Guest Blog: Written by: Hypnotherapist Patricia Lynn Belkowitz, C.Ht., EFT-CC, and Reiki Master Claire Staffa.
Are you suffering? “Chronic pain is a problem that has reached near epidemic proportions,” said Edward Covington, M.D., director of the Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program at the Cleveland Clinic. “The ‘can do, can cope’ spirit of Americans can lead to untreated chronic pain, which has a severe impact on people’s work, personal relationships, hobbies, and even sex, and can greatly diminish their quality of life. In addition to physical disability, it may also lead to irritability, anxiety, or depression.”
Do you endure discomfort to the point that it is affecting the way you live your life? Are you sick and tired of conventional methods of pain management? Are you taking pills that aren’t effective? Is your medication creating negative side effects? Are you ready to try something new? Perhaps it is time to consider an integrative approach to healing… a new way based on ancient methods. Are you aware of Hypno-Reiki?
Hypno-Reiki is a combination of two powerful methods of healing, Hypnosis and Reiki. Each method has proven to be effective, but when used together, the modality has great potential. Hypnosis is a deep state of relaxation, or altered state of consciousness created by focused attention. For thousands of years, it has been used as an effective method for relief of physical pain and discomfort. In the hypnotic state, we are open to positive suggestions and imagery which will create change. It is an ideal time to implement other therapeutic modalities, such as Reiki, because our whole system is primed to healing. Reiki, a healing practice originated in Japan, is a non-invasive, gentle modality which translates to “spiritually guided life force energy or universal healing energy”. It helps the body’s natural ability to heal itself though the flow and focusing of energy.
The Center for Disease Control reports in 2002 that 62% of U.S. adults had used some form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), often in conjunction with other alternative and conventional medical treatments. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, found that “people use Reiki for relaxation, stress reduction, and symptom relief, in efforts to improve overall health and well-being. Reiki has been used by people with anxiety, chronic pain, HIV/AIDS, and other health conditions, as well as by people recovering from surgery or experiencing side effects from treatments.”
Hypnotherapy can help with the perception of pain, by changing the expectation. In studies about how the human brain and nervous system work, Dr. Kenneth Casey, a professor of neurology at the University of Michigan and a neurology consultant to the VA Health Care System in Ann Arbor states that “the brain has mechanisms to directly control what we feel, it actively controls the flow of sensory information that results in our perceptions.” In fact, key regions of the brain appear to react as much to the expectation of pain as much as they do to actual painful stimulation. The mind can alter the feeling of pain by substituting another feeling such as heat, tingling, numbness. It can also divert the location of pain to another body part, thereby allowing relief. In a January 5, 2004 article by Benedict Carey, The Los Angeles Times reports “the brain can virtually shut down pain signals when preoccupied.”
At that point, the body’s energy system is aligned with thoughts of health and wellness. The body-mind connection is fully functioning while in the state of hypnosis. The mind doesn’t know the difference between what is imagined and what is perceived as reality. When Reiki is administered to someone in the hypnotic state, the benefits are magnified. The healing power of life force energy is added and the whole body becomes at peace.
Though Reiki may be an unfamiliar term and may sound “new-agey,” the effectiveness of this ancient treatment has been shown. The International Journal of Behavioral Medicine reviewed 66 clinical trials on biofield therapies. It was concluded that there was strong evidence that biofield therapies such as Reiki help reduce the intensity of pain. Julie Kusiak, MA, a Reiki practitioner in the integrative medicine department at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, states, “Recent studies on Reiki therapy reflect a broad spectrum of its benefit for pain relief.” Examples cited were decreased anxiety and pain, lower fatigue, reduced depression and better quality of life.
Hypnosis and Reiki create profoundly relaxing effects, which make the combination of Hypno-Reiki even more effective for the treatment of anxiety, stress and pain. Hypno-Reiki complements any other form of medical treatment, as there are no contraindications. There is a long history of both scientific and anecdotal evidence to support the use of behavioral and relaxation approaches to treat chronic pain. The American Hospital Association President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock stated, “Complementary and alternative medicine has shown great promise in supporting and stimulating healing. It’s one of the many tools hospitals look to as they continue to create optimal healing environments for the patients they serve.”
Much research concludes the effectiveness of hypnosis as an alternative method of healing. Scientific American Mind’s (July, 2005) article titled “The Truth and the Hype of Hypnosis” which stated that “hypnosis has been shown to be a real phenomenon with a variety of therapeutic uses- especially in controlling pain.” The article further cites a meta-analysis published by the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis which found that “the pain relieving effect of hypnosis is often substantial, and in a few cases the degree of relief matches or exceeds that provided by morphine.”
In Biofield Therapies:A Best Evidence Synthesis,a systematic review examined 66 clinical studies and found “equivocal evidence for biofield therapies’ effects on fatigue and quality of life for cancer patients, as well as for comprehensive pain outcomes and affect in pain patients, and for decreasing anxiety in cardiovascular patients”. Currently, there is a peer review method for analyzing the state of scientific studies done on Reiki programs in hospitals and clinics. The process is rigorous, impartial and incorporates the best practices for scientific review. Dr Mehmet Oz is a proponent of Reiki and is often quoted as saying, “Reiki has become a sought-after healing art among patients and mainstream medical professionals.”
According to a 2008 American Hospital Association survey, 84% of hospitals indicated patient demand as the reason for offering Complementary and Alternative Medicine services because of “clinical effectiveness”. Simply stated, it works.
More and more, science tells us that the condition of our body is directly related to our positive thoughts of wellness or our negative thoughts of stress, anxiety and pain. Thoughts are energy. Thoughts create. Your body is a manifestation of the thoughts of your sub-conscious mind. You have the power to change the way you think and to change the way you feel. There is an unlimited supply of “spiritually guided life force energy” available to you to help create your natural state of being, which is a state of well-being. If you are suffering, you can give yourself permission to let go of the pain. You can change your expectations and move toward a better, more joyful life. Perhaps Hypno-Reiki is the way to do it!