Hypnosis is a psychological tool that is used to explore the human mind but it has now been highlighted by experts that this technique may also be employed to relieve pain.
Hypnosis has, all along, suffered a dubious reputation; mainly because the average man sees it being employed in movies, to control the mind against the wishes of the person concerned.
AdvertisementBut according to Dr Bob Large, a Perth-based psychiatrist and pain medicine specialist, hypnosis could be employed to control pain, even in those who are undergoing surgery. It has been observed that some patients can be deeply hypnotized to enable them to undergo surgeries such as thyroid or gall bladder removal, without the use of any anesthetizing drug.
Dr Large claims that about 15 percent of people can be easily hypnotized. The best response comes from those with an active imagination, those who are pliable and from children in the age group of 8-12 as they are naturally blessed with vivid imagination.
It has been observed that some sort of pain control is possible by engaging the patient in a good 'clinical interaction' using a reliable hypnotic technique. This indicates that anesthetists and other clinicians can interact with the patient during the pre-operative period using a set of instructions and suggestions that are capable of creating positive vibes in the patient rather than alarming the patient.
Clinical Hypnosis is perfectly ethical; it involves motivating the patient to be in control rather than controlling the patient. The technique has been used in many fields of health care involving chronic pain including cancer care and also in dentistry, childbirth and surgery.
Hypnosis begins by asking the patient to gaze at a particular spot on the wall and go easy on everything else.
Childbirth is a promising area where hypnosis can be used effectively. Women were able to deliver with greater comfort and required less anesthetic drugs. Some did not require drugs at all. Another plus was that the baby thus delivered was less sedated.
Dentistry is another area that could potentially benefit from hypnosis. Some dentists use hypnosis as a method to reduce anxiety among dental patients.
Dental Association president Dr Geoff Lingard said "You get patients who are more anxious than average. In those cases hypnotherapy can certainly be an effective aid to relaxing them and providing them with comfortable, pain-free dentistry."
There is nothing extraordinary about the role of hypnosis in pain relief as it just taps into our inner potential to be able to slip into an altered state of awareness.
In some parts of the world hypnosis has been employed on patients before a surgery. Experts believe that in future, hypnosis will be used widely around the world as a form of analgesia and anesthesia.
Nevertheless the health community is sceptical. Some believe that hypnosis can never take the place of anaesthetic drugs but can be a part of a multi-modal approach. At best it can be considered as a good adjunct for making people feel comfortable before a surgery. It can never replace chemical anaesthetic drugs, many believe.