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Hypnosis for Illness and Surgery
by Geoffrey Knight
Geoffrey Knight
I was recently asked by the mother of a child of eleven to attend her daughter in hospital the morning of a procedure where she was going to have a catheter put into her stomach. This procedure required the catheter to be put up her nose and then, after swallowing, down her esophagus and into her stomach. No Valium or calming drugs were permitted. This is not an unusual procedure, but the child was naturally very anxious and fearful of new procedures she hadn’t encountered before.
I put her into a deep state of hypnosis, called the nurse in, and the catheter was in place in five seconds. When she came out of the hypnotic state it was all over and the child was able to accept and accommodate this inconvenience in a tolerable way for the required twelve hours. The nurse who carried out the procedure was delighted and surprised at how quick and easy it was - and not a sound from the child!

Hypnosis before and after invasive procedures and surgery can be very helpful. This is something I often do for clients who seek it. Surgery is a traumatic experience for the body and mind, in spite of anesthesia, and a deeply relaxed patient has much less bleeding and postoperative pain and recovers faster.

It is also important for surgeons and hospital staff to be aware that your unconscious mind is open and alert all through the operation, and absorbing what is going on and being said. Hospital staff should be careful not to make negative or inappropriate remarks whilst a patient is on the operating table because they will stick in the unconscious mind.

A friend of mine recently had extensive facial surgery following a bad car accident. I asked the OR nurse to play Sibelius throughout the operation and gave her the disk. I also told her I would check by using hypnosis later on exactly what happened throughout the operation. My friend remembered the great comfort of hearing the Sibelius, and he recovered rapidly from the very difficult operation.

Hypnosis can also be used for controlling pain and discomfort following surgery and in particular assisting the body to heal well and rapidly. I am a firm believer that we all possess the power to heal ourselves and hypnosis is, in my opinion, one of the most effective methods to enlist the body’s healing response. Every cell in our body has a mind of its own and you can give those cells positive instructions to change their composition or purpose and bring about the healing process.

For many years now I have use a process devised by a well know English hypnotherapist called John Howard where I ask subjects to go inside their bodies to heal a particular part or organ. I used this process recently on a friend whose liver nearly failed due to a virus infection. He was in critical condition, and when his wife called me in, she said “We nearly lost him.” I worked with him in the hospital, and got him to visualize healing his liver and his kidneys, which had been working overtime as a result of severe jaundice. He told me that, whilst in the hypnotic state, he thanked his kidneys for working so hard to bring his body back to normality and he awarded each organ a special trophy appropriately engraved! He astonished the staff by making a spectacular recovery.

The pain threshold varies from individual to individual. Some people are so anxious that they anticipate pain, and the moment they are touched they translate this in their minds into pain. An example that most people can relate to is the dentist’s hypodermic needle approaching the gums. The combination of fear, anxiety and anticipation can well up in the mind to such an extent that the moment the needle penetrates the gum the person feels great pain. Whereas in someone who is relaxed and not bothered, a mere prick of discomfort is felt.
Major surgery can be performed under hypnosis without any anesthesia, as can childbirth, but this requires the patient to have some training. In the case of chronic pain, I do not necessarily think pain can be entirely eliminated, but it’s severity can be cut by up to 80 per cent.

As they say, it’s all in the mind; and by reducing anxiety and mobilizing the body’s healing resources, hypnosis does assist in cutting down and in some cases eliminating pain altogether. We are all so used to looking to others or to a pill for instant relief that we ignore the wisdom and power of our own mind to heal our bodies.

Geoffrey Knight is a clinical hypnotherapist and Director of the Knightsbridge Institute for Hypnotherapy and NLP. He is a Member of the Oregon Hypnotherapy Association. He can be reached at 503-246-7300.
Address: 3446 SW Alice St, Portland, OR 97219