Some of the techniques used in body-centered hypnosis are these:
- Linking. Connecting one naturally occurring phenomenon with another increases the likelihood that the right hemisphere of the brain will take in suggestions. Linkages are most effective when used in conjunction with a truism or some other form of reasoning that engages the left hemisphere's analytic tendencies. For example, in the message "As you stand up, gravity will help the baby come right down," standing up is linked to the baby's head coming down, and the truism about gravity reinforces the linkage.
- Incorporation. Here, a naturally occurring stimulus is utilized to ensure activation of suggestions in a different environment, for example, "Your child's voice and eyes will remind you of that confidence." The use of environmental stimuli occurring in the hypnotic environment can further activate a suggestion.
- Metaphor. This figure of speech bridges conscious and unconscious processes by engaging the right hemisphere directly. The left hemisphere, perceiving a "just pretend" message, simply rests. One striking metaphor is the rosebud, sealed tightly until the right time, when something changes inside and the petals open "softly, gradually" to the sky. Metaphors enlarge the context for embedded commands and other hypnotic techniques, helping them impact more deeply on the nervous system.
- Reframing. An undesirable experience in a first birth can become a resource for a second birth, once the left hemisphere's image of the event has been altered The right hemisphere is then accorded a newer - and less-threatening - experience of the event. For example, a woman who has had a cesarean at five centimeters dilation might be given the suggestion that she was "halfway there" - halfway toward her desired goal of a vaginal birth. Reframing her first birth in this way will help her view it not as a past failure, and thus a potential source of anxiety, but as part of an ongoing movement toward her desired goal.
- Synesthesia. Mixing together visual, auditory and somasthetic impressions helps transport suggestions directly to the unconscious. For example, the rising and falling of the practitioner's voice can set the stage for the rising and falling sensation of contractions, leaving nothing for the left hemisphere to guard against. The synesthetic quality - in this instance, a change in tonality - impacts immediately on the unconscious, touching into the limbic system and creating pathways of emotional memory.
Through these techniques and others as well, body-centered hypnosis is able to support the contemporary woman's entry into motherhood, helping her meet calmly whatever comes her way in labor. In the event of a complication, it helps ease her anxiety so that she can better cope with a difficult situation. When used routinely in prenatal care, this form of hypnosis can free today's women to focus on the tasks at hand: gestation, childbirth and, ultimately, postpartum adjustment.
The best part is that everyone benefits. Women who are supported in transforming areas of distress into wellsprings of resourcefulness learn to make the delicate adjustments needed in giving birth, in creating family and - with each subsequent birth - in creating family anew.