Hypnosis can be used as an alternative to other pain treatments. Many people respond to hypnosis enough to eliminate the need for pain medications.
Hypnosis can also be used as an adjunct (addition) to other methods of pain management, such as medications or heat and cold.
When someone experiences pain, they react in many different ways and perceive pain intensity differently. Hypnosis can change these perceptions and tolerance for pain. Through hypnosis the individual should have the experience where the pain signal is transformed into something less uncomfortable. Before hypnosis, it was either pain or no pain, but through hypnosis the pain can be transformed into the different perception by competing sensations such as tingling, numbness, warmth, and coolness.
The individual should not fight the pain. Fighting with the pain is actually concentrating more on the pain, so anxiety and depression intensifies, and physical tension is increased, which leads to more severe pain.
Muscle tension often accompanies the occurrence of pain. When there is pain, the painful area is instinctively withdrawn, an as muscle tension increases, the pain intensifies. When there is physical relaxation such as floating or lightness, the muscles become relaxed and the pain is reduced.
Hypnosis not only affects pain intensity, but it also affects the emotional responses to pain.
Stress and pain often go together, by lowering anxiety, depression and stress through hypnosis the person changes their perception, sensation, thought and behavior.
In several studies, when the individuals with chronic pain were hypnotized and suggestions for the pain to be weak, moderate, or severe, the degree of pain and brain activity changed according to the direction of the suggestion, and the degree of change was larger than just imagining without the hypnotic induction.
Hypnosis has analgesic effects in acute pain, and to relieve chronic pain such as fibromyalgia, cancer pains and headaches. The pain effect of hypnosis can be largely divided into two mechanisms: physical relaxation and change in the perception of pain.