Removing phantom limb pain with hypnotherapy
9th November, 20160 Comments
Written by: Troy Robins - Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist
With phantom limb pain, it’s as if the subconscious mind which perceives pain, has not been informed of the limb’s removal and so clings to the memory of the pain to fulfil its function of protecting the body. It’s possible to alter this memory with hypnotherapy by teaching the subconscious mind that the limb has been removed and so to remove the need for the pain.
Pain is both beneficial and harmful at the same time. Without pain, we would not be aware of harm done to ourselves, nor would we be as motivated to avoid harm. Prior to anaesthetics and hypnotherapy, many surgery patients were lost in surgery due to excessive shock. The original interest in hypnotherapy around the 1800’s in the Western World was largely due to its success in reducing or eliminating pain in surgery before anaesthetics were available or reliable.
Pain control in hypnotherapy has traditionally utilised three techniques to control pain; suggestion of reduction of pain, altering the experience of pain and misdirection of attention away from pain. More recently, due to the rising popularity of “regress to cause” hypnotherapy, chronic pain has been recognised as a symptom of a chronic condition. “Regress to cause” hypnotherapy strives to uncover, understand and release the cause of the chronic condition leading to the relief of chronic pain which can lead to a far superior result than traditional methods.
Phantom limb pain is different in that it’s logically impossible to perceive pain in a limb that no longer exists. Of course, this logic offers no help to those who suffer this frustrating condition and the discomfort experienced is unrelenting and very real. As the limb experiencing the pain no longer exists it’s as if the pain experienced is a “locked-in” memory of the pain experienced prior to the limb removal.
When it comes to phantom limb pain the subconscious mind, often referred to as the “protective mind,” seems to want to hold onto this perceived beneficial aspect of pain to heal it, even after the limb has been removed. It’s as if the subconscious mind has not been informed of the limb removal and as such needs to cling to the pain.
A memory of a pain is not a “physical” thing. A memory is information stored in the consciousness of the individual. Fortunately, there are several techniques in hypnotherapy that can be used to “teach” the subconscious mind that the limb has been removed and as such there is no longer a need for the pain. Nature is very economical and if pain is not needed it’s released.
About the author
Troy Robins is a highly experienced clinical hypnotherapist who has helped many thousands of people over many years of professional practice. Troy works at the Oxford Hypnotherapy Clinic in Oxford.
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