Have you or someone you know suffered from fibromyalgia? It's a painful -- and sometimes debilitating -- condition that can prevent people from participating in normal, everyday activities. But what is fibromyalgia? And is there anything that can be done about it? It may sound strange, but the answer may lay in hypnotherapy.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition in which patients suffer chronic pain on both sides of the body, above and below the waist. It is diagnosed by tender points on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs. Symptoms typically include pain, stiffness, fatigue, and trouble concentrating or remembering (fibro fog). The cause of this disorder is unknown.
While there is no cure for the disorder, there are many treatments and medications. Several studies have shown that a combination of complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM), alongside more conventional treatments, is an effective method of treating fibromyalgia. Among these less conventional treatments is hypnosis.
Hypnotherapy for Fibromyalgia
Hypnosis may sound like voodoo, but it's not. Hypnotherapy is a legitimate treatment method one that many patients with fibromyalgia swear by.
The theory behind hypnosis is that a person is put into a trance-like state of altered awareness, where they are believed to have a heightened responsiveness to suggestion and an ability for deeper concentration.
The Power of Suggestion
Imagination: Imagery is a powerful tool. Picturing a desired outcome often helps it occur. Under hypnosis, a person can give their pain color, shape, even make into a physical object. Through imagery, a person can turn their ailment into something that is physical and manageable. They can envision pain melting away, or as a dark space within them filled by a warm, white light.
Positive Thinking: Whether you think you can, or that you cant, you are usually right (Gerald? Ford). A person suffering from a chronic condition or disease often improves when given the suggestion that a condition is something that can be controlled, rather than something that is to be suffered. A positive suggestion gears the individual's mind towards making life changes, on what can be done to maximize comfort, rather than focusing on the discomfort. For example, if someone is struggling with weight loss, under hypnosis they might receive the suggestion that they enjoy eating fruits and vegetables rather than junk food.
Other Benefits of Hypnosis
Stress Reduction: Some people with fibromyalgia are encouraged to use self-hypnosis, in which they repeat a mantra (a positive statement) over and over to themselves, a kind of meditation. Or they can partake in guided imagery, a form of stress release, in which they're guided through a series of steps that enable them to create relaxing images in their mind. The result of these practices is less stress, which allows a body to heal and feel good.
Improved Sleep: Those suffering from fibromyalgia tend to struggle to get enough sleep, and hypnotherapy can both increase their amount of sleep AND take them into REM sleep, which is essential in feeling rested. In fact, an hour of hypnosis can be as restful as a full nights sleep.
Pain Management: Studies have shown that during a session of hypnosis there is less activity in the areas of the brain that react to pain.
While hypnosis is no cure for fibromyalgia, it can provide, simple but effective means to reduce pain for many people.