Hypnosis is a much maligned and misunderstood aspect of mind “tinkering.” Many people think of hypnosis as a person clucking around like a chicken on stage after having a pocket watch dangled in front of his eyes. There’s more to this field of study.
In 2000, Brain Research Bulletin published a paper about the brain activity (electroencephalogram, or EEG) patterns of hypnotized volunteers. EEG activity showed a significant increase in the gamma band.
The Power of HypnosisEverything you hear is a fact to you when you are put in a hypnotic state. For example, you will shiver at 100F if you are told it is 30F while you are hypnotized.
How Effective Is Hypnosis for Pain Control?Among non-pharmacologic interventions, hypnosis is found to be the most effective one.
Not only could hypnosis create a brain state conducive to great inspirations and problem-solving capabilities, it could also act as a potent painkiller.
It appears these mysterious gamma waves have once again reared themselves during hypnosis. The question is whether the hypnotized volunteers merely think they feel less pain or if they actually feel less pain.
At some point, the question will be: does it really matter?
Let’s take a look at some of the more “externalized” cases.
The human mouth is considered one of the most sensitive parts of the body. The concentration of nerve endings in the mouth appear to be quite vast.
Generally speaking, the process of removing a fully embedded molar from a person’s mouth requires force and without the use of local or general anesthesia would be considered quite painful. The removal of a person’s wisdom teeth is considered to be surgical by nature, sometimes requiring general anesthesia (putting a person to “sleep” via sedatives) as well as local anesthesia (numbing in the area of the tooth removal).
In 2013, the Journal of Cranio-maxillofacial Surgery published a study in which 24 volunteers had two wisdom teeth removed. In each patient, one tooth would be removed utilizing hypnosis as a means of pain prevention while the other tooth would be removed utilizing local anesthesia.
The results of the study were as follows: “Of the subjects who underwent hypnosis, only two subjects (8.3 percent) reported pain after induction of hypnosis. In the local anesthetic group, 8 subjects (33.3 percent) reported pain. The results of the study showed that patients in the hypnosis group had less pain during the first few hours post-operatively.”
In 1999, Acta Chirurgica Belgica, the official journal of the Royal Belgian Society for Surgery, published a study regarding hypnosis and its effects on thyroidectomy (thyroid removal) and cervicotomy (incision into the cervix of the uterus) in place of general anesthesia (complete sedation).
The results of this study were as follows: “All surgeons reported better operating conditions for cervicotomy using hypnosis. All patients having hypnosis reported a very pleasant experience and had significantly less postoperative pain while analgesic use was significantly reduced in this group.”