By C. Devin Hastings
Hypnosis. For many, the word conjures up images that make a person uncomfortable. Many fear hypnosis because they fear a loss of control, yet a person is actually more in control of their body when he or she is in a state of trance.
This fact should interest people with diabetes, because control is exactly the issue that concerns them: controlling blood sugar levels.
Hypnosis has been a medically recognized phenomenon for well over four decades. In 1958, the American Medical Association and the American Dental Association made resolutions recognizing hypnosis as an accepted form of treatment in medicine and dentistry.
This was three years after the British Medical Association passed a formal resolution approving hypnosis as a valid therapeutic technique for treating neuroses and for relieving pain in surgery and childbirth.
One example of hypnosis helping people with diabetes to change their insulin requirements and sometimes eliminate them, is illustrated in a case study found in the book, "Mind-Body Therapy," by Ernest L. Rossi, PhD and David B. Cheek, M.D.
"A 33 year-old diabetic woman was seen in the fourth month of her third pregnancy in consultation with two other physicians who felt that her pregnancy should be terminated because of severe toxemia and two serious episodes of diabetic coma which had occurred in her second pregnancy."
Dr. Cheek then noted that: "With the hope of understanding her psychological reactions better, I talked with the patient and her husband about using hypnosis to help control pain and thus help control her insulin needs. Their interest and response was favorable. During a two-hour session, the patient was trained in achieving complete anesthesia of her abdomen."
He goes on to state: "She was taught to awaken from hypnosis if a nurse or physician should enter her room in order that she might not give a dangerous impression of being in a diabetic coma. She was much impressed by her ability to produce anesthesia. On admission to the hospital she was taking 180 units of insulin a day, using 60 units of protamine zinc, and filling out her requirements with Regular insulin."
And here is the amazing part: "The response to the surgery was remarkable. She maintained a normal temperature, pulse, and respiration after a total hysterectomy under spinal anesthesia. Her blood sugar never went over 117 mg. / 100 cc. although she was eating a regular hospital diet from the day of surgery. A 3-plus glycosuria on the day of operation dropped to zero on the second day. No insulin was used during the hospital stay. During the next 11 months, she used only an occasional dose of insulin during periods of emotional stress."
If some people have already realized the benefits just illustrated, then doesnít that open the door to the idea that many others can also benefit?
Think of it this way: the Wright brothers started out by flying a mere 11 feet. And now we have landed people across the globe and on the moon.
So, what are some of the ways that a person with diabetes benefit from hypnosis?
I discovered that there are 7 ways in which hypnosis can powerfully help.
Letís look at a couple in this article by starting with this question: what are some of the areas that cause problems for diabetics?
First and foremost of course is diet and exercise. Hypnosis has a long history of helping people to attain and maintain an ideal and healthy weight. In other words, hypnosis can help the diabetic to more easily comply with the recommendations of their doctor. In their book, "Clinical Hypnosis: Principles and Applications, doctors Harold B. Crasilneck, PhD and James A. Hall, MD state: "Hypnotherapy can often help in treating obesity, an observation that is one of the most clinically confirmed in all the literature on hypnosis."
This brings us to a very important point: Hypnosis is not meant to, nor could it ever, replace standard medical treatment. In fact, hypnosis is most effective when used in conjunction with traditional health care.
It is also important to note that hypnotists are not licensed as medical practitioners. Therefore, a hypnotist must always have a doctor's referral before helping anyone in any manner that is medically related.
How can you tell a certified hypnotist? The first rule, when seeking health care in any form, is your feelings about your health consultant, be it a doctor, herbalist, acupuncturist or hypnotist. The second qualification, which is equally important, is the hypnotist's experience. Training is a bit of a misnomer. Car mechanics can have all the training in the world, but they can still be inept, and have no value to a consumer.
National hypnosis organizations can help find skilled hypnotists. There are several bona fide organizations which exist, but the largest and oldest by far is The National Guild of Hypnotists. It has the largest data base for experienced hypnotists. Additionally, it has an annual convention that is unmatched in its educational scope or variety by any other hypnosis organization. Its Web site is www.ngh.net.
So now you know where to find a qualified hypnotist, but what can he or she do for you as a diabetic? Well, you know that food management is crucial in diabetes. Visit any physical therapist who is helping an amputee to rehabilitate and you'll understand. Many of those who have suffered amputations did so because of their out of control and indiscriminate eating habits. The results are horrifying. This is just one of the many devastating diabetes complications brought on by a destructive diet.
Can people with diabetes avoid this outcome without having to suffer a lifetime of denial? Yes. Through the use of hypnosis, people can actually change their inner motivations, to decrease their desire for unhealthy food, and change bad eating habits. At the same time, they will actually increase their desire for healthier foods, and develop better eating habits.
How does this occur? The method is complex, but it can be described concisely. Hypnosis is your ability to convince yourself that something is true. When you believe something, that belief is reflected in your thoughts, feelings and actions. So, once you use hypnosis to convince yourself that you prefer healthier foods and activities, then it becomes a habit to think and behave that way.
Think of hypnosis as a lever, a simple tool that can help people to remove blocks in their lives that they were previously impossible to budge. For each individual, the blocks are different. The mechanism by which hypnosis removes these blocks is that while in trance you have the ability to perceive things differently. When you see or think of something differently, its effect on you is changed.
Do you have to do it on an ongoing basis? Some people have been able to become nonsmokers after one session. For others, it takes a little while longer. Changing a belief is as personal and fickle as getting over a cold. But know this: it is absolutely proven that it can be done.
The reason I am pioneering this approach to diabetes management is because I have successfully used it in my life. I have changed my eating and exercise habits and have lost over 40 pounds of weight. My sugars have gone from 400 to normal ranges with considerably less oral medication. Additionally, I have had 9 fillings drilled and replaced using only self-hypnosis for anesthesia.
Here's an example of how you can use the power of hypnosis right away. The next time you are faced with a difficult food choice, such as finishing off all the food on your plate even though you are not hungry, close your eyes and take five deep, belly breaths. With each breath you inhale, tell yourself that you feel very full. With each breath you exhale, tell yourself that it is okay to not be a member of the clean plate club.
Think about the fact that, whether or not you eat the food, it ultimately ends up as waste, either at the restaurant or in your toilet. By realizing this, you are releasing yourself from the hypnotic command that you must eat everything on your plate. Practice this technique at least 10 to 15 times and you will notice a change.
How else can hypnosis help? Apart from easier-than-imagined weight loss, another area in which hypnosis can help the person with diabetes is exercise. The hypnotist's specialty is motivation. In fact, as defined by The National Guild of Hypnotists, a hypnotist is a stress-management consultant and a motivational coach. Think of the benefits of being motivated to see exercise as something you want to do rather than something you have to do.
In conclusion, there is overwhelming evidence that hypnosis can help people with diabetes because it is a proven safe and powerful and method of helping people to change.