Can hypnotherapy help with long covid?

Now that we’ve lived with the coronavirus for some time, we’re starting to understand not just the short-term effects of the virus, but some longer-term effects too. We now know that recovery time is different for everyone and for some, symptoms last long after the infection has gone.

What is long covid?

Most people who contract coronavirus will make a full recovery within 12 weeks. In some cases however, this is not the case and symptoms persist – this is described as ‘long covid’. Interestingly the chances of someone developing long covid are not related to how ill they are when they first catch the virus. This means they may only experience mild symptoms at the time, but could still have long-term problems. 

Here are some common symptoms associated with long covid:

  • difficulty sleeping
  • fatigue
  • brain fog
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain/tightness
  • dizziness
  • joint pain
  • mental health concerns like depression and anxiety 

The NHS has a website dedicated to covid recovery, which includes more information and resources to help: Your Covid Recovery.

As we continue to learn about long covid and its effects, we need to think broadly in terms of tools to help. This is where hypnotherapy can step in.

Hypnotherapy for long covid

Noticing from the offset that people were struggling with covid symptoms after the infection was over, clinical hypnotherapist Rebecca Jones was eager to explore how hypnotherapy could help. In October 2020 Rebecca started the world’s first clinical trial and research study into long covid and hypnotherapy. She now has her own London-based clinic, The Long Covid Therapy Institute©, which helps patients and trains therapists and medical practitioners to become long covid (hypno)therapists.  

Rebecca explains that during the months of trialling hypnotherapy techniques (both old and new), the results they found were ‘overwhelming’.

“Each participant in the trial was assessed before, during, and after the trial using standardised medical assessment tools. And each patient showed vast, or complete improvement over the course of the trial.”

How does hypnotherapy for long covid work?

Hypnotherapy is an approach that works with the subconscious, helping to make changes that often aren’t available through other therapies. When it comes to easing symptoms of long covid, Rebecca explains that clinical hypnotherapy helps on several levels to alleviate pain, trigger internal healing and accelerate long-term recovery.

Here she explains how it helps on a physiological level:

“Your body is the vehicle where changes take place, both good and bad. When we are ill, stressed, or overwhelmed, it is very difficult for these changes to be positive. Using hypnosis our bodies begin to realign, settle, and begin once more to tune in to and use our own internal healing mechanisms to heal our own bodies. Instinctively, we know how to breathe. And healing comes from this same innate place. Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder and nudge on how to do this.”

On a neurological level:

“The quality, strength and the very nature of our neurological pathways in our brain lead us to either healing well or, adversely, can lead us to heal less well. Here the power of hypnotherapy can direct our neural pathways and recreate the chemical landscapes of our brain to adapt to our current situation for the better. 

“We can also actually reprogramme our brains to shift what we think, what we feel, and what we do. Our thoughts affect our feelings and emotions and this affects our actions and what we do in life.”

And finally, on a holistic level:

“The mind, brain, and the body are inextricably linked and interconnected. And so once we shift and improve the neurology of our brains, and improve our neurological makeup, we instantaneously fire off millions of chemicals in our bodies too. Cells replenish, chemicals surge, blood flows, and we… breathe.”

Advice for those experiencing long covid

If you think you have long covid, know that you’re not alone and more and more research is taking place to find tools that can help. Seeking the advice of your doctor is recommended to learn more about what to expect. You could also seek the support of a clinical hypnotherapist with training in this area.

Rebecca shares some self-care tips to keep in mind:

  • Prioritise. Only do what needs to be done today. Tomorrow is another day.
  • Put your own self-care on the top of your list!
  • Rest and sleep cannot be overdone at this moment. Give yourself plenty of time.
  • Get some fresh air if you can. Even if it’s just from your bedroom window.
  • Focus on two good things about this week.
  • Place your attention on three good things about next month.
  • Rest your awareness on something good that is happening now, today.

Learn more about Rebecca’s research in her published articles: Long covid and hypnotherapy, Long covid and hypnotherapy – research study update and Long covid clinic and hypnotherapy: the results

Recently Rebecca received the Crea Global Award for her work in therapy and mental health. Described as a prestigious list of honorees recognised for their creative ideas, adaptability in business, and work in mental health, award winners include Oprah Winfrey and Marisa Peer. 

Message Rebecca to learn more about hypnotherapy for long covid. 

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Written by Kat Nicholls
Kat is a Content Producer for Memiah and writer for Hypnotherapy Directory and Happiful magazine.
Written by Kat Nicholls
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