Hypnotherapy is when a hypnotherapist helps you go into a deeply relaxed state. We all go into such states of mind naturally in daily life. For example, when we daydream or concentrate deeply on something. A hypnotherapist can use various methods to help you into this state. They may speak to you slowly and soothingly. Or they may ask you to look at a fixed object in front of you or at the edge of your field of vision. You might feel heavy or light, but will remain relaxed and in control at all times. No one is sure how hypnotherapy works. One theory is that your conscious mind switches off while you are relaxed. So your unconscious mind is open to suggestions. While you are in this state, your hypnotherapist will suggest things that might help you to change your behaviour in a positive way or to relieve physical symptoms. Remember that even if you are hypnotised, you don’t have to take on the therapist’s suggestions. No one can hypnotise you if you don’t want them to
As with many types of complementary therapy, some people with cancer use hypnotherapy to help them relax and cope with symptoms and treatment. Hypnotherapy might help some people feel more comfortable and in control of their situation. People with cancer most often use hypnotherapy for sickness or pain. There is some evidence that hypnotherapy helps with these symptoms. It can also help with depression, anxiety and stress. Some doctors and dentists have hypnotherapy training. They might use this alongside conventional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
At your first appointment, the hypnotherapist will ask some general questions about your health, lifestyle and medical history. This may include questions about diet, sleep patterns and how you feel emotionally. Your hypnotherapist will then focus on why you want to have hypnotherapy. For example, you might want it to help you cope with anxiety or symptoms. Or you might just want to learn to relax more. You sit in a comfortable chair and when you are ready your hypnotherapist will begin. They may give suggestions on relaxation or help you to imagine being in a comfortable place. They might count down from 10 to 1. When you are relaxed, the therapist will give positive suggestions about changing your behaviour or managing symptoms. During the session you'll be aware of your surroundings. You can come out of the hypnotic state very quickly if you want to. Your hypnotherapist might also teach you self hypnosis so that you can manage your own condition. It may take a few weeks of practice before you feel the benefits of using self hypnosis. Many people worry that they will lose control under hypnosis and do or say things that they don’t want to. But you can choose not to answer if you are not comfortable with any of the suggestions made
Some reports show that hypnosis can help people to reduce their blood pressure, stress, anxiety, and pain. Hypnosis can create relaxing brainwave patterns. Some clinical trials have looked at how well hypnotherapy works for people with cancer.