Nobody wants to live a life consumed with pain. The suggestion to “just relax” to alleviate pain can seem almost insulting to those suffering from intense persistent physical pain. However, having an understanding of what happens chemically in our bodies when we are experiencing pain can help in our understanding as to how simple relaxation exercises, via hypnosis, can go a long way to relieving our pain.
We know that cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and sometimes called the “stress hormone” is activated in reaction to stress. Pain is stressful, and when we are in pain and under stress our bodies are flooded with stress hormones. When we are flooded with stress hormones we are actually in a fight or flight response. It takes a great deal of energy for our bodies to maintain the fight or flight response and there is an allocation of energy away from the viscera (our body cavity), to our arms and legs during this response. In short, this means our immune system is compromised, our digestive system is compromised, and we have a minimal amount of energy to allow the natural healing process to proceed.
Through the use of hypnosis, one can learn to access a deep state of relaxation, thus keeping the cortisol and other stress hormones at bay. This allows the immune system to function properly, and provides a healthy environment for healing to take place in our bodies. Through the use of visualization in hypnosis, many pain sufferers find relief from the agonizing experience of chronic pain. Visualization is not for everyone, but everyone can benefit from the depth of relaxation experienced through hypnosis.
For further information on the physiology of pain and stress management see: Preventing chronic pain with stress management.