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Try Self-Hypnosis to Reduce Sickle Cell Pain

June 9, 2015 by Andrea

self-hypnosis post

Get back to living your life with less worry and anxiety by incorporating cognitive-behavioral therapy into your regular sickle cell treatment routine. The most researched type of behavioral intervention for the management of sickle cell pain, according to The Journal of the National Medical Association,  this process works to "modify patients' thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors" by fusing coping strategies in with traditional medical treatments. One of those strategies is hypnotherapy.

For thousands of years, hypnotherapy has been practiced in some form by some peoples -- even children can learn -- however, it wasn't until 1995 that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) officially began to recognize and recommend it as a valuable treatment for chronic pain. A form of guided mediation, hypnotherapy can help the people who practice it and are open to it to reach a heightened state of consciousness and learn to control their own levels of awareness -- including the awareness of pain. According to Integrative Medicine Insights, "Hypnosis involves a change in the brain's perception." This change can affect the way you experience pain, namely by helping to reduce the severity and frequency of mild to moderate pain episodes. "Since hypnosis is a cognitive-behavioral strategy that has been shown to have a powerful effect on pain management in a number of settings ... a program designed to teach and encourage the use of self-hypnosis may positively impact the pain perception, sleep quality, functional outcomes, quality of life, and satisfaction of SCD patients," continues the article. 

Paul Van Ravenswaay, a psychiatrist in Washington, D.C. told the Washingtonian in a March 2012 article, "Pain is a sensory experience analogous to hearing and sight. In hypnosis, you can learn to ignore discomfort by focusing instead on a pleasant scene ... Or, the discomfort could be experienced as a different, more tolerable sensation." Sickle-cell patient, Beatrice Bowie, who is also mentioned in the article can identify, as she was taught self-hypnosis by another expert, Daniel Handel, a doctor at the NIH. "Before I started hypnosis, I couldn't cope with it," she told the Washingtonian. After learning this technique, though, she was able to deal with pain episodes differently. "Whenever I am having a crisis, I put earphones on and listen to music. It relaxes me ... I go back to the days when I was happy."

So, how can you get started? It's actually really easy, and you don't even have to spend money on expensive self-hypnosis DVDs or CDs. A quick YouTube search can pull up dozens of self-hypnosis videos and all you have to do is find the one that works best for you. 

Have you ever tried self-hypnosis to manage sickle cell pain? If not, will you try now, after reading this post? Tell us in the comments below!


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