Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hypnosis and Childbirth

Can Hypnosis Help During Childbirth? The Answer is Yes!

Many of you might be familiar with how hypnosis can help with weight loss and smoking cessation. But, did you know that hypnosis can also be used during pregnancy to help relieve anxiety and aid in a pain-free birth?

Hypnosis has been used for quite some time to help in numerous health-related issues, from relieving IBS symptoms to preparing for surgery to alleviating fear of dental procedures. Many pregnant women are now enjoying the benefits of hypnosis, allowing them to experience natural births with little to no pain.

In order to better understand how hypnosis can help pregnant women, it helps to gain a better understanding of hypnosis itself. To put it in simple terms, hypnosis is intense focus and concentration. Many people have likened the concentration with getting lost in a good book or television program. Utilizing that intense focus, hypnosis can actually slow down your brain waves.

Right now you’re probably in your waking state, which is Beta consciousness. But, by altering your conscious state through hypnosis, you are able to enter Alpha consciousness, where your brain waves actually slow down. And, when you slow down your brain waves you lose the “critical chatter” of the conscious mind and are able to slip in positive suggestions to the subconscious mind. These positive suggestions can be about any behavior you’d like to change, or any outcome you’d like to see take effect, such as having a natural, easy birth.

In addition, when you’re in a relaxed stated and imagining a desired outcome, the brain can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy, and reacts as if the desired outcome was a reality. This phenomenon can be seen in pain management, when hypnotherapists use hypnosis and imagery on pain sufferers to help them lessen the intensity of their pain.

Hypnosis can aid pregnant women in so many different ways and in so many different stages of their pregnancies.

Hypnosis Can Aid in Fertility

Where inability to become pregnant is not due to a medical condition, many women have found relief with hypnosis. There are many who believe that if you can imagine it you can create it, and hypnosis is often paired with imagery to “visualize” oneself becoming pregnant and imagining a baby coming into one’s life. Hypnosis is also used to alleviate stress, which may be inhibiting a woman from becoming pregnant. Of course, women aren’t the only ones whose stress and anxiety may be inhibiting pregnancy. Many men feel the pressure to help their partners conceive. This stress can affect men’s sperm count and mobility.

Hypnosis can Aid in Helping a Woman Become more Comfortable

Many women experience discomfort from being pregnant, such as morning sickness, the intensity of which can be lessened through hypnosis. In women with high blood pressure, hypnosis can be helpful in helping them to relax, which in turn can help control the symptoms.

Hypnosis can Help in the Actual Birth Process

Many women are now using hypnosis to help them have their baby naturally. Utilizing hypnosis, women can help themselves relax during the baby’s birth. Since pain responses are greatly enhanced with fear and anxiety, creating a sense of calm helps in reducing the sensation of pain. The women will be awake and aware of everything that’s happening, including the contractions, but will be able to dictate to a great extent the intensity of the sensations she feels.

There are numerous hypnosis tapes and CDs available which can help reduce the fears and anxieties associated with pregnancy and the birthing process. If at all possible, it’s preferable to meet face to face with a hypnotherapist who can tailor the hypnosis to your specific fears, anxieties or needs.

How to Find a Hypnotherapist

The first place to look is your own doctor. Ask him or her if they can recommend a hypnotherapist. If your doctor does not have a recommendation you can utilize internet hypnotist referral networks to find one in your area. One good referral website is www.registeredhypnotist.com, where you can look up hypnotherapists in your area.

Another good internet resource is www.hypnobirthing.com, which lists practitioners across the country who’ve gone through the HypnoBirthing® The Mongan Method, a program specifically tailored to natural birthing.

Whether you plan on a natural birth or not, hypnosis can still help you relax more about the entire birthing process. Becoming more relaxed can help you gain control over your pregnancy, rather than have your pregnancy gain control over you.

For more information on expecting a baby, visit www.expecting-baby.net, where you'll find out about such things as water birthing

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Put Some Imagery in your Self Hypnosis

When practicing self-hypnosis (or regular hypnosis) it's good to incorporate some imagery as well. What is imagery? Imagery is using your senses to enhance hynpnosis. It's using pictures, sounds, smells, tastes, touch to send an even stronger message to your subconscious.

For example, if you want a successful outcome (say you're using hypnosis to overcome a fear of public speaking, or are working up to a big presentation) actually feel the success. Feel the emotions of how a successful outcome would be. Hear people telling you you did a great job. Maybe you'd taste champagne if that is a symbol of success to you. Maybe feel yourself shaking hands with people as they congratulate you.

Imagery enhances the effects of hypnosis. Do try it.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Self-Hypnosis Techniques

Hypnosis can be used for a host of self-improvement issues, such as an aid to stop smoking, motivation to stay on a diet, raising one’s self-esteem, attracting prosperity, enhancing sports performance, and conquering fears and phobias. This can be accomplished with the aid of a trained hypnotherapist, or through self-hypnosis. (You can also record your own hypnosis script if it's difficult for you to maintain focus).

A simple formula for self-hypnosis would go as follows:

1) Sit comfortably in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting comfortably in your lap. Close your eyes.

2) Take three deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

3) Then, tell yourself to imagine relaxation drifting down over your body, starting with your head and working down. Imagine the relaxation drifting down over your eyes, your cheeks, drifting down over your jaw. Imagine your neck and throat as relaxed. Imagine every muscle just letting go. Then imagine the relaxation drifting down over your arms, down into your hands and fingers. Tell yourself you might feel a tingling feeling in your hands as your hands relax. Your hands might also feel warm. Then imagine the relaxation drifting down your upper back, to the middle back, down your lower back and down into your hips. Imagine the relaxation drifting downward over your chest, your solar plexus, down into your stomach. Then imagine the relaxation moving down into your thighs, down over your legs and into your feet and toes. Now imagine all the tensions exiting through your toes and relaxation taking hold in your body.

4) Tell yourself your entire body is relaxed, but that you are going to go deeper. Count down from 5 to 0, telling yourself you’re getting more relaxed with each breath. At the count of 0, tell yourself “deep sleep,” adding “each and every time I suggest deep sleep to myself for the purposes of hypnosis, I will sleep deeply and soundly to this deep state or deeper.” (This will help condition you for deeper relaxation in the future).

5) At this point imagine yourself at the top of a staircase. Tell yourself it’s a safe, strong staircase with strong railings. There are 21 steps down, and with each step you will get deeper and deeper into relaxation. Before taking that first step down, notice a backpack sitting at the top of the stairs. In the backpack contains all your concerns of the days, worries or self-doubts. Imagine placing them in the backpack, as you no longer need them. Now take the first step down and imagine growing more and more relaxed with each step down. Count down from 21 to 0, and with the count of 0 repeat “deep sleep,” adding “each and every time I suggest deep sleep to myself for the purposes of hypnosis, I will sleep deeply and soundly to this deep state or deeper.”

6) Now tell yourself you are giving your subconscious positive suggestions. They can be suggestions such as “each and every day my confidence grows.” Or “every day, in every way, my health, happiness and prosperity increases.” Tailor the suggestions to your specifics needs, remembering to always word them in the positive. For example, “I am no longer poor” would not be a good suggestion. “My prosperity increases every day” would be a good suggestion. Also, try to word the suggestion in the present tense, which is more effective than future tense.

7) After you have given yourself your suggestions, tell yourself you are going to count yourself up from 0 to 5, and at the count of 5 you will be refreshed, clear thinking and energized. Count yourself up from 0 to 5, and at 5 tell yourself “eyes open, wide awake” and give yourself a few moments to re-orient yourself to the waking state.

The key to mastering self-hypnosis is to practice, so you might want to make that one of your first suggestions. And, don’t be discouraged if the changes aren’t instantaneous. Some people do see quick results, but for many of us, change can take weeks or, perhaps, months. If you find after months of practicing hypnosis that the changes aren’t happening, dig deeper to see what’s holding you back. You may have to alter your suggestions once you discover the stumbling blocks.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Can Hypnosis Increase Your Luck?

Hypnosis is quite popular as a tool to lose weight and quit smoking. But, did you know hypnosis can be good for helping you become luckier?

According to the book, “Lucky You - Proven Strategies for Finding Good fortune” (written by Randall Fitzgerald) there have been many studies of the different behaviors of lucky people. And these behaviors can be learned by less lucky people to become luckier. Four of these traits possessed by lucky people are: Belief that your lucky; Noticing the lucky things that happen to you, no matter how small they may be; Listening and acting on your hunches; and the ability to quiet their minds in order to get in tune with their hunches.

That’s right. Lucky people believe deep down in their subconscious that they have the power to attract luck in their lives. And, they notice all the lucky things that happen to them. We attract the things we notice. And, if we notice and appreciate that we are lucky, our luck will increase. And, lucky people listen and act on their hunches.

Now, these traits are behaviors that can be learned. Because, the truth is, luck is all in your head! Take the case of a friend of mine who, along with all the members of his family, is very lucky at slots. Whenever he goes to a casino he comes out richer than when he went in. Word got around at his job that he was very lucky at the casino. Then one day a co-worker came up to him and said he heard my friend was very lucky at slots. My friend said "yes," he was. The man told him that he was going to Vegas that weekend and needed some luck. He touched my friend's shoulder and said “there, I took your luck.” And, guess what? For the longest time my friend had become unable to win. Now, did somebody really take his luck? No, but he believed somebody did, and it had the same effect as if somebody really did. That’s how powerful the mind and subconscious is.

That’s where hypnosis comes in. Hypnosis is one tool that can actually go in there and change the beliefs of the subconscious. How exactly does it do that? Hypnosis actually is able to bypass that critical part of our minds and go directly to the subconscious and give it new, positive messages. But, how can it do that? How can it bypass our critical minds to go in and do its work? The answer is: Brain Waves. We all have them. Right now we’re in our waking state, which is Beta consciousness. But, by altering our conscious state through hypnosis or meditation, we take ourselves to Alpha consciousness, and our brain waves actually slow down. Basically we lose the critical chatter and inhibitory process that characterizes our Beta consciousness. Therefore, suggestions such as “I am a winner” and “I attract good opportunities in my life” are slipped in without the critical mind even noticing because it’s slowed down.

And that is how hypnosis can give you the characteristics to attract luck in your life.

Monday, June 05, 2006

When to Listen to Hypnosis CDs

When should you listen to hypnosis CDs? That's really up to the individual, though I would caution against listening to them right before you fall asleep at night. Why? Because you run the risk of conditioning yourself to fall asleep whenever you go into trance. Should you wish to listen to your hypnosis CD at other times of the day, or ever choose to visit a hypnotist or hypnotherapist, you wouldn't want to fall asleep after entering the state of hypnosis. The deeper you are in sleep the less effective suggestions are to your subconscious. You really want to be awake for hypnosis to be a success.

What about a hypnosis CD for insomnia? If the tape or CD is meant to be listened to right before sleeping, obviously that's what you would do. However, I would purchase an insomnia hypnosis CD which is meant to be listened to during the day, with suggestions about falling asleep when it's bedtime. I would never get in the habit of listening to a hypnosis CD while I was falling asleep.

As for the right time of day to listen to your hypnosis CD, choose a time for you that will be quiet and uninterrupted. And, remember to unplug the phone.

Should you be seated or lying down during hypnosis? Avoid completely lying down as that might promote sleep. Some choose to use a recliner which leans back, but where you're not completely lying down. I always sit upright in a chair and find that works well for me.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Hypnosis CDs to Quit Smoking

Do hypnosis CDs to stop smoking really work? As with all issues you wish to resolve through hypnosis, they certainly can work if you're motivated to quit smoking.

Some people know they should stop smoking, and are nagged into a stop-smoking program by friends, spouses and partners. However, being nagged into quitting smoking is not motivation enough for you to stop. You really have to want to. So, when you're ready to stop smoking, going to a hypnotherapist or purchasing a hypnosis CD to quit smoking can be quite effective.

I believe it's always best to actually see a live hypnotherapist (because they may be able to take you to a deeper level of hypnosis) or have a personalized CD made, but if that's not possible, a mass-produced hypnosis CD can still work. If at all possible, check out the website of the CD creator and see if they have the suggestions contained in the CD or tape. (Suggestions are statements such as "from this day forward I am a non-smoker" which are repeated to you while in trance to reinforce an idea in your subconscious) If the suggestions are spelled out on the website, see if they resonate with you. If they don't, try another CD author. It's always good to have the suggestions as close to your personal situation as possible.

While using hypnosis to quit smoking, it's also a good idea to do things in your conscious life to change your smoking routine. For example, if your time to smoke is first thing in the morning while having coffee in your favorite chair, then you would switch chairs, maybe even skip the coffee (if that's possible). If you hold the cigarette in your right hand, hold it in your left hand. It's also a good idea while quitting smoking to switch brands of cigarettes, preferably to a brand you don't like. This way the pleasurable habit of smoking is beginning to change into something less pleasurable or familiar.

How long does it take for hypnosis to rid one of the habit of smoking? That's hard to say because it depends on the individuals, how much they smoke, how long they've smoked, the reasons they smoke, and how motivated they are. If you've been heavily smoking for many years, it's good to consult with your doctor as you quit. A heavy smoker might do best doing so gradually and not cold turkey.

If you're going to a hypnotherapist for personalized sessions to quit smoking, and are highly motivated to quit, it's possible to quit after one hypnosis session. Some people require a gradual slowdown, with up to six sessions spread out over six weeks. With each session you're smoking less and less. With a hypnosis CD that's not personalized to you, the length of time before you quit smoking depends on your motivation and your regular use of the CDs. It's good to listen to any hypnosis CD once a day for at least three weeks in order to see results.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Weight Loss Hypnosis CDs

I mentioned in the post on hypnosis CDs that there are some issues where a personal CD or visit to a hypnotherapist is preferable to a mass-produced CD. I gave as an example insomnia. Add weight loss to the list of issues which responds better to a more personal approach.

Again, I have used hypnosis CDs and have enjoyed some, but the issues surrounding weight loss are so varied and complicated that a mass-produced CD may not address the specific reasons people gain weight. For some, overeating is a habit that needs to be broken. For others it's a lack of knowledge of proper nutrition. And, for others, weight gain may represent a "protection" against perceived threats (example: a person might gain weight to keep others at a distance and avoid intimacy).

Can someone utilize mass-produced in their weight-loss efforts? Certainly. You might buy a CD about self-acceptance, or one where you increase your metabolism. You could also use a CD for motivation to exercise more. However, at some point your subconscious may resist, and that resistance is best handled on a personal level by an objective hypnotherapist.

One final note: with weight loss issues, it's best to incorporate a conscious, behavior modification program (like Weight Watchers) in addition to hypnosis. Hypnosis can be a great tool for weight loss, but is most effective when used in conjunction with other weight loss support systems.