In 1986, while I was living in London, a friend of mine came
back from the dentist whom he went to see to have a wisdom
tooth removed and told me: Guess what the dentist told me
just before extracting the tooth? He said "Remember, resisting
pain is 95% of the pain". He paused and then added "Just relax
as deeply as you can and it’ll be over in a minute".
Now, I am asking you to pause for a minute, too. Relax and
ask yourself: "what does the word "management" evoke for
me? Close your eyes, reflect now...
Control? Elimination as far as possible? Eradication?
OK. If any of these words indeed is associated in your logical
mind to pain management, here is some news for you.
The magic pill that makes your pain go away instantly, the
numbing of pain accompanied with numbed reactions,
perceptions, feelings, or the cutting of limbs or organs…
They sometimes necessary or preferred by some patients in
distress or experiencing excruciating pain.
However, there are other options. Many of us are tired of side
effects, tired of the recurrence of pain after a few days if not
hours, tired of not feeling anything any more.
Before the development of allopathic medicine (not so much
more than 100 years ago), people used natural herbs and
talking to grandma or finding a shaman or healer to find relief
and asked God for relief, whatever their God maybe, in
different religions over the planet. A great part of the relief
actually comes from being able to talk about your pain, to be
heard, to feel in your whole being some empathy for your
pain; somebody is there with you that listens to how you feel.
In the last 50 years, there has been a growing awareness,
including in the "medical community" that although allopathic
medicine has enabled great progress and has provided great
relief to many, it doesn’t have all the answers and can be
complemented, if not replaced, by healing methods that have
proven their efficiency for thousands of years, rather than 100+
years. It is now widely acknowledged, although not as long as
30 years ago, would make many members of the traditional
scientific community smile, that emotions have an effect on the
immune system and our capacity to cope with disease, pain
and recovery (David Felten, Neurobiologist, and his team
found receptors of neurotransmitters in the immune system).
Hypnosis was used for healing in Ancient Egypt more than
2,000 years ago and also in the East, by Tibetan monks among
others. The word is Greek, it simply means sleep. Through the
use of the brain frequencies experienced during the sleep cycle,
but used consciously and with consent during a therapy
a hypnotherapist guides you to where you need to go to heal.
First of all, accessing with this ‘other part of the brain’ a place
where you can feel peace, harmony and relief is possible
through hypnosis and affects your whole body's response to
the otherwise relentless pain. Hypnosis gives you ‘time out’
from the pain because it is a state of deep relaxation, some call
it deep concentration where your mind has the ability to focus
on what it’s want to achieve, and if it happens to be relief from
pain, you can achieve it.
So say you experience chronic pain. You take some pain relief
pills, they help some, but they have side effects or, you don’t
have money to buy more, or, you are developing a tolerance to
them ("they don’t work anymore") and your doctor has
changed brands, but it goes on and on.
Or you have to go to the dentist and get a wisdom tooth
extracted. Or, your have this back pain that doesn’t want to go
away, or you have carpal tunnel syndrome and "not much can
In your mind is the power to find the source of the pain, to ease
the pain, to decrease the pain, to dissolve it.
I am not talking of control here, or a magical wand, or
resistance, or ignorance.
I am talking about finding why the pain is there. It’s there for
a reason, you know, like a little person nagging you, are you
willing to hear what it wants to say. If you have a 3 years child
having a tantrum in front of you at the supermarket, do you
shout to him "Stop it right now?" Yes? Does it work? What
happens next? Does he get quieter? Hmmm, not in my
experience. He gets louder because he wants ATTENTION.
Pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. The body
doesn't lie. We can invent all sorts of lies, mainly to ourselves
with words, attitudes, "I am fine", and “all is good". When I
was a child in France, there was this comic singer that was
regularly invited to shows and he kept singing the same one
song "All is well, marquis, all is well" and then whispered (the
stable is burning, the cooks are running, the river is
overflowing) BUT, all is well.
So you can find the source of your pain, that’s not control, nor
suppression, nor management, YET, that’s understanding.
Stand under your pain. Do you have friends? What do you
expect the most from your friends? I don't know about you,
but in my case, it's understanding, that they try to understand
me, that I feel they understand me and I can talk to them
without being judged, laughed out, ridiculed, despised. No,
they listen with patience and compassion and try to
understand even when "it doesn’t make sense"
What about being a friend to yourself FIRST? Try to
First step. Not so easy, but the good news, is that in the state of
deep relaxation reached though hypnosis, that judging part,
controlling part, logical part, connected to the left brain, well
its politely asked to sit at a distance and audit.
So your feelings, sensations, memories, true insights can come
out. You can see your attitudes in a fresh way and, once you
UNDERSTAND your pain, have talked to it like a friend, not
an enemy, not somebody to bar off and slammed the door at
(it’s strong, it can break doors like an invader, some of you
sure know that who are reading this), then you can find other
ways to deal with the real issue, you can "reprogram" the pain
response of your neurotransmitters to some other response.
Pain is a transmitted response. Once you listen to the question,
you can respond differently, your brain can respond
intelligently rather than react.
What about just "plain not feeling that pain anymore", you
say, “I don't care where it's coming from, I just don’t want it
The good news is your brain is PART of your body, it produces
hormones. Heard about a computer box without a processor?
Not me. The box doesn’t do a thing without the processor, that
what’s life is, isn’t it, all those transmitters circulating within
your body, sending millions of messages every millisecond.
For plain old pain, your knees hurting from running on the
asphalt and not having heard it's not good, for the wisdom
tooth, for the cutting your finger with the kitchen knife, the
"mechanical pain", and for any organ pain that’s settled in,
Hypnotherapy shows you how to apply self-hypnosis to
yourself (all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, it is a therapy of consent,
meaning you need to be WILLING to heal). By trusting the
right part of your brain to lead your body’s response, by
learning to letting go of resistance to pain, fear of pain, by
relaxing and associating different thoughts to the pain, you
can actually diminish the pain. That method is used a lot in
dentistry, where for example, you can visualize a clock dial,
where 12 represents the most extreme pain and 1 no pain at
all. The hypnotherapist can during a procedure that would
normally « require » anesthesia, suggests to you the absence of
pain by associating it with a lower number so that indeed, you
will experience minimal or no pain at all. Magic? No. You
intercept your neuro-transmitter's response and twitch it.
You focus completely, wholly, from the depth of your being on
how you want to feel, and your body responds.
Hypnotherapy isn’t for everybody. They say about 80% of the
population respond to it very well, part of it is trusting your
hypnotherapist and above all, trusting yourself that you can
let your logical overactive analytical mind take the role of
However, If you are the kind that’s proud that « nobody can
hypnotize YOU » and you’d rather be Unhypnotizable than
experiencing well-being, by all means, it’s your choice.
"Words are like pillows: if put correctly they ease pain."
See you soon,
Agnès CARTRY, CCHT