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Arthritis – Hypnosis Connection
by Paul Gustafson

Mind Over Matter
Did you know that with a little practice you could maximize self-healing, reduce pain, and improve your nutrition, exercise, communication and flexibility? This article highlights our natural ability to adjust and reshape our world. It explains the many applications where hypnosis brings relief to clients suffering from arthritis. The process of hypnosis is easy to learn, you can do it on your own and it empowers you to improved health and well being.

The subconscious mind has many jobs. It quietly and effectively regulates our bodily functions and stores all of our values, beliefs and memories. It also adjusts our blood pressure, heart rate and co-ordinates each step we take everyday of our life. There’s a growing awareness in medicine of our ability to control this vast resource. While it’s true that the effects of arthritis may extend into many areas of a client’s life, so does the positive resolve of hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is the simple process of accessing and speaking to the subconscious mind. Once you have it’s attention you can direct it to accomplish many wonderful things.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It causes a deterioration of the protective lining of cartilage in our joints. This deterioration occurs due to a breakdown of chondrocytes that form cartilage. Osteoarthritis affects men and women equally. Most people over 30 years of age have some features of early osteoarthritis. The degree of limitation depends on the location of the inflammation. The major areas of concern are hips, knees and spine. The development of osteoarthritis may be related to trauma, aging or heredity.

Chat, Rest & Peace of Mind
Communication plays a key role in managing our stress and helping to share thoughts and emotions with those you trust and love. Hypnosis helps us make better connections. Subconscious suggestions guiding you to share what’s on your mind allows you to offload concern and frustration, giving you more time to spend on quality activities like rest, exercise and doing things you enjoy. It takes energy to deal with any physical or emotional burden. Hypnosis creates ideal sedation allowing for sound sleep. We all follow the path of our most dominant thoughts and if the last thoughts a client has at bedtime involve deep sound sleep, they are in a much better position to recharge their bodies and minds for tomorrow’s challenges. Often it’s difficult keeping up with the fast pace of day-to-day life. Hypnosis helps the client adjust to a more appropriate pace in life and even helps them discover more joy in life’s simple pleasures.
Clients can certainly preserve their hope and expectation of returning to old form but it is also okay to accept this new path and learn how to make helpful adjustments to smooth out the ride.

Strength, Protection & Comfort
Increasing muscle tone reduces stress to affected joints, which increases mobility and comfort. Low impact activities like swimming; walking and range of motion exercises are commonly recommended to clients with arthritis. With hypnosis, subconscious suggestions strengthen the connection between the activity and the positive results, which help the client become more invested and determined to continue. Since the subconscious controls every circulatory, muscular, chemical, and hormonal action we have, then why not use hypnosis to help stimulate chondrocyte production, which increases the growth of healthy new cartilage? The more protection in your joints the more comfort and mobility you create. Pain is often the biggest issue with arthritis. Some pain, however, is necessary; it acts as a warning system telling us that something isn’t right. The responsible approach with hypnosis is to only reduce unnecessary pain, leaving intact the body’s ability to signal us and protect us from further injury. Hypnosis can also be used to regulate the flow and distribution of endorphins, which are the ‘feel good’ chemicals the body uses to create comfort and relaxation. Using hypnosis to regulate endorphin production plays a big role in putting the client in control.

In addition to endorphin production pain can also be decreased if it is perceived from a different location. The subconscious mind is always interested in supporting our highest good. By redirecting sensitivity away from hips, knees and vertebrae to a less critical part of the anatomy like a finger tip, the intensity is decreased. The same approach can be used to attach a different quality to the sensation arthritis creates. A sharp pain can instead be perceived as a dull pressure; similarly a burning pain can be can be perceived as having a cool sensation. Involving other senses can be an effective approach in managing the symptoms of arthritis. By imagining a color to represent pain and then a different color to represent the desired relief, the client can see and feel the difference.
By identifying the location and color of their pain and then imagining themselves applying the relief color to the affected area, the two colors blend together forming a new shade, which visually reinforces their success.
Lastly, most hypnosis sessions use a deepening technique to increase relaxation. An example of this is an imaginary yardstick. It can also be used to help clients visualize and then experience less pain. This approach has the client identify their current level of pain with a number on the yard stick. With each breath they see and feel their pain lessening as the numbers decrease.

With hypnotherapy you gain a distinct advantage in managing and even reversing the effects and limitations of arthritis. Once you learn the technique you can reinforce positive suggestions all on your own. Self-hypnosis is simple and effective. A few sessions with a hypnotherapist quickly familiarizes you with the process of deep relaxation and how you can then plant rapidly growing seeds of healthy change. We all have remarkable self-healing abilities. Hypnosis is an excellent way to jumpstart your return to a healthier happier life. You improve your nutrition, comfort and mobility. You sleep better, get stronger and have a better outlook on life. There are no prescriptions, side effects, interactions, allergic reactions and once you learn the technique it’s free.

© 2002 Paul Gustafson

Paul Gustafson RN, BSN, CH runs Healthy Hypnosis of Burlington, Massachusetts. He has ten years of nursing experience and eight years specializing in the field of hospice nursing. His extensive medical background offers a solid foundation supporting his clinical approach to hypnotherapy. Visit the author’s web site at www.myhypno.com.