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Hypnotherapy and fibromyalgia

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

If Calhoun County is in line with national averages, over 2,000 people in this area suffer from chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia. For these people, this often disabling physical disorder results in daily pain and a confusing mental condition called “fibro fog.” Also, many fibro sufferers endure other problems such as insomnia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as well as several other issues. Thus most of them must significantly reduce their activities. This leads to unproductive lives characterized by persistent pain, depression, and even despair and negativity.

While there are several theories about what causes fibromyalgia, it is widely considered as unpreventable and is characterized by many unknowns. On top of that, medical doctors cannot find anything physiologically wrong. There are no inflamed muscles, infections, or defective organs to address. Symptoms simply cannot be found. Yet to a fibro sufferer, their symptoms are indeed extremely real. Nevertheless, for years – and even today with some – most medical professionals still believe that this disorder is “all in the mind” of the complaining patient. However, rheumatologists now agree that if a patient is complaining about widespread pain and tenderness in 11 of 18 areas of their body for a minimum of three months, they can be diagnosed as having the Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). (The word syndrome means “collection of symptoms.” So unlike something such as cancer with very distinct tumors, the focus here is on the symptoms rather than the underlying causes or manifestation – which is unknown.)

Despite the continued skepticism, this is probably the most common disorder among women between the ages of 20 and 50. Women who are younger or older than this group and men can also be diagnosed as having FMS. In general, it is estimated that over 2% of the US population suffers from it.

As there is no recognized organic problem, medical professionals are generally limited to advising patients on their diet and sleep. From that point the only alternative is to give them a variety of pain and sleep medications. There are also times that doctors prescribe anti-convulsion drugs. (This is an interesting fact as these drugs affect the same parts of the brain addressed by hypnosis – which does not have any side-effects and costs much less.) When a patient fails to respond to such medical treatment, their case is considered refractatory, which means resistant to treatment.)

In desperation some in the medical community have considered complementary and alternative health care. These include chiropractic, naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture/acupressure, massage therapy, and hypnotherapy. Also, psychotherapists have used Cognitive-Based Therapy (CBT). While many studies doubt that chiropractic medicine has much impact, there is a lot of medical literature pointing out the value of massage therapy, CBT, and hypnotherapy. By far there is much more scientific research supporting the use of hypnotherapy than any other method. In fact, it appears that there is strong evidence that the long-term alleviation of symptoms occurs more often through the use of hypnotherapy than even the regular use of drugs. Clearly, hypnotherapy is the most powerful alternative. Yet, it is the least publicized – probably as it is not as profitable to the pharmaceutical companies.

This should not be surprising. FMS is probably strongest example of the mind/body connection gone awry. Hypnosis is the most powerful approach in this area. While the treatment of FMS is the most difficult challenge that a qualified hypnotherapist encounters, it seems that a multi-session hypnosis approach is highly effective for long-term alleviation of most if not all FMS symptoms. This means that a person, who has suffered for years, can often experience startling results in only a few months of specifically designed hypnotherapy sessions. Hypnotherapy is highly documented when it comes to alleviating acute and chronic pain. Thus the current interest in hypnotherapy for treating FMS symptoms should not be surprising. I find that by using hypnosis to address a wide range of issues such as self-empowerment, trust, confidence, and a belief in the mind/body relationship, just about everyone that I see shows significant results.

My approach to the treatment of FMS symptoms is based upon numerous scientific studies such as the 2008 Spanish research published in Contemporary Hypnosis in 2008. As the creator of Advanced Neuro-Noetic HypnosisTM, I have combined the lessons learned from multiple studies and my own observations into a nine session program. Between each session the patient is encouraged to listen daily to a 16 to 20 minute recorded hypnosis session. These recorded sessions are also made available through Fibromyalgia.TimBrunson.com..






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Keywords: fibromyalgia, hypnotherapy, hypnosis, chronic pain

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