Clinical hypnotherapy for anaesthesia has been used by surgeons since the 1840s, when it was pioneered by Scottish surgeon James Braid. Other surgeons soon began using it too, including Briton John Elliotson, who was the author of “Surgical Operations in the Mesmeric State without Pain” (1843), and another Scot, James Esdaile, who performed many operations using hypnosis, and noted that his patients experienced ‘a complete suspension of sensibility to external impressions of the most painful kind.’
Using clinical hypnotherapy, it is possible to relax part, or all of the body, so completely that no sensation of any kind can be felt. Once that has been achieved, clinical hypnotherapy methods can then be further used to distract the patients mind away from the surgical procedure which is being carried out; be it injections, biopsy aspirations, or full medical operations and dental surgery. As long as the mind stays intently focussed on something other than the medical procedure or surgery, the client will feel nothing at all. It is as effective as clinical anesethesia, and can promote far quicker post-operative healing.
One consultant anaesthetist, Dr Jean Joris, 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 bleeding decreases.” He went on to explain that when blood vessels dilate, the blood flow is increased due to a decrease in vascular resistance. Therefore, dilation of arteries and arterioles leads to an immediate decrease in arterial blood pressure, and the heart rate. When the muscles are relaxed, and the patient is bleeding less, the surgeon’s job becomes infinitely easier.
One has to pay conscious attention to pain for it to hurt. If one distracts oneself from the pain, by focussing on a different sensation, or a more pleasant experience, the pain will diminish. Using clinical hypnotherapy one can eliminate the sensation of pain altogether.
Many military surgeons have experimented with clinical hypnotherapy for pain, often out of necessity. At Changi prisoner of war camp in Singapore in 1945, the English surgeon Michael Woodruff, and a colleague from the Royal Netherlands Forces, used hypnotism as the sole means of anesthesia for a wide range of dental and surgical procedures.
Dr David Rogerson, a consultant anaesthetist at Derby City General Hospital in the UK, uses hypnosis during orthopedic operations such as hip replacements. “Only two out of a hundred of my patients require any additional chemical sedation,” he explained.
Anaesthetists at the Liege Hospital in Belgium, have use ‘hypno sedation’ for more than a decade for more than 4,800 operations.
Hypnotherapy is increasingly being used in dentistry, and is very effective at eliminating dental phobia and teeth grinding (Bruxism) as well as diminishing or eliminating sensation during extractions and fillings. It has also been used to numb the pain of major dental surgery, which would normally be performed under local or general anaesthetic.
Instances where ‘hypnosedation’ is particularly advised include when chemical anaesthetic agents could be harmful to the patient, when it is desirable for the person to be awake to be able to respond to questions or commands, and when a patient’s fear of a general anaesthetic is so great it could pose a health risk in itself.
To prepare for ‘hypnosedation’, a client requires at least four clinical hypnotherapy sessions, focussing on controlling pain, and inducing a state of anesethesia by relaxing the body and the mind completely. By the end of the training, the client will be able to induce a state of self-hypnosis to eliminate pain during surgery.
If you would like to discuss the use of ‘hypnosedation’ for your impending procedure please contact me.