I only had 10 minutes left! Ten minutes, before they started slicing and dicing me up!! Time was running out, and there was no escape from the pain that was to follow! Or was there? Had I made the right decision or would I regret this forever? The moment of truth had arrived!
How did it get to this situation? I had only, just a few months earlier, finished a course on Clinical Hypnotherapy, with one of the top hypnotherapists in the country. One of the defining moments in my life that has forever changed me!
I have always been a sporty and keep fit kind of person. I remember when, in my twenties, I regularly walked 1 mile to the gym at 5am in the morning, just to do a 1 hour workout, 5 days a week! Oh the strength and resilience of youth!
So it was with that younger view of me in my mind, that I started to recreate that youthful and stronger version of myself. Or so I thought, only this time with not the same results at all! You see there is such a thing as doing exercises in moderation. In my rush to achieve body perfection, I had unwittingly set off my impending medical dilemma. I had given myself a hernia, that started to grow day by day, until it reached a golf ball sized and painful immediate problem!
As part of my hypnotherapy course, there were many revealing and at times mind-blowing videos, showing certain techniques on how people had overcome painful episodes in their life through using hypnosis. One eye-opening video explaining the use of self-hypnosis and pain control, which intrigued me, had me spell bound! You see he was having a hernia operation without any anaesthetic, using only self-hypnosis to control the pain! Though he had another hypnotist there with him during the operation!
It was with that image burned into my memory, that I decided I would trust in my power to overcome any pain. I was going to have the hernia operation without any anaesthetic! Only this time I had just myself and the power of self-hypnosis to get me through!
You have plenty of time, to think and ponder on the meaning of life, while waiting on your stretcher, to be called into the operating theatre at your appointed time! I had been getting myself in the zone and bringing into play all the techniques and strategies that I had learned to control pain. Was I about to do the right thing? Did I have the courage and determination to do this on my terms?
Finally my time had come and I was wheeled into the operating theatre! It’s amazing all the details you can see around you when your mind and perception are on high alert! I remember the smell and the atmosphere in the room. The almost imperceptible buzz of anticipation and fear of the unknown!
It would have been so easy just to give up and take the anaesthetic, and carry on with the operation, as was normally expected of you. But I had other ideas and I was going to see this through and trust in my mind and determination to successfully control the pain!
I remember, as if it was yesterday, explaining to the surgeon, that I wanted to have the operation without any anaesthetic, using only my self-hypnosis to get me through! The look on the anaesthetist’s face of utter surprise and disbelief spoke volumes. I explained to them that I was a hypnotherapist and I didn’t want to have anything apart from the power of my mind to control any pain and discomfort during the operation.
The surgeon agreed and allowed me 10 minutes preparation time to get myself ready. I gave him the nod and off we went! All I felt was slight pulling and tugging on my skin as the operation got into full swing. It was like a trickle of water, as it flowed over my body, gently caressing my skin and yet reminding me that this was no walk in the park! After 30 minutes we were done and much to the surprise of all involved, without any complications at all! After 1 hours recovery I was sent home, whereas normally you would be kept in overnight for observation.
I came, I saw and I conquered! Self-hypnosis and my mind had won the day in controlling the pain!
So how was I able to do this and feel no after effects? Let me first say, that I had extensive training and dedication to the principles that I used. I am not suggesting that you should disregard any anaesthetic, especially if you had an upcoming operation, but just showing you the power of what is possible, when you are able to tap into the power of your mind to control pain! So here is the procedure that I used, in a shortened version, to control my pain which I use to this very day.
Here is what I used to control the pain:- Just close your eyes and Imagine for now, that you are putting your hand into an ice cold bucket of water. Feel that instant shock of energy as your hand is enveloped in that cold, chilling water. As you get used to that feeling, it’s almost as if your hand is starting to become numb, and that it’s as if you no longer feel your hand or any discomfort or pain associated with that. The pain and discomfort seems to diminish before your eyes. Now take that feeling of numbness and move it to the part of your body that has pain and discomfort. Start to move you hand over the pain, soothing and caressing it until it disappears and is no longer sensitive to pain. Spread that feeling to any part of your body that needs pain relief!
Self-Hypnosis and Pain Relief
Self-hypnotic suggestions can be a particularly useful form of relaxation strategy when managing your pain experience. By using self-hypnosis, it is possible both to transform the pain experience itself and also to change your relationship to that experience.
There are many possible ways of changing our experience of physical sensations. The only limits are the limits of the imagination! Sometimes, it can help to deeply relax ourselves before giving ourselves hypnotic suggestions. Sometimes, just allowing ourselves to go along fully with these suggestions can send us into a trance even without prior deep relaxation.
What is a trance and can anyone experience it?
It’s important to know that trances aren’t special mystical experiences that only qualified hypnotists can induce. In fact, trances are part of our everyday experience. If you’ve ever driven a car and suddenly found that you’ve been driving along for miles on automatic, you’ll know what being in a trance is all about.
Developing skills at self-hypnosis
Becoming really effective and skilled at using self-hypnosis is a matter of practice. The more you practice, the more skilled you become. It helps to experiment with a variety of different approaches to find those that suit you best and in what circumstances each of the approaches is the most useful.
Before you begin, consider seriously the pain that you experience. Is there a good reason why you might want to hold onto it? Is it helping you to get something you want or need, such as attention or rest? Make sure that, if you have been holding onto your pain, you first ensure that you plan other ways of getting what you need. In this way, you will be making sure that you really can make a difference because you really want to make a difference.
When you first begin to practice self-hypnosis, it can be useful to do this at a time when the pain is not too bad. As you become more familiar with self-hypnotic approaches, you will find it easier to use when the pain is more intense. However, acute and intense and prolonged frequent pain should be checked by a doctor if it continues to increase in severity!
It has been found that, through self-hypnosis, the length of time that pain relief lasts increases over time. With perseverance, increasingly long periods of relief from pain can be achieved.
Gaining control over pain in this way may involve using self-hypnosis once or twice a day (mornings and evenings can be especially good times to practice this). Find out through experimenting what works best for you.
It is usually helpful to think in terms of reducing rather than removing pain. So, if you imagine a scale of 1 to 10, if you start from feeling that your pain level is 7, then you might first have the aim of reducing it to 5 or 4. Reaching this level may feel more comfortable. In time, you may find yourself reducing your pain level to 2 or 3. You may find that this feels even better. It is possible to find that your pain reduces to 0. This can be wonderful! Even if you reduce your pain just some of the way, allow yourself to notice the difference between the old level and the new level. Congratulate yourself on the control you have achieved.
Self-hypnotic techniques for pain management: basic approaches
There are many possible techniques and imagery that we can apply to change our physical and emotional experience. You might even find that you already use some of these techniques without even being aware that you are doing so. However, you can make them even more effective if you use them intentionally.
With practice, self-hypnotic techniques can become a very powerful way to transform your experience of pain. Listed below are some of the basic approaches to pain management. Allow yourself to experiment with each of these approaches. You may find that some work well at certain times and others are more useful at other times.
Here are just a few ideas of what you might choose to do in order to transform your experience of pain.
1) Changing your physical experience
Consider some of the ways in which you might be able to change your physical experience by seeing the physical sensations as something other than pain or by minimizing the sensations as trivial or unreal. For example, See yourself as a T.V. or film character (such as Bionic Woman or Robocop) with mechanical limbs that are insensitive to pain.
2) Recalling pain relief
Often, you can make powerful changes to your physical experience of pain by recalling the effect of something which has helped to relieve your pain in the past. For example, Imagine the feeling of ice on the painful area or, on the other hand, you might imagine a feeling of heat. Some people find hot baths or lying down in the sun soothing. So, you might want to recall one of these experiences.
3) Changing your language
Consider some of the ways in which you might describe your physical experience in ways that will change how you think about it. For example, as you notice your pain: Rather than “pain”, describe it as a “sharp sensation”. Rather than “hurting”, describe it as “vibrating”. Rather than ”stabbing”, describe it as “tingling”. Be creative and try out different ways of describing your experience.
4) Calming talk
Often, there are opportunities to use our previous experiences of pain in order to reassure ourselves about our current experience. So, when you are going through a painful experience, you may wish to repeat the following to yourself: “This may be painful for a while but I know that it will subside in time and that I shall feel better afterwards.”
5) Mental Distractions
Often, it can help to focus our minds on other things than painful physical sensations. There are many possible ways of keeping your mind occupied. For example, Remember or imagine being somewhere that is really relaxing for you (such as on a beach or in the countryside, or in your garden). In order to fully give your attention to this experience, use all your senses. See all the things that you’d see, hear all the sounds that you’d hear, smell all the smells, taste all the taste, and feel all the good feelings that you’d feel.
Self-hypnotic techniques for pain management: Advanced tools
Below are some of the most useful types of imagery with pain. Allow yourself to experiment with several of these approaches. Find out through your experiments which work best for you. Allow yourself to be creative. Go beyond these suggestions to discover all that you can do for yourself through self-hypnosis. You might imagine yourself as a tailor, designing a number of different suits or outfits for yourself, making sure that they fit you perfectly and that each is designed in just such a way that it will put you in the best light for each of the situations you might find yourself in.
Gaining control over your pain
Experiment with the following,:-
Example 1: Scan your body…gather any pains that are there into a ball…Begin to change its size…allow it to get bigger…just imagine how big you can make it…now make it smaller…see how small you can make it…is it possible to make it the size of a grain of sand?…change the size in several directions…Now, allow it to move slowly out of your body, moving further away each time you breathe out…Notice what you experience with each breath out, as the pain moves away…see it disappear into the far distance…
Example 2: Be present with your pain…Let it take on a shape, any shape that comes to mind…Become aware of the dimensions of the pain…What is its height?…What is its weight?…What is the depth of the pain?…Give it a colour…And a shape…Feel its texture…Notice whether it makes any sound …let your hands come together with palms turned upwards as if forming a cup…Put this pain object into your hands…Consider how you would change the size and shape and colour and texture of that pain object…Let yourself decide what you would like to do with the pain…Just accept what feels right to you…You might decide to throw the pain away or move it somewhere else or place it back were you found it…And notice how the experience of that pain might be changed through making the decisions that you’ve made.
Self-Hypnosis made me who I am now! Forever changed for the better and loving being my own man! One to one hypnosis, is what I give to my clients, whether that’s to do with pain relief, or other empowering solutions.
I look back with fondness and disbelief, at that pivotal moment in my life. I just knew that I was the master controller of my life, and even pain wasn’t going to rule me! I still remember that first cut, thinking it just felt like water trickling over your skin! Never underestimate the power of your mind! It will always amaze you!!