Hypnosis and Chronic Migraines

October 4, 2013

Are you feeling sleepy?  Watch the pendulum swing back and forth…back and forth…. Now quack like a duck!  Are you a skeptic when it comes to people who swear that hypnosis can help alleviate chronic migraine and chronic headaches?  How about your co-worker who insists that hypnosis helped him quit smoking? Is it hokum or science?  Like many mind-body therapies such as meditation and massage, efficacy may have as much to do with the patient and practitioner as it does with proven science.

North Dakota’s Grand Forks Herald featured a story about a woman who gets a kick out of being hypnotized.  She was first induced into a hypnotic state while on stage at a show.  Since that time, she experimented with self-hypnosis as a pain management tool for her chronic migraines.  She claims that by putting herself into a hypnotic state, she can ease the symptoms of her debilitating chronic headache condition, and function better. 

A research study from the University of Utah School of Medicine, published during 2007 in The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, found that according to clinical psychological standards, hypnosis was an effective and established type of therapy for migraines and headaches.  It also noted that the treatment was less expensive than medication; and didn’t really trigger negative side effects or bad reactions.

If you are wondering whether hypnotherapy could help your chronic migraines or other chronic daily headaches, the holistic health website Drweil.com recommends selecting a hypnotherapist who has appropriate credentials, and avoid treatment by individuals who claim to be practitioners by training alone. 

A typical course of treatment will begin with some talking, before the therapist helps you achieve a highly focused state of relaxation, similar to daydreaming.  You will be instructed to concentrate on an external or internal focal point—not an actual pendulum.  Your therapist should be able to coach you on how to induce yourself into a hypnotized state so that you can practice self-hypnosis on your own when you need it.   


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