Just Close Your Eyes and See Your Pain Melting Away

Posted Posted in Interesting, You Can Fix That

Just Close Your Eyes and See Your Pain Melting Away…

How Much Better Would Your Life Be Without All That PAIN?

Are you one of the 50 Million Americans who suffers with chronic pain?  Is your pain limiting your ability to work or enjoy life?  Just imagine what it would be like to be able to control or even eliminate that life-limiting pain, without the use of dangerous opioid drugs.   So, #LetsTalkAboutPain.

For those who suffer chronic pain, every day, every month is about pain awareness.  However, for the rest of the population, the focus on pain comes once a year.  September is National Pain Awareness Month.  As part of recognizing the impact of chronic pain on the lives of millions, I believe it is important that we look at a technique that is gaining in popularity among health care providers, the National Institute of Health (NIH), and patients.

The NIH, in response to the devastation caused by the opioid crisis, has undertaken a serious examination of ways that can be used to reduce the suffering without the dangers caused by common pain medication.  The CDC, recognizes the importance of using pain medication for the short-term management of pain.  They warn, of the potential dangers associated with such medications in various publications they share with providers and the general public.  “Prescription opioids (like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine) are one of the many options for treating severe acute pain. While these medications can reduce pain during short-term use, they come with serious risks including addiction and death from overdose when taken for longer periods of time or at high doses.”[i]

What is truly interesting is that medical science is once again looking at a very old, but highly effective method to control and mitigate pain.  If we look back a little more than 150 years ago to the civil war, the US Army was training their doctors in medical hypnosis to control the pain and provide a way to perform amputation surgery.   Brendan L. Smith, writing for the APA Monitor “Hypnosis has been used for centuries for pain control, including during the Civil War when Army surgeons hypnotized injured soldiers before amputations. Recent studies have confirmed its effectiveness as a tool to reduce pain.”[ii]

In order to understand how we deal with pain through hypnosis, it is important to understand how the body deals with pain.   Pain is perceived in the brain through the nervous system.  Peripheral nerves are receptors in the skin and organs that transmit pain signals from the nociceptors to the spinal cord.  From the spinal cord, the signals move to the thalamus, which is located deep in the brain.

The initial stimulation of the nociceptors release neurotransmitters activating cells in the spinal cord.  When the signals reach the thalamus, three areas of the brain are activated at the same time; the somatosensory cortex (the physical sensation area), the limbic system (the emotional feeling region), and the frontal lobe (the thinking region).  This results in the brain sending signals to respond to the pain.[iii]

The amazing part of understanding how and why hypnosis is so effective in dealing with pain comes from the understanding of how pain is recognized in the body and the origin of this and all other feelings.

One theory of how pain works called the Gate Control Theory of Pain, developed by researchers Patrick Wall and Ronald Melzack[iv]  suggests the presence of a “gate” that controls the perception of pain.  The gate either allows pain messages to flow, or blocks them.[v]  This result is dependent upon the volume of  stimulation of non-nociceptive (large nerve fiber messages) vs. nociceptive messages carried by the small nerve fibers.  A simplified explanation of the theory states that when the large nerve fibers are stimulated to a greater extent than the small fibers, then the perception of pain is blocked.  This is mechanism is critical in understanding how hypnosis can be highly effective in the process of managing pain in our clients.

Studies conducted by the National Institute of Health have repeatedly shown that hypnosis is an effective tool .  In a significant number of medical studies, hypnosis has been found to be an effective treatment for chronic pain across several conditions [1516]. Studies have shown that approximately 70% of individuals with chronic pain are able to experience a short-term reduction in chronic pain during a treatment session or hypnosis practice, and between 20% and 30% achieve more permanent reductions in daily pain [1540][vi].

In a 2005 paper written by Hansen and Stretlzer,  the authors acknowledge that there is an emotional component to pain.  “The perception of pain involves far more than mere sensation. The affective and evaluative components of pain are often as important as the production and transmission of the pain signal. These emotional aspects are most prominent in chronic pain patients, but knowledge of the psychology of pain can greatly improve the treatment of acute pain as well.” [vii]

What this means is that if the brain can create the pain, then it has all the tools it needs to control, or even eliminate it.  Pain medication doesn’t remove or heal the injury, but merely blocks the neural pathways to or in the brain to making the individual unable to perceive it.

So how then do we empower those who suffer to take back control of their lives by providing them with a scientifically proven tool that reduces pain to return function.  The answer is hypnosis.  Despite popular misconceptions, hypnosis, is not mind control.  Rather, it is shifting the client/patient from one state of awareness to another, an even more focused state.  It is the mechanism of shifting awareness that makes hypnosis incredibly powerful in allowing patients to find relief and empower them to take back control of their lives.   Through the various stages of work with the client/patient, the hypnotist shifts the awareness of pain and breaks down existing emotional and neural connections to the pain that frequently keep the client in the pain loop.   When this loop is interrupted and replaced by a new, more powerful state, the client/patient experiences a reduction or elimination of the chronic pain.  No longer are they the victim to something that they mistakenly believed was out of their control.  Now, the clients/patients are able to experience life free from the debilitating emotional and or physical sensation that was chronic pain.

In 2019, we find ourselves dealing with the fall-out of too many people who are victims of the devastation of an over prescribed pain medications.  The Federal Government, has tasked departments responsible for addressing these issues to find safe and effective alternatives.  Hypnosis, has once again risen to their attention as a highly effective and promising option that pain management specialist, the NIH and doctors are recognizing that hypnosis is a promising weapon in the search to help pain sufferers without the harmful side effects of dangerous procedures or prescriptions.

I work with a significant number of clients in my hypnosis practice who have found relief through hypnosis.  Many of these clients have suffered with chronic pain for years before finding relief and empowerment through hypnosis for pain.   Hypnosis is safe and effective in helping you get back to enjoying life and stop suffering through it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marc Marshall is a certified medical hypnotist and certified mind-body specialist, author and motivational speaker.  He works with clients to empower and teach them how to improve their lives through hypnosis and mindfulness practice.  For more information or to schedule an appointment or interview, email info@hypnomarc.com or visit his website – www.hypnomarc.com


[i] https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/patients/Opioids-for-Acute-Pain-a.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/patients/Opioids-for-Acute-Pain-a.pdf

[ii] Smith, B. (2011, January). Hypnosis today. Monitor on Psychology42(1). http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/01/hypnosis

[iii] Medical Hypnotherapy Practitioer Course – Become a Certified Medical Hypnotherapist, Module One, The Mind Body Connection.  Roth Seth-Deborah 2009 pg 22

[iv]  Pain mechanisms: a new theory. Melzack R, Wall PD
Science. 1965 Nov 19; 150(3699):971-9.

[v] Mendell, L. (2019). Constructing and deconstructing the gate theory of pain.

[vi] Dillworth, T., Mendoza, M. E., & Jensen, M. P. (2012, March). Neurophysiology of pain and hypnosis for chronic pain. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3717822/#targetText=When hypnosis is used as,tingling or numbness [31].

[vii] Hansen, George & Streltzer, Jon. (2005). The Psychology of Pain. Emergency medicine clinics of North America. 23. 339-48. 10.1016/j.emc.2004.12.005.

#LetsTalkAboutPain #Painmanagement #hypnomarc #hypnotherapy #hypnosis #hypnosispain #marcmarshall #PAM #PAM2019

What is Equanimity? And Why Should I Care?

Posted Posted in Interesting

What is Equanimity?

Equanimity is a practice, most often discussed in Buddhist and Sufi traditions. Equanimity is the base for wisdom and freedom and for compassion and love. Few individuals are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions that differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most individuals are even incapable of forming such opinions.

Philosophy teaches us to bear with equanimity the bad luck of other people.

Merriam-Webster defines equanimity as an evenness of mind under stress – a habit of mind that’s rarely disturbed under great strain; a controlling of emotional or mental agitation through will and habit; a steadiness when facing strain.

What does equanimity look like?

Equanimity is the capacity to stay neutral, to observe from a distance, and be at peace without getting caught up in what we observe. It is the capacity to see the big picture with understanding and without reacting, for instance, to another’s words, ideology, perspective, position, premise, or philosophy. Essentially, we take nothing personally; refuse to be caught up in the drama our own or other peoples.

Equanimity allows us to “stand in the midst,” of conflict or crisis in a way where we are balanced, grounded and centered. Equanimity has the qualities of inner peace, well be-ing, vitality, strength, and steadfastness. Equanimity allows us to remain upright in the face of the strong winds of conflict and crisis, such as: blame, failure, pain, or disrepute – the winds that set us up for suffering when they begin to blow. Equanimity protects us from being “blown over” and helps us stay on an “even keel.”

How do we develop equanimity?

There are numerous mind/body qualities that support the development of equanimity. One is integrity. Do-ing and be-ing in integrity supports our feeling confident when we speak and act. Being in integrity fosters an equanimity that results in “blamelessness,” feeling comfortable in any setting or with any group without the need to find fault or blame. Another quality that supports equanimity is faith (not necessarily a religious or theological faith) – a faith based on wisdom, conviction or confidence. This type of faith allows us to meet challenge, crisis or conflict head on with confidence, with equanimity. A third quality is that of a well-developed mind a mind that reflects stability, balance and strength. We develop such a mind through a conscious and consistent practice of focus, concentration, attention and mindfulness. A well-developed, calm mind keeps us from being blown about by winds of conflict and crisis.

A quality that supports equanimity is seeing reality for what it is, for instance, that change and impermanence are an unpleasant fact. We become detached and less clingy to our attachments. This means letting go of negative judgments about our experience and replacing them with an attitude of loving kindness or acceptance and a compassionate matter-of-factness. The more we become detached, the deeper we experience equanimity.

The final quality is letting go of our need to be reactive so we can witness, watch and observe without needing to get caught up in the fray, the winds – maintaining a consistent relaxed state within our body as sensations move through.

Equanimity, thus, has two aspects: the power of reflection and an inner balance, both of which support one to be mindful, awake, aware and conscious. The greater the degree we are mindful, the greater our capacity for equanimity. The greater our equanimity, the greater our ability to remain steady and balanced as we navigate through the rough waters and gusty winds of change, challenge and conflict.

What happens when we are out of balance lacking equanimity?

In our everyday physical world, when we lose our balance, we fall. In our emotional world, we stuff our feelings and emotions, deny them or contract around them. Or we identify with a particular thought, feeling or emotion, hold on to it rather than allow it to flow through us or pass like a cloud in the sky. The middle ground is equanimity – the state of non-interference.

Equanimity allows for a deeper, more fulfilling experience.

As we develop our capacity for equanimity, we can begin to notice when we drop into a “state of equanimity.” Being aware of our experience, we can explore the state and this practice will lead to more frequent and deeper states of equanimity. What we find with such practice is that people, events, and circumstances that once caused us to be reactive no longer have any “charge” and we are more and more able to let go and feel less “bothered.” We suffer less.

You Need to Let Go of Yourself to Become the Best Version of Yourself

Posted Posted in You Can Fix That

Why You Need to Let Go of Yourself to Become the Best Version of Yourself

What is the thing that is most holding you back from being the best version of you?

You might be tempted to say something along the lines of ‘time’, ‘energy’, ‘money’ or ‘opportunity’. Perhaps you feel limited by other people?

I have a hunch, which is that a big part of what’s holding you back is your own sense of self. In other words: you might well be limited by your attachment to the ‘old you’ and by your eagerness to be seen as consistent and reliable.

Why Consistency is Over-Rated

We all have an attachment to who we think we are. We all have a notion of ourselves and of who others think we are as well. For example: you may see yourself as someone lighthearted who is never serious. Or perhaps you see yourself as being a local at heart, who supports the local sports team and who would never leave home.

We like the sense of continuity that this brings and other people like the fact that they know where they stand with us.

We don’t want to do something that is ‘out of character’ and we don’t want to go back on things we’ve said.

But is this really something you should cling to? Maybe your concept of ‘you’ is outdated?

Adaptability is Key

If the dinosaurs taught us one thing, it is that adaptability is the most important trait when it comes to surviving and thriving. If you can’t adapt, then the world will change around you and you will become an anachronism.

With that in mind, what benefit is there for you to actively refuse to adapt and grow?

Have you ever told someone the way you felt and then changed your mind… only to then feel that you can’t go back on what you said?

Have you ever wanted to dress differently, or take a sudden serious tone, but felt enormous pressure from people’s expectations of you?

This is a prison. And the irony is that it is a lie: the truest version of ‘you’ is simply the ‘you’ that you naturally want to be. The best way to be ‘you’ is to drop all expectations and simply act in the moment based on your emotions and your feelings.

And remember: biologically, there is no continuity. The person you are now is biologically completely different from the person you were even 10 years ago. Accept it and move on.

Want to become the most incredible, unstoppable version of yourself?

Posted Posted in You Can Fix That

Imagine becoming the most incredible, unstoppable version of yourself?

I’m not talking about the usual ‘self-help’ stuff. This goes beyond being a little better with the opposite sex or being a little more productive.

Want to take on all new challenges, explore new frontiers, grow and transform yourself?

Then the answer is to overcome your fear. Your fear is what is holding you back. Your fear is what is making you less capable and less formidable. And your fear is what is taking away from your happiness and your fulfillment.

It’s time we destroyed fear once and for all and unlocked our full potential.

THE SAMURAI CODE

If we want to learn how to really conquer fear, then we can turn to some examples from history. Some of the most fearless, formidable warriors of all were the samurai. So how did they achieve this complete lack of fear?

According to legend, there was a technique that the samurai would practice right before battle in order to eliminate their fear. To do this, they would vividly imagine every possible way that they could be killed. They would imagine being impaled, dismembered and decapitated.

Then they would focus on accepting these possibilities and coming to terms with them. They would become okay with a horrific and brutal death.

The samurai were actually a very morbid and fatalistic bunch. The bushido code explained that it was an honor to die in battle and that they should constantly keep their mind on death.

You’d think this would make them more fearful but paradoxically, it empowered them to be the completely ruthless, fearless warriors that they were. This makes sense: if you fear death, then you will fear life.

If the samurai have accepted the worst thing that could happen to them and if they have come to terms with it, then what reason have they to be afraid?

Now imagine fighting someone who has zero fear of death: who is willing to put themselves at risk, to launch 100% into a movement and not be concerned for the potential outcome. They would be devastating.

The good news is that we live in a much less dangerous time and you probably don’t need to come to terms with your death in quite the same way. But we can take this same notion and we can look at ways to apply it to our own lives.

Click this link to get a free checklist of ways you can start today!

 

Take Charge of Your Life – Top Tricks for Killing Procrastination

Posted Posted in Interesting

Top Tricks for Killing Procrastination

Procrastination is something that can ruin your day, damage your career and negatively impact on your relationships.

Often, we laugh about procrastination as though it were an amusing habit and sometimes it can be. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t also incredibly destructive. Imagine it’s 4pm and you have work you desperately need to finish by 5pm but you can’t stop browsing Facebook or making trips to the kitchen for cups of coffee.

What happens? One option is that you end up going home very late and lose out on time with your family. Another option is that you end up not finishing the work and starting the next day incredibly behind.

Either way, this is a serious problem.

So, what can you do about it? Here are a few tricks that can help.

Start the Most Enjoyable Task First

One effective way to reduce your proneness to procrastination is to take on the easiest/most enjoyable task first. Our natural inclination is very often to handle the most difficult task first and to that way get it out of the way.

But if you’re struggling with motivation, then this is going to be a big up-hill struggle to get yourself to commit.

Instead, if the first task is something easier and more fun, then you’ll find you can work more easily without being distracted. And once you’ve done that, you should be in a slightly more work-oriented frame of mind.

Make it More Interesting

Procrastination often comes from one simple fact: the job you should be doing is boring. Hence you would rather be doing something else.

One simple solution is to make said task more enjoyable or interesting. This might mean turning letter stuffing into a game. Or it might mean providing yourself with a little stimulation: I will often write articles while watching videos on silent just to ensure that I have a bit of stimulation.

If you’re writing, then try to make the topic more interesting so that you’ll be less likely to be bored. If you’re bored writing it, then it’s probably not going to be great to read!

Increase Energy

Finally, note that we are much more prone to procrastination when we’re tired. Why? Because will-power requires energy. When you take that energy away, it becomes much easier to be distracted or interested with other things. Give yourself more energy by sleeping better, by eating supplements that boost energy levels and by avoiding stressful events wherever possible.