Some medical pioneers in the study and utilization of information regarding mind-body medicine are writing books and spreading the word about how we can change our health and heal disease through our thoughts -doctors such as Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Christiane Northrup, Bernie Siegel, and Herbert Benson.
Such techniques are finally garnering the attention of the AMA and medical facilities and schools. The benefits of stress management workshops in maintaining health and reversing such conditions as ulcerative colitis, chronic headaches, heart disease, and cancer have been acknowledged by doctors as well as employers, and are now routinely taught in most major medical facilities and covered by many health insurance companies.
In addition to helping with the preparation or effects of whatever medical procedures are employed to eliminate cancer in one’s body (surgery, chemo/radiation), there are many things hypnosis can do to help a person increase the likelihood of a positive outcome–from utilizing visualization techniques in order to increase immune system function, to boosting self-esteem and a feeling a control over the cancer and your recovery.
Visualization has been successfully utilized for many years to fight cancer in the body. Dr. Bernie Siegel is perhaps the most well-known proponent of its use. His classic best-seller, Love, Medicine, and Miracles, recounts stories of his cancer patients who have triumphed over their illness by using the power of their minds. There are numerous accounts of people who have had “spontaneous” healing, such as having their cancer shrink or even “disappear” on x-rays taken after invoking prayer or visualization techniques. Though medically “unexplainable,” these accounts are, nevertheless, real. With hypnosis, visualization techniques can be made even more powerful because they are presented directly to the subconscious mind, which is the agent of change.
Professionals in the fields of hypnosis and behavioral medicine believe that producing feelings of calm and relaxation allows the immune system to function at a maximum level, aiding the fight against cancer. Although research evidence is still anecdotal and limited, many other health professionals also believe that hypnotic imagery may enhance immune system functioning, and there is encouraging research underway that is giving us hopeful news about our ability to enhance cellular immunity. Psychoneuroimmunology is beginning to identify factors such as stress, depression (vs. laughter), and loneliness (vs. social support) that seem linked to diseases like cancer and impede the healing process.
With serious illnesses such as cancer, an emotional toll is also exacted upon the patient. A loss of security, control, self-esteem, and lifestyle can cause feelings of helplessness, vulnerability, and depression. The use of hypnosis can allow the person to feel a sense of control over their illness and recovery by taking proactive steps in deciding what course of treatment they are willing to use, working to visualize a positive and reasonable outcome, assisting their body in the healing process, and reducing negative side effects and pain.
At the very least, hypnosis offers many cancer patients physical as well as emotional relief from the fallout of being diagnosed with cancer, thus providing a higher quality of life and reserving energy for the important healing work that lies ahead.
Some of my most rewarding sessions have been working with cancer patients to prepare them physically, emotionally, and even spiritually for what lies ahead in their healing and improve their chances of recovery. If you or someone you know is currently dealing with this issue, read some of my cancer clients’ testimonials on my website at hypnocoachlisa.com/Testimonials.html and contact me for a free consultation.
Lisa Smith is a Certified Master Hypnotherapist, Wellness Coach, and NeuroLinguistic Programming Practitioner in the Virginia Beach area. She is a sought-after speaker, workshop presenter, and group coaching facilitator for creating health and self-fulfillment.
Her private practice, Life by Design Coaching and Hypnotherapy, offers coaching, hypnosis, NLP, and other options for health and self-improvement. In her 11 years as a hypnotherapist, she has conducted over 8,000 hypnosis sessions with children and adults for weight loss, addictions; stress and anxiety; phobias; childbirth; surgery preparation, cancer, pain management, and other mind-body healing. Sessions can be conducted in person or by phone. Visit her website at hypnocoachlisa.com for contact and other information.
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