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According to a Wall Strest Journal article, more and more patients are turning to hypnosis for all sorts of medical reasons -- and increasing evidence suggests it might just work!
Though you might associate hypnosis with wacky stage stunts -- a man swathed in black waves a stopwatch before your eyes until you oink like a pig -- medical hypnosis is a whole different kind of enchantment that looks more like Daily Affirmations With Stuart Smalley: “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”
Jeanne Safer, a New York City psychologist who is being treated for leukemia, tells the WSJ that she hypnotizes herself each morning on the way to chemotherapy. “She starts by closing her eyes, then rolling them up to the top of her head and down, all the while breathing deeply. ‘As I'm doing that, I'm saying to myself, “This is a procedure that will save my life. I'm not going to fight it. I'm going to make it as easy on my body as possible,”’ she says.”
How this is any different from meditation and self-guided imagery is beyond us, but if calling it hypnosis makes you feel better, well, who are we to judge?
In fact, researchers believe that the power of hypnosis comes from the placebo effect, a form of positive thinking, where one’s belief that a treatment is going to heal them makes them feel better. The placebo effect is so effective in some circles that antidepressant manufacturers have a hard time creating drugs that work better than the placebo in clinical trials.
So, clearly, if a sugar pill can help take away symptoms, we can see why the power of suggestion would do the same. According to a small study by Kaiser Permanente, whether or not hypnosis will work depends on patient, and just how skeptical he or she is of the process. To quote Henry Ford, “Whether you think that you can or that you can't, you are usually right.” If you want to save your money on hypnosis tapes, just repeat after me: It’s all going to be okay. It's all going to be okay. It's all going to be...