Hypnosis and Endometriosis
If you suffer from endometriosis then you know just how horrible this condition is. Not only can it create so much pain you can barely function, but it can also leave you feeling exhausted and dispirited as well.
As a result, endometriosis can inhibit your chances of finding a partner, it can impair your ability to have an enjoyable sex life, and it can even make you infertile.
There is even a theory that endometriosis is really just a symptom and that the real problem lies in your immune system. This is because it is condition where the endometrial cells that are only supposed to grow in your uterus, somehow manage to colonize other areas of your body where they do not belong.
And what really makes this condition seem so unfair, is that not only is endometriosis inherently stressful, stress will make it worse. So you get caught in a vicious circle.
Fortunately, hypnosis can help because it is the most effective natural remedy for stress available. It is also the most effective non-pharmacological way to control pain.
However, hypnosis can do more than this, because it can be used to communicate directly with your subconscious mind.
This means that hypnosis can potentially help you to identify the initial cause of this illness. It can also be used to communicate directly with your immune system through the use of sensory-rich visualizations and other techniques. As a result, it might even be able to teach your immune system to adapt and change.
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Endometriosis Fact Sheet
This is a condition where the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) somehow manages to grow outside of the uterus in other places of the body such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries and pelvic cavity, as well as around various abdominal organs such as the kidneys and bowel.
- the best theory is that the endometrium in the uterus thickens at a certain point in a woman's cycle so it is ready to have a fertilized eggs implanted in it. However, if this does not happen then the endometrium peels off and should be flushed out of the body by the menstrual flow. But rather than this happening, some of these cells manage to attach themselves elsewhere and begin growing;
- may be part of an auto-immune problem;
- may be related to an exposure to toxic chemicals;
- may be related to postponing pregnancy and waiting to have children until later in life.
- pelvic pain (especially prior to menstruation);
- pain during sex;
- back pain;
- blood in the urine;
- spotting (when not menstruating);
- problems in the bladder and bowel (if these are affected)
- 30-40% of those who have endometriosis are infertile;
- spontaneous abortions.
How Hypnosis Can Help You
If you have endometriosis, then hypnosis is ideally suited to helping you deal with this condition because:
- it can enhance your innate capacity to heal yourself;
- it can improve your ability to follow sound medical advice and work with your physicians;
- it can help to reduce the amount of medication you require to manage your symptoms;
- it has an analgesic effect and can help to block any pain and discomfort;
- it can help you deal with the emotional component of your illness;
- it can reduce stress, anxiety and other problems that can make the symptoms worse;
- it can help by allowing you to dissociate yourself (focus your mind and attention elsewhere) from your condition so it is not nearly as annoying and uncomfortable;
- it can help if there is a link between a specific emotional trauma and the onset of your condition;
- it can help if there is a link between your mood (such as feeling sad or wounded) and the intensity of your reaction;
- it can help if your endometriosis involves any subconscious and state-dependent processes.
Some Research That Proves These Claims...
The scientific research is conclusive. If you are capable of entering into a moderately deep state of hypnosis (something 70% of the population can achieve), then hypnosis can help you. Here is a summation of some of these studies...
Helping With Auto-Immune Diseases
Mind-Body Hypnotic Imagery in the Treatment of Auto-Immune Disorders. The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 2007, vol. 50, no2, pp.157-170. Torem MS.
This paper discusses the old belief that the body's immune system worked independently from the central nervous system. Then it highlights the advances that have been made in the last 50 years that prove these systems not only interact, but actively influence each other. The author then shows how this interaction provides a doorway that allows hypnosis and imagery to influence the immune system. The author then provides five cases where hypnosis was successfully used to help people suffering from auto-immune disorders.
Hypnotic Treatment of Chronic Pain. J Behav Med. 2006 Jan 11;:1-30. Jensen M, Patterson DR.
This paper reviewed various controlled trials involving the use of hypnosis to control pain. It concluded that hypnosis can provide a significantly greater reduction in pain than physical therapy, education, or the management of medications. It even found that the hypnotic treatment did not even have to be called 'hypnosis' for it to be effective.
fMRI Study Of Hypnosis-Induced Analgesia. A paper presented to the 17th Meeting of the European Neurological Society, 2007. May TS.
This paper reports on a study involving 13 healthy subjects who underwent 'functional magnetic resonance imaging' (fMRI) of their brain while a painful laser beam was focused on their left hand. The researchers found there was a significant change in the way their brains responded to this while they were in a normal state, compared to when they were in hypnosis. In both the normal and the hypnotic state, the primary somasensory cortex (the area in the brain that first receives the pain signals) noticeably reacted to the pain. When the subjects were in a normal state, this had a cascading effect on other parts of the brain involved in the perception of, and reaction to, pain (such as "the anterior cingulated gyrus"). However, when they were in a state of hypnosis this cascading effect did not occur. This means that while in a state of hypnoanalgesia the brain registers the pain, however it does not pass these signals onto the other areas of the brain involved in perceiving, feeling and reacting to the pain.
Functional Anatomy Of Hypnotic Analgesia: A Pet Study Of Patients With Fibromyalgia. Sweden Eur J Pain. 1999 Mar;3(1):7-12. Wik G, Fischer H, Bragee B, Finer B, Fredrikson M
This study involved patients suffering from the painful condition, fibromyalgia. They were then either hypnotized and given suggestions for pain relief, or simply allowed to enter into a state of resting wakefulness. A PET (positron emission tomography ) scan was then taken of the flow of blood in their brain. There were noticeable difference in the blood flow patterns when the subjects were hypnotized as compared to when they were merely in a state of resting wakefulness. The researchers found that when the subjects were in a state of hypnosis," the cerebral blood-flow was bilaterally increased in the orbitofrontal and subcallosial cingulate cortices, the right thalamus, and the left inferior parietal cortex, and was decreased bilaterally in the cingulate cortex." This proved that hypnosis causes real changes to occur in the brain on both a cortical and subcortical level. Changes that can alter our experience of pain.
Dealing With Stress and Improving the Immune System
Can Relaxation Training and Hypnotherapy Modify the Immune Response To Stress, and is Hypnotizability Relevant? Contemporary Hypnosis Vol.13 (2);100 – 108 Johnson VC, Walker LG, Heys SD, Whiting PH, Eremin O.
Twenty-four healthy subjects were assigned to either relaxation training that involved hypnosis or to a control group. The subjects were brought back three times where they were given various psychological tests and had samples of their blood and urine collected. On their second visit (20 days after the first) they gave samples of their blood and urine before and after they were exposed to a “stressor.” Those who had received the hypnotic relaxation training had a better immune response (as measured by “lymphocyte responsiveness and IL-1 secretion”) than the other group. However, after further analysis it was found that among the members of this group, there was a direct correlation between those whose immune systems performed the best and those who had the highest scores on the Creative Imagination Scale (one of the tests often used to assess hypnotizability).
Hypnosis is a Modulator of Cellular Immune Disregulation During Acute Stress. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Vol 69(4), Aug 2001, 674-682. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Marucha PT, Atkinson C, Glaser R.
This study involved 33 medical and dental students who were selected because they were considered to be susceptible to hypnosis. Initial samples of their blood were taken during a period of low stress. Then they were split into two groups: one serving as the control group, and the other receiving training in hypnosis for relaxation. The group that received hypnosis, on average, did not show the same decrease in CD3+ and CD4+ T-lymphocytesinterleukin 1 (which plays an important inflammatory role against infections) as the control group. It was also noted that an increase in the use of hypnosis for relaxation was associated with higher levels of CD3+ and CD4+ T-lymphocytes. This study concluded that hypnosis can help reduce the negative effect highly stressful situations have on our immune system.
Self-Hypnosis and Exam Stress: Comparing Immune and Relaxation-Related Imagery for Influences on Immunity, Health and Mood. Contemporary Hypnosis Vol18 (2):73 – 86. Gruzelier J, Levy J, Williams J, Henderson D.
Medical School students were recruited for this research project to study the effect that training in self-hypnosis has on mood, health and the functioning of the immune system during exam time. They were broken into two groups where they were trained in 3 weekly group sessions and then given a self-hypnosis audio-recording and encouraged to listen to it at home. The control group received 'relaxation-related-imagery' training, while the study group received 'immune-related-imagery' training. The participants then had samples of their blood taken during exam time to determine the levels of various lymphocytes (CD3, CD4, CD8, & CD19), natural killer cells (CD56). Those students who had received the 'immune-related-imagery' reported lower levels of viral illnesses, such as colds and the flu, than those who had only received the 'relaxation-related-imagery.' The 'immune-related-imagery' group also did not experience the same lowering of the levels in their lymphocytes as the other group did. This study concludes that self-hypnosis can improve the functioning of the immune system and lead to improvements in well-being.
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