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Can NLP Coaching and Hypnotherapy help with some health problems?


What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis is a state of consciousness in which the unconscious mind is more open to suggestions. It is a state of consciousness in which it becomes easier to communicate with the unconscious mind and the body. Hypnotism is the method of inducing a hypnotic state. Hypnotherapy is the application of hypnosis to achieving a therapeutic outcome.


Is hypnotherapy an appropriate treatment for some types of health problems?

Dr James Esdaile (1805-1859) , an English surgeon in 1845 performed amputations and three hundred deep abdominal surgical procedures using hypnosis as the sole anesthetic.

Dave Elman (1900-1967) trained many physicians, doctors and dentists in the United States during the 1960's in the use of hypnosis suitable for surgery.

Ernest Hilgard (1904-2001) an American psychologist, professor at Stanford university is well know for his studies on the application of hypnosis for pain control.

Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980) a medical doctor developed a style of hypnosis that became known as Ericksonian Hypnosis.

Emile Coue (1857-1926) a French physician, demonstrated the power of hypnosis with application to health problems. He formulated the laws of suggestion.

Hypnotherapy is best known for its ability to banish bad habits such as overeating, smoking, nail biting, bed wetting, and alleviating fears, anxiety and phobias; healing eating disorders; helping with some types of sleep disorders; peak performance for athletes; confidence in public speaking; stress management and relaxation.

Hypnotherapy is probably not as widely used as it could be by the medical profession because of the time that is involved in applying it. Hypnotherapy has applications such as:

  • In place of an anesthetic or to reduce the quantity used.
  • Manage pain during childbirth and reduce labor time.
  • Ease the symptoms of asthma.
  • Normalise blood pressure.
  • Reduce pre-surgery fears.
  • Build confidence in the medical treatment.
  • Enhance healing processes.


Hypnotherapy for pain control?

Medications may have side effects but natural forms of pain relief may reduce the amount of medication required, in some cases they may eliminate the need for medication at all. Dr James Esdaile (1805 - 1859), an English surgeon working in India (1845) performed amputations and deep abdominal surgical procedures using hypnosis as the sole anesthetic. Mortality in surgery at the time was 50%. Esdaile reduced this to 8%.

Dave Elman (1900 - 1967), author of Hypnotherapy, trained doctors and dentists in the use of hypnosis for pain control. Hypnotherapy is perhaps not as widely used as it should be because of easy access to chemical anesthetics. The practise of self-hypnosis helps the person to communicate with their unconscious mind and body, and 'turn off the pain switches'. NLP can also help in dealing with any memories that may be related to the problem.

How does stress affect the health of the body?

“Stress is the most common cause of ill health in our society, probably underlying as many as 70% of all visits to family doctors.”

David B. Posen, MD. The Canadian Journal of Continuing Medical Education, April 1995

"Stress has been linked to hypertension, heart attacks, diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, allergies, headache, backache, various skin disorders, cancer, and immune system weakness."

(1) Nation’s Business, December, 1994 in Research on Stress and Meditation.

Studies show that, “Long-term meditators experience 80% less heart disease and 50% less cancer than non meditators.”

( ) Meditation as Medicine By Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. and Cameron Stauth.


What is psychoneuroimmunology and mind-body healing?

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is the study of how the mind can be used to influence the immune system and the health of the body.

NLP and hypnotherapy have been used successfully to treat cancer.


What can a NLP hypnotherapist do to help someone who has cancer?

It is normal for someone when diagnosed with cancer to become stressed and fearful. However, stress is detrimental to the health of the body. But the comforting news is that NLP, hypnotherapy and meditation are effective at clearing negative emotions and producing a more relaxed state of mind. NLP and hypnotherapy can be used to:

  • Build a state of confidence and optimism for living.
  • Help the patient relax before medical treatment.
  • Support the doctor patient relationship by helping the patient be more relaxed when dealing with doctors and nurses.
  • Help deal with the side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea.
  • Pain management.
  • Help family members and carers deal with their own stressors and personal problems, thereby creating a more supportive home environment, all around.
  • See the article: "Hypnosis helps cancer patients by allowing the use of local anesthesia -- and may prevent metastasis." See


Other ways of understanding cancer.

A good hypnotherapist will explore any metaphor that can be used to help the body heal itself. The Simonton's developed an effective visualisation procedure that represented the immune system cells as the good guys and the cancer cells as the bad guys, but other medical researchers use different models. For example, some researchers consider "cancer to be a healing process that has difficulty in completing itself." (See Phillip Day, Cancer Why We’re Still Dying to Know the Truth, page 32.)

This model is similar to one developed by Dr Hammer, a German doctor. In the 1980's he developed cancer after the tragic death of his 19 year old son. Dr Hammer cured himself and then wondered if the trauma of his son's death had anything to do with the cancer. Dr Hammer went on to study 15,000 cancer patients. In each and every one of the cases he identified a significant emotional event (SEE) in the person's life, one to three years prior to the onset of the illness. This was not to say that emotional trauma and stress caused the cancer, just that in those people with cancer there was always a stress factor. (Read more about Dr Hammer.)


A suggested approach for a NLP Health Coach.

  • Learn what happened one to three years prior to the onset of the illness.
  • Clear negative events and emotions using NLP techniques. Clear all significant emotional events (SEE's) associated with the cancer and with cancer treatment. That will include visits to the doctor. Most importantly clear fear.
  • Get positive intention of the cancer part.
  • Change limiting beliefs to supporting beliefs. Install beliefs of healing and longevity of life.
  • Use visualisations to communicate with the immune system and the body.
  • Clear all possible psychological influences on the cancer. Use thorough investigative technique.
  • Resolve all inner conflict. Work towards a state of oneness.
  • Deep trance identification with spiritual role models.
  • Get control of the internal dialogue. No negativity is allowed at all. All thoughts need to be positive and create positive states. Let go the past totally. Let go all attachment. Let go any conflict with family, friends, etc. Build resource states.
  • Practise meditation and develop awareness of thought processes.
  • Progressive relaxation procedure for the muscles, organs and systems of the body.
  • Use hypnosis to improve sleep.
  • Support the medical treatment in every way that is possible.

© Author Abby Eagle

See also "Unresolved memories with an emotional component may be a factor in some health problems."


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