with painful treatments.

Highly susceptible
Gruzelier and his colleagues studied brain activity using an fMRI while subjects completed a standard cognitive exercise, called the Stroop task.

The team screened subjects before the study and chose 12 that were highly susceptible to hypnosis and 12 with low susceptibility. They all completed the task in the fMRI under normal conditions and then again under hypnosis.
Throughout the study, both groups were consistent in their task results, achieving similar scores regardless of their mental state. During their first task session, before hypnosis, there were no significant differences in brain activity between the groups.
But under hypnosis, Gruzelier found that the highly susceptible subjects showed significantly more brain activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus than the weakly susceptible subjects. This area of the brain has been shown to respond to errors and evaluate emotional outcomes.
The highly susceptible group also showed much greater brain activity on the left side of the prefrontal cortex than the weakly susceptible group. This is an area involved with higher level cognitive processing and behaviour.

Stage hypnotists

Gruzelier concludes that, under hypnosis, these brain areas are

Hypnosis In Surgery

Health briefings September 12, 2005

You won’t feel a thing . . .

by Liz Bestic
Hypnosedation may reduce the need for general anaesthetic How amusing it is to see hypnotists make people cluck like chickens or bark like dogs. But while their art is seen by many as a form of entertainment, new research suggests that, medically, there may be a serious role for hypnosis. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) a team of neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have seen hypnosis actually working on the brain. In a study to be published this year, a group of patients with the painful rheumatic condition fibromyalgia were hypnotised to imagine a dial controlling their pain levels.
As Professor Stuart Derbyshire, of the University of Birmingham, who led the study, says: “We asked them to turn the dial up or down and watched what happened on the scan.” As the pain was “turned up”, it registered in those areas in the brain dealing with pain. During hypnosis patients enter a trance-like state in which the conscious mind is bypassed. A common approach is to use music to soothe patients, then to talk them through memories of a favourite place; all other information is blocked out.

Such an approach obviates the need for general anaesthetic, and so may reduce bleeding, postoperative recovery time, as well as potential side-effects of anaesthesia. When Kathleen Duff, a former nurse, had a cystoscopy she opted for hypnosedation, having tried it for a minor hand operation. “I felt absolutely nothing when they put the camera into my bladder. I had very little bleeding, and none of that muzzy feeling you get after an anaesthetic.”
Dr David Rogerson, a consultant anaesthetist at Derby City General Hospital, uses hypnosis during orthopaedic operations such as hip replacements. “Only two out of a hundred of my patients have any additional chemical sedation” that means they are less at risk of aspirating stomach contents into their chest which can result in aspiration pneumonia. Anaesthetists at the Liege Hospital, Belgium, have use hypnosedation for more than a decade in more than 4,800 operations.
Research there shows that patients undergoing thyroid surgery who had hypnosedation needed less pain relief during surgery than those who had general anaesthesia and were able to return to work within ten days, compared with an average of 36 for anaesthetised patients. Dr Jean Joris, a consultant anaesthetist, says the technique not only improves recovery time, but also reduces bleeding and inflammation. “When patients are hypnotised they are more relaxed, which causes dilation of the blood vessels so that bleeding decreases.”
Dr Dirk Hermes, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at University Hospital, Germany, uses hypnosis in combination with local anaesthesia. He says hypnosedation can be useful for patients who have had a bad experience with general anaesthesia. One such patient was told to imagine he was on a beach. “After the operation he said the day had been lovely, but that he’d got terrible sunburn. We’d cut away half his face and that was his only experience of the pain. We can tell when patients are under by the horizontal eye movements and decrease in the heart rate and blood pressure. The face muscles also relax. When we want them to come out of the trance we ask them to move their hand or foot gently and they gradually relocate themselves.”

Hypnosedation has yet to take off in the UK. Dr Rumi Peynovska, the secretary of the British Association of Medical Hypnosis blames this partly on funding, adding: “Putting patients in a trance takes time; the way the NHS is structured does not allow for this.” Professor David Hatch, of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, agrees that time is a factor. “There is also widespread acceptancethat general anaesthesia is very safe. Most anaesthetists would not be opposed to hypnosedation; it’s very safe.”
British Association of Medical Hypnosis bamh.org.uk British Society of Clinical Hypnosis, bsch.org.uk

Hypnosis gains Acceptance in Health Care

Published on 07/21/1997

Hypnosis gains acceptance in health care

By Clyde Noel / Town Crier Staff Writer

Ever go upstairs, or walk in a room, and when you get there you’ve forgotten why you came? Or, maybe you were driving on the freeway and started to daydream and went past your exit and wondered where you were?

Josie Hadley, a longtime resident of Los Altos and a Palo Alto-based hypnotherapist, will tell you everything you ever learned is stored in your subconscious, and when things like that occur, it’s because your conscious mind is free.

“The knowledge required to drive a car exists in your subconscious, and when your conscious mind drifts off, it allows your subconscious to become more active,” Hadley said. “You may become so engrossed in your thoughts that your conscious mind will drift off allowing your subconscious to become more active.”

Sound complicated? Not to Hadley. That form of hypnosis is gaining momentum and being accepted as part of the evolution of our health care system.

In 1977 Hadley developed the Palo Alto School of Hypnotherapy which offers training in professional hypnotherapy. This is her 20th anniversary of being in business, and her course has been approved by the State of California and the Department of Secondary Education for 20 years. Her first class had 20 students. The six-week course she teaches now is approved by the National Board for Hypno-anesthesiology.

“People who take the course are usually in mid-life and have finished their career. They raised their kids and are now looking for something more fulfilling and more giving from the heart,” Hadley said.

For more than 20 years, Hadley has helped clients with stress reduction, weight control, smoking cessation, phobias and improving athletic performance through hypnosis. But new challenges are presented every day.

During those 20 years she has specialized in pain control and preparation for pre- and post-surgical procedures at El Camino and Stanford hospitals. Hadley is the director of the California Institute for Medical Hypnosis.

“Hypnosis can be a powerful tool for surgical procedures in the pre-operative, intra- (during surgery) and postoperative phases,” Hadley said. “Learning self-hypnosis can help surmount periods of private distress and motivate a patient to actively participate in his or her own recovery.”

Hadley explained that prior to surgery, hypnosis can reduce fear, anxiety and tension and increase confidence by developing a positive state of mind.

John, a volunteer in one of her seminars, was facing a four-hour surgery for prostate cancer and was eager to learn techniques for controlling pain, minimizing bleeding and hastening his recovery.

Several students worked with John to decrease his anxiety and fear of the operation. After the seminar he reported feeling calm, positive and empowered. Several days after surgery, John called the instructor to describe his experiences. He reported feeling no fear or anxiety whatsoever as he went into the operating room. He used the hypnotic techniques learned at the seminar to minimize bleeding and discomfort.

Hypnotherapy is going beyond the smoking and weight control programs by moving into the medical field and working with people’s personal problems, Hadley said.

“We help the mind overcome personal objection and help control a person’s life,” Hadley said. “Our students work at Stanford and El Camino hospitals with people who have cancer, and with those in remission.”

Hadley has trained nurses to use specialized hypnotic techniques for pain control, pre- and post-surgery anxiety reduction and relaxation for patients. In the medical hypnosis course, the students do field trips to hospitals and medical centers and offer their services for no charge.

The Palo Alto School of Hypnotherapy is located at 2443 Ash Street, Suite D, in Palo Alto.For more information, call 321-6419.

Hypnosis for Pain and Anxiety by Anne Spencer

An alternative tested in the procedure room.
by Anne H. Spencer, Ph.D.
A Prospective, randomized trial described in the April 29, 2000, Lancet evaluated the effectiveness of hypnosis – termed “nonpharmacologic analgesia” – in easing pain and anxiety associated with undergoing minimally invasive surgical procedures such as angiograms and angioplasties (which require catheterization of arteries), nephrostomies (kidney drainage), and liver biopsies. The researchers randomly assigned 241 patients treated in a radiology unity at a university hospital to one of three groups: standard treatment, structured attention, and hypnosis (or self-hypnotic relaxation). The standard treatment group received care typical for the hospital, i.e., nurses did their best to comfort patients. In both the structured attention and hypnosis groups, a specially trained member of the procedure room team attentively responded to patient comments and concerns, carefully avoiding statements or questions that could upset the patient (e.g., “How bad is your pain?” or “you’ll feel a sting and burn now”). The hypnosis group also listened to a script during the procedure that instructed them to roll their eyes upwards and close them, breathe deeply, and concentrate on the sensation of floating. They then were talked through a process of focused imagery directing their attention away from pain and anxiety and toward a “safe and comfortable” place. All interactions were videotaped to make sure protocol was followed. Patients rated their pain and anxiety before surgery and every 15 minutes during it, according to a standardized pain scale. They were given a button to alert the attending nurse whenever they wanted medication for pain or anxiety. In only a few cases did medical personnel override patient drug requests, such as when blood pressure fell below or exceeded desirable levels. Results encouraging

The researchers- Elvira Lang, M.D., Director of Interventional Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Boston, and colleagues-found several indications that hypnosis was more effective and safer than either of the controls. Procedures in the hypnosis group needed less time to complete than those in the attention group, and even less time than those in the standard group. Patients in the hypnosis group used less than half the amount of drugs as the standard treatment group and about the same as the attention group. After an hour of procedure time, pain and anxiety were lowest in the hypnosis group, in between in the attention group, and highest in the standard group, regardless of the amount of drugs given. And finally, in a surprising finding, only the hypnosis group remained “hemodynamically stable,” meaning blood pressure and heart rate did not increase or decrease to levels that caused concern or required extra attention in the procedure room. According to a separate analysis of the data, using hypnosis reduced the cost of I.V. sedation in the procedure room by $130 per patient. In addition, hypnosis cut procedure room time by 17 minutes, even though the self hypnotic relaxation technique itself required 10 minutes to administer. In addition, hypnosis had a long-lasting effect on pain and anxiety; study researchers observed that even four hours after the start of the procedure, hypnotized patients were doing much better. And the longer the procedure lasted, the greater the difference was between the standard care and hypnosis groups. This study did verify that hypnosis might be used for procedures that cause pain and anxiety such as angioplasties, colonoscopies, and MRI. Self-hypnotic relaxation brings a safe and cost-saving protocol to the hospital procedure regimen.

Submitted by Anne H. Spencer, Ph.D. Editors note: Dr. Anne H. Spencer is the president and director of Infinity Institute International, Inc., a state licensed post secondary school to teach HYPNOSIS as an occupation, in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA. She is the founder of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association®. For more information you may reach her at Infinity Institute 4110 Edgeland, Suite 800 * Royal Oak, MI * 48073-2285 * 248/549-5594 to read more Articles of Interest go to <http://www.infinityinst.com>

Hypnosis and Religious Faith by Paul Durbin


by Chaplain Paul G. Durbin, Ph.D. Durbin before a lecture on “Hypnosis and Religion” A few years ago, I read an article in Family Weekly titled, “Boom Days For Devil Hypnosis” Hearing that title: what ideas, images, thoughts come to you? Thought the article had what I considered a very negative title, it was a very positive article on hypnosis in the health care field. The only reference to the devil was in the last paragraph, “Some conservative religious groups consider hypnosis to be the work of the devil.”Hypnosis is mistakenly viewed as mind control or demonic by many misinformed people. Recently I received a physician consult to work with a woman for pain management. As I explained the process of relaxation, imagery and hypnosis; I could see that she was very responsive. As I concluded my pre-talk, she said, “I am really looking forward to this experience, but I need to tell you that my daughter is a self-proclaimed born-again Christian and she may say something negative to you about this. If so, do not pay any attention to her, for I am the one who is hurting and I want this.”As I completed the induction, the phone rang. I told the patient, “Just allow the ringing of the phone and my answering it to add to your relaxation.” I answered the phone, “This is Mrs. Doe’s room. As she is in therapy, please call back in 30 minutes.” and hung up the phone.When the procedure was completed, I walked out of the room and there was her daughter standing in front of the door with arms folded over her chest. She said, “What have you been doing to my mother?” I explained that I had thought her mother relaxation, self-hypnosis and pain reduction. She responded, “I am a born-again Christian.” Before she could continue, I raised my hands and said, “Praise the Lord, so am I.” She was speechless, so I continued, “I will bring you some information on hypnosis, but regardless of how you feel about hypnosis, your mother has found it very helpful in the reduction of pain.”Some would say that there is no place in religion for hypnosis. I believe that hypnosis and religious faith can work hand in hand to bring about a better life. Jesus said in St. John 10:10, “I am come you may have life and have it more abundantly.” Though the title of this presentation is “Hypnosis and Religious Faith”, I will be dealing primarily with “Hypnosis and Judo-Christian faith.” Whether you are a Christian or not, whether you are religious or not, many of your clients come to you as religious people, most of whom will have a Judo-Christian background. The better you understand the client’s religious history, the better you can relate to that person and help that person.In our study of hypnosis and religious faith let us look at the history of hypnosis. Now I am not going to review the entire history of hypnosis, but would like to point out those incidents that relate to religion. What is the first written record of the use of hypnosis? The first written recorded use of hypnosis is found in the book of Genesis 2:21-22, “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon man, and while he slept, took one of his ribs and closed up in its place with flesh, and the rib which God took from man. He made woman and brought her to the man.” In this incident, God used hypnosis as an anesthesia so that Adam felt no pain during the removal of his rib.In addition to the reference in Genesis, mention of hypnotic techniques is found in other ancient sources concerning the Egyptian “Sleep Temples.” In the temples, Egyptian priest used hypnotic-like procedures to improve health. These temples were so popular that they spread to Grease and Asia Minor.Chaplain W. Leo Peacock gives a number of New Testament illustrations of hypnosis in his paper “Religious Hypnosis and Personal Control.” Chaplain Peacock makes a point with his interpretation of Matthew’s account of Joseph’s dream concerning taking Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:20-25). When Joseph discovered that Mary was expecting a child, he decided to break his engagement for he knew that the child was not his. The story told of an “angel” or “messenger” coming to Joseph in a dream. In this dream, the angel told Joseph to marry Mary. Upon waking, Joseph did as the angel suggested. Peacock writes that this is a clear description of an individual being hypnotized and while under hypnosis being given a post-hypnotic suggestion which he immediately acts upon as soon as he came out of the hypnotic trance.

Paul speaks of going into a trance while praying in the temple (Acts 22:17). Peter “fell into a trance” and from that experience came to see that God loved all people and accepts all people who come to him. Peter had been invited to the home of a centurion who was devout in his faith, but was not Jewish. At that time, it was religiously unlawful for Peter to visit the centurion’s house. After the dream, Peter went to visit the centurion (Acts 10:1-48). The practice of “laying on of hand,” mentioned in the Bible, uses some of the techniques of hypnosis. In the book of Acts (28:8) we read, “And it came about that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him.” Elsewhere in the book of Acts, there is a reference to an apostle looking into the eyes or gazing into the eyes of a person which resulted in the person being healed. “This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who when he had fixed his gaze upon him, and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he leaped up and began to walk.” (Acts 14:9-10)Father Hell, in the Eighteenth Century, two Roman Catholic priest used hypnotic procedures and gained a reputation as healers. Due to their influence on Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer, they played a significant role in the history of hypnosis. Father Gassner would have those desiring to be healed brought into a room where they were told to wait. As their expectations mounted, Father Gassner would then majestically enter the room, lower his cross on the head of a patient and command him to sleep. The patient would collapse and upon command would rise praising God for healing. Father Hell used hypnotic techniques and metal plates. He believed that illness occurred when the magnetism of the body was out of polarization. He would have his patients lie down and pass mental plates over them. His suggestions and the passes of the metal plates seemed to cure those who came to him for healing.The modern history of hypnosis is considered to begin with Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer (1735-1815) who was greatly influenced by Father Gassner and Father Hell. Mesmer came to the conclusion that it was the metal in Father Gassner’s cross that caused the cures as well as the religious significance of the cross. If the metal in the cross could bring cures, perhaps any metal could be used for healing. With this information and experiments conducted by Father Hell in mind, Mesmer began to develop his theory of “Animal magnetism.”In the middle of the 1800’s, three doctors: Elliotson, Esdaile and Braid, who coined the word “hypnosis,” used hypnosis in their medical practice. Both Elliotson and Esdaile performed many surgeries with only hypnotic anesthesia. It has been reported that the mortality rate for major surgery was about 50%. Of several hundred people operated on by Esdaile (using hypnosis) mortality dropped to 5% and in none of the fatal cases was the death an immediate outcome of surgery.Dr. James Esdaile (1808-1859) wrote that (1) hypnosis is a natural God-given method of healing. (2) The power produced by the unconscious mind of one under hypnosis is similar both in quality, character and degree with the power of the creator. (3) All men have within them special power given by God, the power of hypnosis — to direct their movement and provide for themselves. Doctors Mesmer, Elliotson, and Esdaile were condemned by their fellow doctors for their use of hypnosis. At Dr. Esdaile’s trail, one doctor said that the use of hypnosis was sacrilegious because God meant for people to feel pain. In recent years, hypnosis has become more acceptable, but we still have those who question its usefulness and others who mistakenly see it as a tool of the devil. One of our jobs is to enlighten those who doubt and convince those who oppose so that more people may benefit be the use of hypnosis for a better life.The foundation of my work in hypnotherapy is based on what I refer to as the human trinity. Whether you are a Christian or not, you would probably know what I meant if I referred to the Holy Trinity: God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I also believe in the human trinity. Each one of us is a trinity within himself or herself. I’m a trinity, you’re a trinity. What is the human trinity? We are made up of body, mind and spirit. We are physical, emotional and spiritual being. These three aspects of our being are so different and yet so integrated that one part of the human trinity can not be affected without having some effect on the other two. If you have a physical problem, it affects you spiritually and emotionally. If you have a spiritual problem, it affects you physically and emotionally. If you have an emotional problem, it affects you spiritually and physically.With this understanding of the human trinity, hypnosis can be used as a bridge between the conscious and subconscious mind. Though you only have one mind, you have two parts to your mind: conscious and subconscious. The conscious mind is the logical, reasoning, analytical two plus two part of the mind. The conscious part of the mind makes up about 10% of your thinking power. The subconscious part of the mind makes up about 90% of your thinking power. It does not think logically and is concerned with bringing about your deepest wishes, desires and expectation even if they are contrary to logic and your own well-being. The subconscious mind does not care if your body hurts but rather that your deepest needs are met. If your greatest need is for affection and the only time you experience affection is when your are sick, you may get sick in order to receive the affection you need. This occurs even though you don’t like being sick and the reason is unknown. It is interesting to note that the subconscious mind can not tell the difference between a wish and a fear. If a fear become dominate, the fear is received by the subconscious mind as wish.
A woman was in the hospital because she had lost the use of her right arm. As she had gone trough many test and none had showed any reason for the cause of her problem, I was consulted. Through counseling, it was discovered that she had been physical abused, not sexually abused as a child. As a young child, as a teenager, as a young wife and mother, she vowed that she would “never ever” hit her child in anger. She had a five-year-old son and she had disciplined him when needed, but she had never hit him in anger. A few days before coming to the hospital, her little five-year-old song had been especially aggravating. He did one more thing and in anger, she hit him. As this was such a shock to her, her subconscious mind protected her against hitting her child any more by making her arm useless.As I felt that she needed to experience forgiveness, I used the following imagery. I suggested that she visualize herself walking down a country road. “On your back is a heavy backpack, but there is nothing in that backpack that you need for this journey. In fact, that heavy backpack contains the guilt you have been holding on to since you hit your son. God has forgiven you. He is telling you that you can now forgive yourself. You can be free of the heavy backpack. It is a decision for you to make. If you are ready to be free of that heavy load of guilt, one of your fingers will rise indicating that you have released the backpack and your guilt.The first finger of her right hand jerked upward and I said, “The backpack with all your guilt is gone. God has forgiven you and you have forgiven yourself. You are forgiven.” I added the following post-hypnotic suggestion, (Note: I seldom use negative words in suggestions but this time I used some of her own words.) “Since as a little girl, teenager, young wife and mother you vowed that you would ‘never ever’ hit your child in anger and because of the trauma you have experienced, you need ‘never ever’ hit your child in anger again, therefore you have no need to be paralyzed. She left the hospital two days later completely cured.Each one here comes with his/her own history: religiously, personally, and professionally. I come to you as a Christian Minister who looks upon hypnosis as a valuable tool of counseling. Coming from a religious profession and working in a church related hospital, I am often asked, “Why does one of religious faith need hypnosis?” or “How can you use hypnosis? Isn’t there a conflict between religious faith and hypnosis?” I believe that these questions can be responded to by referring to the statement of Jesus in John 10:10, “I am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” Hypnosis is one of the gifts of God which help people experience the “more abundant life.”Hypnosis is neither anti-religious nor pro-religious. It can be used for good or bad depending on the hypnotist and the subject. Today, most religious groups accept the proper ethical use of hypnosis for helping people. Exceptions are Christian Science, Seventh-Day-Adventist and some individuals of various churches. In recent years, the Seventh-Day-Adventist have lessened their resistance by using relaxation therapy and suggestion therapy. A hypnotist by the name of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby greatly help Mary Baker Eddy overcome an illness and she used many of his teachings and techniques in developing the Christian Science Church. Though Quimby used hypnosis to help her, she denounced hypnosis while using its techniques. Though many in various churches opposed to hypnosis are using the principles of hypnosis (relaxation, concentration, suggestion, repetition) in their healing services, they denounce hypnosis. For those who oppose hypnosis on religious grounds, I remind them of the words of Baptist Van Helmont, “Hypnosis is a universal agent … and is a paradox only to those who are deposed to ridicule everything and who ascribe to Satan all phenomena which they cannot explain.”

Then Roman Catholic Church has issued statements approving the use of hypnosis. In 1847, a decree from the Sacred Congregation of The Holy Office stated, “Having removed all misconceptions, foretelling of the future, explicit or implicit invocation of the devil, the use hypnosis is indeed merely an act of making use of physical media that are otherwise licit and hence it is not morally forbidden provided it does not tend toward an illicit end or toward anything depraved.”The late Pope Pius give his approval of hypnosis. He stated that the use of hypnosis by health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment is permitted. In 1956, in an address from the Vatican on hypnosis in child birth the Pope gave these guidelines. (1) Hypnotism is a serious matter, and not something to be dabbled in. (2) In its scientific use the precautions dictated by both science and morality are to be used. (3) Under the aspect of anesthesia, It is governed by the same principles as other forms of anesthesia. This is to say that the rules of good medicine apply to the use of hypnosis.Except for exceptions noted, no other Protestant or Orthodox Churches have any laws against the proper-ethical use of hypnosis. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no opposition to the use of hypnosis in the Jewish faith when it is used for the benefit of mankind. Many of the Eastern Faiths: Buddhism, Yoga, Shintoism, Hinduism and others approve the use of hypnosis and they often use hypnosis in their worship. The Moslem religion has no opposition to hypnosis that I have been able to discover.In his book Angels of Light, Herbert E. Freeman includes hypnosis as one of the practices which are commended by God. He quotes Deuteronomy 18:9 following in which God warns, “Thou shalt not learn to do after the abomination of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone … that useth divination (fortuneteller), or an observer of times (Soothsayers), or an enchanter (magician), or a consorter with familiar spirits (medium, possessed with a spirit, or spirit guide), or a witch (sorcerer), or a charmer (hypnotist) or a wizard (clairvoyant or psychic), for all that do these thing are an abomination unto the Lord.” The words in parenthesis are Mr. Freeman’s inserts.I feel that Mr. Freeman has misinterpreted much in these verses and especially the interpretation of “charmer” as “hypnotist.” The Interpreter’s Bible states that “charmer” refers to those who conjure up magical spells. The Pulpit Commentary reads, “A charmer is a dealer in spells, one who by means of spells or charms pretends to achieve some desired results. The verb here used primarily means to bind, and the species of magic indicated is probably that practiced by binding certain knots, whereby it was supposed that the curse or blessing, as the case maybe, was a bond on its object. This was accomplished apparently by incantations … A species of incantations known to Romans consisted in tying knots with threads of different colors, there in number, which was supposed to become a bond to secure the object.”In their book, The Holy Spirit and You, Dennis and Rita Bennett have shown a profound dislike and misunderstanding of hypnosis by declaring, “Hypnosis is particularly dangerous because it is thought to be a valid form of therapy in psychology and psychiatry, or an alternative anesthesia in medicine and dentistry”. The Bennett add, “The fact is the hypnotist, by placing the soul in a passively receptive state even when the hypnotist has no such intention, opens the door to morbid spiritual influences that my bring oppression that lasts for years. Until the person is delivered by prayer and exorcism … Do not allow yourself the by hypnotized for any reason whatsoever.” By these statement, the Bennett’s show their prejudice and total misunderstanding of hypnosis. If their interpretation is correct, the Bennett’s should also be concerned about prayer, meditation, chemical anesthesia, and going to sleep (for that period just before you go to sleep is a natural state of hypnosis) for the individual is in a similar state to hypnosis in all those situations.Jesus indicated by his teachings that we should help people to live life to the fullest and to relieve pain whenever possible. Hypnosis is a means to help people live a better and more abundant life and is a means of reducing and/or eliminating pain. Would the Bennett’s suggest that we should not use chemical anesthesia for surgery because we might open our mind to evil spirits? Perhaps they agree with the doctor at Dr. Esdaile’s trail who stated the the use of hypnosis as an anesthesia was sacrilegious because God meant for people to feel pain?In their book, Hypnosis and Christianity, Martin and Deidra Bagdon show their lack of knowledge when they wrote, “Before hypnotism becomes the new panacea from the pulpit, followed by a plethora of books on the subject; its claims, methods and long-term results should be considered. Arthur Shapiro has said, ‘One man’s religion is another man’s superstition, and one man’s magic is another man’s science.’ Hypnosis has become science and medicine for some Christians with little proof of its validity, longevity of its results or understanding of its nature. Because so many unanswered questions about its usefulness and so many potential dangers about its usage, Christians would be wise to shun hypnosis.” I ask, “What unanswered questions about its usefulness and what are the potential dangers?”The Bagdon’s should be reminded that people have been harmed by the misuse of the Christian religion as well as all other religions. Should one not to be a Christian because some have misused it. Should one not go to a Christian healer because some Christian healers have misused the concept for their own gain? The Bagdon’s’s apparently have not studied hypnosis or have not studied it without bias, or the would not be afraid of its use. If studied and understood, they might even come to appreciate the value of hypnosis. Many of God’s gifts have been used incorrectly, but that should not distract from the gift when used for the benefit of mankind and to the glory of God. God blesses all our activities that are beneficial to people.Hypnosis should not be condemned as anti-religious just because some people misuse it. Some oppose hypnosis because the say it is used by the occult, but do they condemn prayer because prayer is used for occultic purposes? Hypnosis can be a very helpful tool in counseling. Without apology and when appropriate, hypnosis can be used for growth, health and the benefit of people.

In an address to the National Association of Clergy Hypnotherapist, Reverend Fred R. Krauss reported that religion has traditionally used hypnotic techniques in a variety of ways. The atmosphere of the religious service is geared to the induction of the trance state. The architecture, decor and religious symbols have a profound spiritual effect on believers. The alter, cross and flickering candles provide a fixation point for concentration and medication. In prayer, most Christians bow their head and close their eyes which can be a very similar experience to hypnosis.While preparing for this seminar and coming from a Methodist background. It was interesting to learn that the the use of eye closure in prayer probably began with the revivals of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodism. Because Wesley was not allow to preach in the pulpit of most of the established churches, he began to preach outside. Deprived of the usual eye fixation points provided by the religious symbols (candles, crosses, altars, etc.) and bothered by the discomforts and distractions of the open-air gatherings, the preacher had to rely on enthusiasm and other means to hold the audience’s attention. “Bow your heads and close your eyes” became a regular part of the services. The practice became standardized and s not used throughout most Christian churches.Reverend Krauss continues by stating that it has been said that prayer and medication were the nicest hypnotic inductions of all. Everything is there that should be, including a harmony of body, mind, and spirit that enhances our communication with God. By assuring the appropriate posture, closing eyes, bowing heads, listening and responding with, “Amen.” Praying in silence draws attention from the outer tot he inner world of reality. In the sermon, the pastor uses voice inflections, modulations and repetitive ideas with anecdotes, Bible stories, and other illustrations.Prayer and medication are traditional Christian disciplines that parallel what we call auto-suggestion. Of course, the auto-suggestions are not the only aspects of prayer for through prayer, we are able to open our minds to God. When we are open and responsive, prayer is basically communication with God. If I understand Reverend Krauss, he is pointing out that the use of hypnotic procedures in worship and Christian experience is blessed by God.During counseling and hypnotherapy, I often tell a story to bring home a point or allow the client hearing the story to come to his or her own meaning to the story. Roger Ring in a seminar conducted at a past College of Chaplains convention called these “Parables, Metaphors, and Healing Stories.” Jesus often spoke in parables or used stories which still bring to mind vivid word pictures which teaches something important about life.The writer of Proverbs 23:7 states that as a person thinketh in his/her heart so is he/she. St. Paul wrote, “Whatsoever man soweth that shall he reap.” (Gal 6:7) This says to me that what is shown by the conscious mind through thoughts and images into the subconscious mind tends to become a reality. Mental images give the subconscious mind a model to work towards: good or bad. Illustration: Think back to a time when you were angry; feel it, experience it and let it go. Think back to a time when you were really happy; feel it, experience and keep it. By thought, you make feelings present again. The use of positive imagery improves life and health.Until there is an image in the mind there can be no reality. All great inventions began with a thought in the mind. The inventor was able to visualize or image the invention before he could bring it to reality. The same is true of great music, great writing, great living. The author of Proverbs 28:18 also wrote that where there is no vision, the people parish.If you listen to the broadcast of al baseball, football or basketball game, you have surely heard the announcer say, “It’s a brand new ball game!” If you are a sports fan, you know the announcer means that the score is tied. It is like starting over again. The past is still there , but we can begin where we are. In a baseball game, if a team ties the score in the sixth inning, they do not go back to the first inning to start over again. For they keep playing from where they are. See we began where we are, but with the proper use of relaxation, imagery, hypnosis and hopeful expectation comes a “brand new ball game.”In the years ahead, may those who discount hypnosis, come to see its value. May those who oppose hypnosis on religious grounds come to view it as a gift of God to help us attain the more abundant life.Jesus said, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to teach the gospel to the poor. He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (Luke 4:18) Following this guidance and with the proper use of hypnosis; we can heal the brokenhearted, bring deliverance to those in captivity to pain, fear, and phobias; give sight to the emotionally and spiritually blind, and set at liberty those who are bound by unwanted habits. As members of different denominations and religions, let us j