History of pain relief in hypnotherapy

Making pain “go away?” Really?


Find out what hundreds of former pain sufferers are discovering every day with Hypnotherapy

Do you think that hypnosis is just for quitting smoking, weight loss or stress reduction? Think again. Dealing with acute and chronic pain is one of the areas where hypnosis really shines. Every day Oregonians are walking away from the pain and discomfort they have been suffering from without surgery or addictive drugs. Modern hypnotherapy now offers clinical evidence that individual can be pain-free in an effortless and relaxed process.

Historically hypnosis is a very effective tool for managing chronic pain. James Esdaile, M.D., E.I.C.S, (1808–1859), a Scottish Army surgeon who served 20 years in India, performed more than 200 painless, surgical operations (including an 85-pound tumor resection) using only hypnosis, which, at that time was called “mesmeric anesthesia.” Dr. Esdaile took hours to put his patients into a state of trance so deep, there is thought to be no deeper level. Dave Elman, a noted figure in hypnotherapy, created a fast way of getting subjects to this profound state of hypnosis, in the 1960s. The “Esdaile State” allowed patients to reach a hypnotic state in 15 minutes or less. Because of Elman’s work, the once forgotten tool of hypnosis as an effective and drug-free pain management technique is available to patients today.

By the 19th century, hypnosis was being used in British hospitals for anesthesia. Yet, once chloroform was discovered, hypnotic anesthesia fell into oblivion, because it took more time to get certain patients into a pain-free condition than with the (then cheaper) use of chloroform. Thus, the positive effects of hypnotic anesthesia, such as less bleeding, faster wound healing and lower risk of infection, were also lost and forgotten. Lost to the convenience of drug-induced anesthesia.

Pain management through hypnosis in the 21st century

Today, thousands of practitioners are treating pain sufferers worldwide successfully, using hypnotherapy for managing, and sometimes even eliminating conditions including:

  • Lower back pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Complications presenting from lupus
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Allergies
  • And for speeding recovery time to earlier accidents or surgical interventions

Hypnosis, fast and cost-effective is growing in popularity. The incredible therapeutic value for pain management is just now becoming recognized as a noninvasive treatment for a variety of illnesses, especially pain and discomfort.

Hypnotherapy – a respite from the storm – the opioid addiction epidemic

 The National Institute on Drug Abuse, (NIDA) reports that 115 Americans die every day from opioids. We are witnessing the terrible, devastating and unnecessary epidemic of opioid addiction. The drugs that were prescribed for the treatment of acute pain (like a broken wrist or surgery) are not effective for treating any pain lasting longer than the healing period. That is the difference between acute pain, and the lingering longer-term pain called chronic pain. Opioids do not help with chronic pain, and their continued use simply compounds the highly addictive nature of opioids. Hypnotherapy can help a sufferer learn to manage persistent pain and address the elements of the addiction itself.

Pain – it’s all in the brain!

 It is vitally important to understand that all pain is actually experienced inside your brain. That’s the reason hypnosis is so powerful for pain reduction and pain management. Thinking of pain as a helpful signal might seem strange at first, but pain actually serves an important purpose. Pain is an indicator that something, somewhere, is wrong. Yet, once the actual condition is healed, the pain often persists. That is chronic pain.

 Anticipation makes pain worse

Much of the pain we experience is through anticipation, and anticipation makes pain worse. The worse we think something will feel, the worse it will feel. Even using what are known as “painted” or descriptive words can make pain much worse- words like ‘excruciating’, ‘red hot’, ‘throbbing,’ ‘stabbing’ etc.

Pain and suffering are subjective

 Pain and suffering are not the same and they are entirely subjective. One person may have a crushed limb but thinks of it in such a way that suffering is not significant. Another person may feel like they’re dying from an ingrown toenail. It can be largely the ‘internal’ language we use with ourselves, and the anticipation of the effect.

There is a story of a man who got very drunk while out on a stag night with his friends. He awoke with a broken leg that was wrapped in a cast having broken his femur by stepping off the curb and having his leg run over by a motorcyclist who fled the scene. His pain was agonizing. Only later did he discover that his leg was entirely uninjured. His friends waited for him to pass out drunk, and a medical student applied the cast. His excruciating pain vanished the instant he realized there was nothing wrong with him! Pain is in the brain!

Thanks to the ground-breaking work of James Esdaile and the discovery of fast-acting hypnotic anesthesia, we can use hypnosis to effectively reduce or even completely eliminate the feeling of pain and related anxiety. And, the best part is that there are no negative side effects.

Because pain is generated by the human the brain, using hypnotic methods to change the way we think and react to pain has powerful effects.

We can use hypnotic techniques to slow or prevent the release of substance P* – the chemical that causes us to experience localized pain. We can use hypnosis to cause profound relaxation, which automatically lessens any feelings of discomfort.

*Substance P is a compound thought to be involved in the synaptic transmission of pain and other nerve impulses. It is a polypeptide with 11 amino-acid residues.

About the authors

Jon Roylance and George Bare have a cumulative 40-year history of treating pain (physical and emotional). The partners are certified Hypnotherapists by the National Guild of Hypnotists Free initial consultations can be booked on their website, nwhypnotherapy.org.  For questions or more information please call 503-703-7336, For out of town inquiries, consultations available via Skype or Facetime