Pain Mangement

This page gives examples of how hypnotherapy helps with pain management: it has been used for surgery, dentistry, migraine, giving birth, Ulcerated Colitis …. and more …

Hypnosis has been used for medical benefits for centuries.  In the 1800’s a leading London physician, John Elliotson, reported almost 2,000 surgical operations performed with hypnosis and without anaesthetic.  In India, James Esdaile performed amputations using hypnosis.   Today some dentitists use hypnotherapy for destistry work.

Pain can be classed as two types: acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain is severe but lasts for a relatively short period of time, and chronic pain ranges from mild to severe, but lasts for at least twelve weeks.

Feeling pain can sometimes be beneficial (although it may not seem it at times!).  For example, a constant severe headache may be an indicator of something serious, or stomach pain may be a warning of appendicitis – which left untreated, could eventually burst and even prove fatal.  Thus pain can be seen as part of the body’s alarm system to protect us from danger.  However, chronic pain may serve no use at all and can become destructive and incapacitating.  It’s knock on effects can be depression, harmful effects on the heart and blood pressure, affect gastric and colonic processes, etc.  Overall, chronic pain can have a detrimental effect on a person’s quality of life, and reduce productivity in work.

The National Hypnotherapy Society also suggests changing your mental attitude, in order to cope with pain:

“Your mental attitude can make a big difference in your perception of pain. There are various ways you can change this, from relaxation techniques and mindfulness to breathing exercises and hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy can help you learn to relax while breaking the thought patterns that make pain feel more intense.”     5 January 2016


There are several tools as a hypnotherapist that I use for pain management – eg “dial control” suggestions; glove anesthesia.  And as stress is often a result of chronic pain, I can work with clients to reduce stress which can be very effective (also see Bryant and Mabbut – authors and lecturers in NHS and Medical schemes).


People who suffer from chronic pain may also suffer a suppressed immune system.  Again, hypnotherapy may help here as hypnosis has been seen to have a positive effect on the immune system.  (see Science News, Sep 4 1993)

Thus, hypnosis can help with both the physiological symptoms of  pain and discomfort, as well as psychological effects, such as  stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression.

An article in “The Huffington Post”, 07/02/2014   entitled “5 Science-Backed Health Benefits Of Hypnosis” the topics  include Pain, as well as Sleep, IBS, Hot Flushes, and Anxiety. see:

Below are just some examples of different types of medical problems that cause pain, and examples of how hypnosis has helped.

* Migraines and Pain Management

GP Kate Barnes extended her medical training to include complementary medicine, enabling her to devise her own cure for deliberating migraines, and found that practising hypnotherapy helped to calm her down.
(“Woman and Home” Sept 2014 p 131)

*  Giving Birth – (Hypnobirthing)

Hypnotherapy can be used for childbirth, known as Hypnobirthing.  It is an effective form of antenatal preparations to help mums-to-be release fears and become more relaxed during pregnancy and birth.  The combination of easy to learn methods of breathing and deep relaxation and visualisation, combined with positive thought and language, reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety and fear and, as a result, reduce pain.    For further information on Hypnobirthing, see separate section dedicated to Hypnobirthing on this site.

* Surgery for Brain Tumour and Hypnosis

In “How hypnosis can heal the body”   Psychology Today,  (US)  An example is given of how one client underwent a major brain operation through hypnosis as they were allergic to the anaesthetics and had to undergo brain surgery.

* Surgery for Throat and Hypnosis

Hypnotherapy was used for patient having throat surgery :

“Instead of giving her a general anaesthetic, hypnotherapist Asmaa Khaled accompanied her into theatre and put her into a deep trance. However, Kanté was sufficiently conscious to sing songs from her new album throughout the procedure, so Dhonneur would know exactly where to put his knife – and where not so as to protect her vocal cords. That way, she was still singing when the tumour had been sliced out.”    Read more in The Telegraph  17 June, 2014

* Ulcerated colitis (UC) and Hypnotherapy

UC is a form of irratable bowel disease and affects the large intestine or colon, causing inflamation, ulcers and sores.  It is similar to Crohn’s Disease.  Having UC can lead to other effects on the body, such as inflamation of the joints, ulcers in the mouth and skin, inflamation of the liver, poor blood circulation, headaches, weakness, – but this list is not exhustive.  A study in 2008 by Miller and Whorwell found that hypnosis was found to significantly reduce levels of some inflamatory substances found in the blood stream or in the rectal lining towards levels seen in patients without the disease.   In a control group of UC patients who did not receive hypnosis, no improved levels were seen.

Giving Birth – Hypnobirthing :

This page gives examples of how hypnosis has been used for childbirth – stemming from the 1930’s – and now becoming an increasingly popular aid to pregnancy and birth to control anxiety and pain ….

  • What is Hypnobirthing?:  It is an effective form of antenatal preparations to help you release fears and become more relaxed during pregnancy and birth.  The combination of easy to learn methods of breathing and deep relaxation and visualisation, combined with positive thought and language, reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety and fear and, as a result, reduce pain.
  •  HypnoBirthing is based on the work of Dr Grantly Dick-Read, an English physician practicing in the 1930’s.  In 1933 he published his book “Childbirth without Fear”  and stated:  “There is no physiological function in the body that gives rise to pain in the normal course of health. In no other animal species is the process of birth apparently associated with any suffering, pain or agony, except where pathology exists or in an unnatural state, such as captivity.”    Dick-Read’s principles are also the basis of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT)

Thus, releasing fear is fundamental to the success of Hypnobirthing, as anxiety and pain are connected. Therefore my hypnobirthing package will be based on working to relaxation to reduce anxiety, which in turn, reduces pain.  Please note:  hypnosis is not recommended during the first trimester of pregnancy.

There are many benefits that can be gained from hypnobirthing. Many women report they are feel more relaxed and in control; benefit from improved sleep; and are physically more comfortable.  Some women may also find hypnobirthing helps to reduce “morning sickness”, heartburn and insomnia. Hypnobirthing can also bring benefits to your partner and baby.

Kate Middleton reportedly practiced hypnobirthing when giving birth to her and Prince william’s royal son, George. Hypnobirthing is a self-hypnosis technique for pregnant women to help them relax during childbirth.  see   (Daily Mail, 27 June 2013)

Breathing Techniques:

Breathing techniques can also be used to help “Sleep soundly and manage stress and pain” (Source: Stuart Sandeman “Breath In Breath Out”  2022)