Breast Cancer Awareness Month – The Role of Hypnosis in Cancer Healing
For the past few years, I have focused more on hypnosis and other techniques for many physical issues including cancer. I was influenced by the work of prominent doctors such as Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Christiane Northrup, Bernie Siegel, and Herbert Benson. They have all focused on how we can change our health and heal disease through our thoughts.
The American Medical Association has endorsed medical hypnosis for over 50 years. The benefits of stress management workshops in maintaining health and reversing such conditions as ulcerative colitis, chronic headaches, heart disease, and cancer have been acknowledged by doctors as well as employers, as health care costs soar. They are now taught in most major medical facilities and covered by many health insurance companies.
I first became aware of using the visualization and hypnosis to fight cancer in Dr. Bernie Siegel’s classic best-selling book Love, Medicine, and Miracles. There he tells of his cancer patients who have triumphed over their illness by using the power of their minds.
Visualization has been successfully usedf for many years to fight cancer in the body. There are numerous accounts of people who have had “spontaneous healing” (the title of one of Dr. Weil’s books), such as having their cancer shrink or even “disappear” after usiong prayer or visualization techniques. With hypnosis, visualization techniques can be made even more powerful because it creates a heightened state of awareness and avoids the judgment of the conscious part of the mind.
I’m not suggesting that people abandon traditional cancer treatment. I believe they should go hand in hand with mental and emotional exercises to create a mind-body healing experience. There are many things hypnosis can do to help a person increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. Thes include using visualization techniques to boost the immune system, creating a positive expectancy for healing and a reducing fear by creating a feeling a control over the cancer.
Dr. Mehmet Oz tells us that cancer is basically a disease of the immune system. We all carry cancerous cells in our body, but a healthy immune system will destroy these invaders. Many professionals believe that producing feelings of calm and relaxation allows the immune system to function at a maximum level, aiding the fight against cancer. Psychoneuroimmunology (the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body) is beginning to identify factors such as stress, depression, and loneliness that all seem linked to many diseases including cancer and slow or stop the healing process.
Techniques such as hypnosis can allow the person to feel a sense of control over their illness and so they no longer feel like the victim. It can also speed up the healing process, and reduce negative side effects and pain.
I’m not suggesting that hypnosis will cure everyone from cancer. I’m suggesting that people use every tool available, especially ones that are non-invasive and have no negative side effects. At the very least, hypnosis offers many cancer patients physical and emotional relief from the stress of being diagnosed with cancer and offers a higher quality of life with emotional healing and a feeling of control.