Controlling Pain with Hypnosis – Part 2

I promised in part one, where we discussed the phenomenon of pain control and pain management by hypnosis that in part two we’d look at some hypnotic techniques frequently used in this area.

So here I am, back with five proven pain control techniques which you may want to learn to use. Actually, to be honest there are only two techniques described below and I’ve had to extend this into a three part article. I didn’t want to just give a cursory couple of lines to each technique.

You know I like to give examples that really give you an idea of how to use techniques, and I just couldn’t squeeze it all in! So look out for part 3, where you can read about the three other techniques!

In a short article like this I can only touch on the techniques, to highlight them and explain them a little, but I would urge you to look into them in more depth so that you can confidently offer this as part of your service, or if you’re not in professional practice so that you can effectively learn to control and manage pain for yourself.

Hypnosis Techniques For Controlling & Managing  Pain

I do need to just include a reminder that as clinical hypnotists we should never perform analgesia on chronic or acute pain unless it has been diagnosed and suitable medical treatment is also being given. Otherwise we may mask symptoms that indicate a serious underlying problem that needs to be seen to.

  1. The bucket of ice technique – particularly good for hands or feet, and useful in preparation for having a cannula inserted into the back of the hand or wrist: Having induced a hypnotic trance, and while suggesting that the client continues to relax, suggest that they are beginning to lose the feeling in the limb in question. Suggest that it feels heavier and heavier, and then that the loss of feeling is almost as though they have put their hand into a bucket of ice.

Just imagine that now… that your hand is sitting in a bucket of ice… and notice the strange, cold, numb feeling of having your hand in that bucket of ice. You might remember how your hands felt when you were a child playing in the snow… your hand gradually getting more and more frozen… so cold, more and more numb. Feel the strange, tingling numbness of the ice around your hand until you can hardly feel your hand at all. And when you’re hand feels completely numb, just raise a finger on your other hand to tell me….

At this stage you would want to test lightly for analgesia, continuing to deepen the trance and suggest further analgesia if necessary. If the client does have feeling in their hand, you can suggest, “but you do feel less in this hand than the other, don’t you?” tapping the other hand to compare it with the “numb” hand. They will usually agree that there is some difference between the two, and you can use that to convince them that the hypnosis is beginning to work.

  1. Glove anesthesia – fantastically useful in medical and dental hypnosis because it can be used to invoke numbness in any part of the body…

Relax the client, inducing an hypnotic trance in the normal way. Then your session might sound something like this:

Now I’d like you to concentrate on your right hand (usually the dominant hand is selected, depending on whether the client is right or left handed – you’ll see why later)…. And as you concentrate on that hand, you can notice little things like which parts feel warm and which feel cold. You might feel the arm of the chair under your fingers or the cool air moving against your palm… and as you concentrate on your right hand, you’ll notice a feeling of heaviness developing in it… concentrating on it seems to make it feel even more relaxed… and this makes it feel heavier… Just nod your head when your hand begins to feel heavy (or raise a finger on your left hand… whatever pre-arranged or commonly used signal you have agreed).

And now, as you keep concentrating on that hand, and as I stroke the back of that hand, you’ll notice it’s becoming numb… gradually you can feel less and less as I stroke it… (ask the client to indicate when they begin to feel the numbness) That’s right… it becomes more and more numb, almost like it’s going to sleep… it’s a pleasant, relaxed feeling … it would be far too much effort to move even one finger of that hand…it’s a curious feeling… that numbness, like anesthetic spreading through and over and around your hand, into the fingers, the palm and the back of your hand, and even around your wrist… and because of the numbness, although you can feel that I am touching the back of your hand, it’s almost as though you’re wearing a big, thick leather glove… it protects you and stops your hand from feeling anything much at all so even if I were to press lightly here… and here… with a needle, you can feel it, but It’s distant, leathery, as though I were just touching the needle against the thick leather of the glove… the feeling can’t penetrate the leather glove…So you can’t feel any pain when I touch the needle against that hand (initially touch with very light pin-pricks to help to compound the subject’s feeling of numbness)

When your client confirms a high level of numbness, that’s when you can use the “numb” hand to transfer the numbness and analgesia to any part of the body. You simply suggest that they can transfer the feeling of numbness from their hand to whichever part of the body they need to, simply by touching the hand to that part of the body.

The numbness transfers, and the hand returns to normal. This is why the dominant hand is usually used if possible… if a client is strongly one-handed and we induce analgesia in the wrong hand, they would then have to use their weak hand to rest it against the area requiring anesthetic.

While this is something that most people would still manage, the lack of fine motor skills that some people have in their non-dominant hand could lead to them poking themselves in the eye, punching themselves in the face, or transferring the analgesia to not quite the required area!

Controlling Pain with Hypnosis Part 2 Conclusion

Anyway, that’s more than enough to be going on with for now… in the next and final pain control article we’ll be looking at:

  • General pain relief
  • Preparing nervous patients for surgery, dental work or injections
  • Managing chronic pain