Category Archives: Physical conditions

Mind Over Menopause By Zoilita Grant MS. CCHt.

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Approximately 1,600,000 women enter menopause each year. Many of these women experience a variety of different uncomfortable symptoms. Even for those who are free of troubling symptoms, this is an important transition time that requires changes in attitudes that match the changes taking place within the body. All women need to be able to go through this transition feeling healthy in mind, body, spirit and emotions. Menopause is the end of menstruation. This is the time in life when women stop being able to produce children.

A woman’s period called Menses stops naturally (for most women) with the decline of monthly hormonal cycles between the ages of 40 and 60. It may stop earlier in life because of a woman’s illness or because of the surgical removal of the uterus or both ovaries. As the production of estrogen by the ovaries and pituitary gonad-stimulating hormones decreases, a woman’s ovulation and menstruation begin to slow down and eventually stop. Variations in the circulating levels of the hormones occur as the hormone levels decline. Hot flashes are the only general symptom of menopause that nearly every woman has. They can often be controlled with estrogen and progesterone but are seldom so bad as to need therapy. Hot flashes will stop in time without hormonal treatment. Occasionally, heavy irregular bleeding occurs at this time, usually linked to fiber like tumors or other uterine disorder.

The most common treatment for hot flashes and the other symptoms of Menopause has been hormone replacement therapy. However, recent research has found an increased risk of breast cancer in women receiving hormone replacement therapy. Because of this, many menopausal women and breast cancer survivors are deciding not to do hormone replacement therapy. Latest research has shown reduced rates of breast cancer. This is thought to relate to the fact that the use of hormone replacement therapy has gone down in the last few years. Many women are now looking for new ways of dealing with their symptoms. A variety of herbal replacements are being used with varying success. Other areas to explore are the use of yoga, mindfulness training, effective self talk and self-hypnosis.

Hypnosis can be very effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. Hypnosis is a mind-body intervention that is of significant benefit in treatment of hot flashes and other benefits may include reduced anxiety and improved sleep. Further, hypnosis may be a preferred treatment because of the few side effects and the preference of many women for a non-hormonal therapy. As you undoubtedly know, hypnosis is altered state of consciousness where it is possible to decrease the perception of an experience. This is very true with the symptoms of Menopause. We can also add suggestions that increase the client’s ability to cope with those symptoms. Remember that with hypnosis:

The client’s attention is more focused
They are more responsive more to suggestions
They are more open and less critical or disbelieving
The purpose of hypnosis as a technique for managing Menopause is to help the client manage their specific symptoms, emotions and physical well-being. What I have found personally to be the most beneficial to clients is teaching them self hypnosis and supportive self talk as well as counseling them about their beliefs and attitudes towards this time in their lives.

Author profile:

ZoilitaZoilita Grant MS. CCHt.
Colorado Coaching and Hypnotherapy Training Institute

When it comes to providing people with tools to improve their lives, Zoilita Grant MS CCHt. is truly a pioneer. As a nationally known psychotherapist and teacher, Zoilita has dedicated her life to helping people heal themselves. She works with clients to get to the roots of their issues so they may find happier, healthier lives. Zoilita uses five different styles of hypnosis. She is President of the Colorado Association of Psychotherapists and Director of the Colorado School of Counseling Hypnotherapy. Zoilita loves cats, practices yoga and has been meditating for 30 years. You can reach her at 303-776-6103

Surgical Hypnosis by Paul Gustafson RN BSN CH

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When people set aside the usual myths and misconceptions associated with hypnosis good things usually happen. Recently, hypnosis has been getting some positive national exposure increasing the publics general awareness of its health related benefits and its role as an increasingly popular frontline holistic healer. Hypnosis is non-invasive, soothing and once the client understands the process they may continue making healthy changes all on their own.

Hypnosis is the simple process of accessing subconscious thought. The subconscious mind has many important functions; it is where all our values, beliefs, habits and patterns reside. It also is the home of our body’s control center. It regulates our heart rate, breathing and coordinates every step we take.

Having the key to such a powerful place enables us to initiate positive changes supporting how our body responds to situations like stress, fear, pain, depression or even the trauma of surgery. Clients fortunate enough to be given the option of receiving hypnosis prior to, and after surgical procedures, sing its praises. Also, scientific research supports these claims with reduced complications and medication needs; more timely recoveries and shorter hospital stays, which is good for everyone.

“An average savings of $1,200 per patient resulted from this simple 5-minute intervention.” (Disbrow EA. Western Journal of Medicine. 1993)

Another study discovered that the hypnosis group did better than 89% of those who did not receive hypnosis. “These data strongly support the use of hypnosis with surgical patients.” (Hypnosis with Surgical Patients, Guy H. Montgomery, PhD)

Hypnosis isn’t magic, its nature. We all go in and out of hypnotic-like trance several times a day. We call it day dreaming or zoning out. Hypnosis is the process of enabling this dream-like state to occur and then offering helpful direction, which support the client’s specific goals.

Surgical hypnosis involves relaxation, improved immune response and circulation that minimizes infection and promotes rapid healing. By increasing endorphin production pain is minimized requiring less medication and the unwanted side effects that usually result. And because the imagination resides in subconscious thought, wonderful images show the client relaxed, comfortable and successful further reinforcing this positive plan.

This healthy direction creates a blueprint, which becomes reality. Surgical Hypnosis disconnects patterns of fear and worry. It puts the client in the drivers seat when need they need it most. In life we all follow the path of our most dominant thoughts and with hypnosis you get the unique opportunity to create the thoughts and images, which serve you best. What your mind conceives your body achieves.

In the mid 1840’s when John Elliotson and James Esdaile began using hypnosis in the surgical setting as an anesthetic with great success. Prior to their efforts mortality rate was 40%; with hypnosis it was 5%. In spite of their success hypnosis would soon take a backseat to either, nitrous oxide and chloroform by the late 1840’s. (Origins of Surgical Hypnosis. John F. Kihlstrom)

The 3 important keys to success with hypnosis are how open a client is to this type of relaxation, how motivated they are to make positive changes and how prepared the hypnotist is to offer the suggestions and imagery supporting the desired change.  Hypnosis is a relationship of trust and co-operation. If a client believes the hypnotist is working in their best interest they are likely to be more open minded and accepting, ensuring positive results.

It is impossible to predict the outcome of any treatment option but when clients understand the technique, benefits and are involved with the process, results are consistently positive.  Also, considering the mountain of research supporting clinical hypnosis as an effective compliment to traditional medicine, the time has come to open the door to this and other holistic options.

An advocate and practitioner of surgical hypnosis is Elvira Lang MD. Dr. Lang teaches at Harvard University and is the Director of Interventional Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston, MA. Her study involved 241 patients receiving percutaneous vascular and renal procedures either received no special treatment, structured attention or self-hypnotic relaxation. “Structured attention and self-hypnotic relaxation proved beneficial during invasive medical procedures. Hypnosis had more profound effects on pain and anxiety reduction, and is superior, in that it also improves hemodynamic stability.” (Elvira V Lang The Lancet, Vol 355 2000)

Other studies reveal more positive results:

“Positive intraoperative suggestions seem to have a significant effect in reducing morphine requirements in the early postoperative period.” (McLintock TT. BMJ 1990)

“Patients in the hypnosis group had significantly less vomiting, 39% compared to 68% in the control group, less nausea and less need of analgesics postoperatively. Preoperative hypnotic techniques in breast surgery contribute to a reduction of both post operative nausea and vomiting and postoperative analgesic requirements.” Enqvist B. Bjorklund, Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica 1997)

“ypAnxiety before the operation increased significantly in the control group but remained at baseline level in the experimental (hypnosis) group. Postoperative consumption of analgesics was significantly reduced in the experimental (hypnosis) group compared to the control (non-hypnosis) group.” (Enqvist B. Fischer International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis 1997)

“A significant correlation was found between anxiety and perceived knowledge of procedures. The results suggest that pre-operative hypnosis provides a quick and effective way to reduce pre-operative patient anxiety and anesthetic requirements for gynecological daycare surgery.” (Goldmann L. Anaesthesia 1988)

Through the early 20th century the debate was if hypnosis existed at all. The American Medical Association said it did in 1958 and since then hypnosis has been dissected and analyzed and the positive results are available for anyone to read.

Now the debate is over and the verdict is in. It may not be for everyone, but what is?  Hypnosis is safe, relaxing and an effective option for clients going through the trauma of surgery. There are no side effects or allergic reactions and it costs next to nothing. Some also believe that it should be the client’s right, not the hospital’s option, as to which holistic supports are available. Someday soon it will hopefully be as simple as selecting ‘hypnosis’ on a pre-op check list.

Paul Gustafson RN, BSN, CH is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and practices in Burlington, Massachusetts. His 11 years of acute cardiac and hospice nursing experience offer a solid foundation supporting his clinical approach to hypnosis. Visit or call 888-290-3972 for more information.

Author profile:

Paul Gustafson, R.N., C.H. is a Clinical Hypnotherapist in Burlington, MA. His 11 years of acute cardiac and hospice experience offer a solid foundation supporting his empowering and creative use of hypnosis. Visit or call toll free at 888-290-3972.

©2004 Paul Gustafson  – all rights reserved


Arthritis-Hypnosis Connection by Paul Gustafson RN BSN CH

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Did you know that we all have the ability to enhance self-healing, increase comfort and improve nutrition, exercise, communication and flexibility? This article explains clinical hypnosis and how it can bring relief to clients suffering from arthritis. Hypnosis is easy to learn, you can do it on your own and it empowers you to take an active role in your healthy well-being.

The subconscious mind has many jobs. It quietly and effectively regulates our bodily functions and stores all of our values, beliefs and memories. It also balances our blood pressure, heart rate and co-ordinates each step we take everyday of our life. The negative effects of arthritis extend into many areas of a client’s life, as does the positive resolve and relief of hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is the simple process of accessing and directing the subconscious mind to support certain positive changes. It is the language of the mind, it access the most powerful level of awareness and down loads new applications of freedom and relief.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It causes a deterioration of the protective lining of cartilage in our joints. This deterioration occurs due to a breakdown of the chondrocytes that form cartilage. Osteoarthritis affects men and women equally. Most people over 30 years of age have some features of early osteoarthritis. The degree of limitation depends on the location of the inflammation. The major areas of concern are hips, knees and spine. The development of osteoarthritis may be related to trauma, aging or heredity.

The symptoms of stress play a big role in exacerbating the situation. Communication with family and friends plays a key role in managing stress and hypnosis makes this a lot easier.  Suggestions offered to a client during a hypnosis session encourage them to share what’s on their mind enabling them to offload concern and frustration, giving them more time doing things they enjoy.

It takes energy to deal with any physical or emotional burden. Hypnosis creates ideal sedation allowing for sound sleep. We all follow the path of our most dominant thoughts and if the last thoughts a client has at bedtime involve deep restful sleep, they are in a much better position to recharge their body and mind for tomorrow’s challenges.

For those suffering with arthritis it’s often difficult just keeping up with the fast pace of day-to-day life. Hypnosis helps individuals adjust to a more appropriate pace and also to release the frustrations and anxiety associated with any limitation. Clients who routinely relax with hypnosis are more centered, balanced and less affected by things they can not control.

Increasing muscle tone reduces stress to affected joints, which increases mobility and comfort. Low impact activities like swimming; walking and range of motion exercises are commonly recommended to clients with arthritis.  With hypnosis it’s easier to integrate new regimes and to establish positive subconscious connections between healthy activity and improved mobility, comfort and freedom.

The more protection in your joints, the more comfort and mobility you create. Since the subconscious controls the multitude of our bodily function, hypnosis can direct it to increase the production of chondrocytes, which increases the growth of healthy new cartilage. Pain is often the biggest issue with arthritis. Some pain, however, is necessary; it acts as a warning system telling us that something isn’t right. The responsible approach with hypnosis is to only reduce unnecessary pain, leaving intact the body’s ability to signal us and protect us from further complications.

Hypnosis can also be used to regulate the flow and distribution of endorphins, which are the ‘feel good’ chemicals the body uses to create comfort and relaxation. Using hypnosis to regulate endorphin production plays a big role in putting the client in control. Hypnosis can also alter the perception of where the pain is located. By redirecting sensitivity away from key areas such as hips, knees and vertebrae to a less critical part of the anatomy like a finger tip, the client has much more control.

The same approach can be used to attach a different quality to pain. A sharp pain can be perceived as dull; burning pain can be perceived as cool. Involving other senses is one of the distinct advantages hypnosis offers in managing the symptoms of arthritis. Another technique involves using one color to represent pain and another to represent comfort, and then blending the two offering instant relief.

Lastly, by attaching a number value to pain creates the option of change. By imagining a yardstick during hypnosis a client can pick the number that best reflects their current level of pain, and then they are directed to different numbers which changes their perceived level of discomfort.

With hypnosis arthritis sufferers gain a distinct advantage in managing and even reversing the limitations of arthritis. Hypnosis is simple, empowering and extremely effective. A few sessions with a hypnotherapist gets you started and with a little practice you begin to effect healthy positive changes in your life. We all have remarkable self-healing abilities and hypnosis is an excellent way to jumpstart a return to a healthier more active life.

Author profile:

Paul Gustafson, R.N., C.H. is a Clinical Hypnotherapist in Burlington, MA. His 11 years of acute cardiac and hospice experience offer a solid foundation supporting his empowering and creative use of hypnosis. Visit or call toll free at 888-290-3972.

©2003 Paul Gustafson  – all rights reserved

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