The Edge Markets

The Edge Markets

Date : 26/11/2015

This article first appeared in Personal Wealth, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on Nov 16 - 22, 2015.

It is in this state that hypnotherapists offer suggestions directly to the unconscious mind to effect beneficial changes in their patients or clients.

Dr Daniel Zainal Abdul Rahman, a psychiatrist uses an iceberg diagram to explain why the subconscious mind is powerful. The visible portion of the iceberg represents logical thinking, critical thinking and willpower, while the submerged portion represents beliefs, emotions, intuition, values and imagination, among others.

Contrary to popular belief, he adds, hypnotherapy does not only help psychotic patients but is widely used to cure diseases that are influenced by psychosomatic disorders. The diseases include psoriasis, eczema, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and heart disease. Hypnotherapy is also used to help patients deal with insomnia, obesity and addictions, especially smoking.

“Hypnotherapy directly addresses the master control room. You must remember the mind and body connection is very powerful, and the mind is here [below the surface],” says Daniel.

In the 1800s, hypnotherapy was used in place of anaesthesia. After the use of ether was found to be a better solution, hypnosis was no longer a popular alternative.

But in the 1950s, the British Medical Association, the American Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association endorsed the use of hypnosis. And even in Malaysia, at Universiti Malaya in the 1960s, they had been using hypnosis for surgeries.

In the current modern age, she says, hypnotherapy has become popular again because it is an easy therapeutic tool that uses natural states of relaxation.

Hypnotherapy myth busting

Due to the way hypnosis is presented in popular culture, hypnotherapy is surrounded by a lot of misconceptions. One of the common myths is that patients will be out of control or even have amnesia. This is in fact false as patients remain in full control even though their focus might be somewhere else.

Daniel says instead of controlling the patients, as perceived by some people, he only gives guidance and suggestions, and it is up to the patients to decide whether they want to follow them or not.

Another misconception is that once a patient goes into a hypnoidal state, they will never wake up. Menon says that there is no reason to worry about this. “I am very happy to say that no one in the history of hypnosis has ever not woken up. Everybody wakes up. The worst thing [if the hypnotherapy does not work] is you go into a nice comfortable state, you fall asleep and wake up later feeling refreshed.”

Hypnotherapy is also associated with the “placebo effect”, which refers to something that appears to be a real medical treatment but is not, and yet still has a positive impact on the patient’s well-being.

Does hypnotherapy work? How?

“The evidence that hypnotherapy is effective in the management of IBS is now so persuasive that it has recently been suggested ‘that the skills of the hypnotherapist should be made routinely available to patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders’,” reads the excerpt of the study’s conclusion.

Why is this therapy effective in managing IBS? Generally, when we have IBS, we feel bloated or tight. The way we use hypnosis is that we create images of calmness or comfort. We find that the smooth muscle in the stomach responds to that.

Daniel says hypnotherapy is also helpful in stress management to prevent mental illnesses. According to the World Health Organization, depression will be the leading cause of morbidity in the world in a matter of three to four years. “It will replace cardiovascular disease as the No 1 problem. There is a lot of depression anxiety around here. Now, hospitals invest in sickness, which is the end result of stress, because it is a multibillion-dollar business. No one talks about wellness now,” he says.

Daniel says when one suffers palpitations, numbness, shallow or rapid breathing, or there is an increase in blood pressure, or migraines, people will always go to the doctor but find out that there is nothing wrong with them. “These are symptoms. Your aim is not to treat the symptoms. When they get really anxious, they go and see all the doctors. After they have finished ‘doctor shopping’, they end up here.

“That is why you should go for hypnotherapy. When you relax, you manage your stress. Pain also comes down, so it helps with pain management and all sorts of pain.”

Recognition by Medical and Psychological Associations

Recognition by Medical and Psychological Associations

1960 The American Psychological Association endorsed hypnosis as a branch of psychology (Freud the Father of psychotherapy used hypnosis in his early work and later confirmed in his writing the value of clinical hypnosis).
1961 The American Medical Council on Mental Health recommended that medical students should receive 144 hours of training in hypnosis over a 9 to 12-month period at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
1978 The United Kingdom, Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) formed a section for “Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine”.
1986 The British Medical Association (BMA) emphasized that hypnotherapy is “part of orthodox medical treatment.”
1995 The United States’ National Institute of Health (NIH) issued an extensive report, which concluded that hypnosis is effective in alleviating chronic pain associated with cancer and other conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and tension headaches. 2000 BMA stated to the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology that “Hypnotherapy and counselling may be considered as orthodox treatments”.
2001 The British Psychological Society commissioned a group of psychologists to publish a report on The Nature of Hypnosis, which reported that hypnosis is a proven therapeutic medium. The report stated that “hypnotic procedures may be beneficial in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions and problems encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy”.
2014 The American Psychological Association published a formal definition of hypnosis.

Mirror UK News – World First Deep Brain Surgery Using Hypnosis Instead Of Anaesthetic Cures Elderly Patient Trembling Hands

Mirror UK News - World First Deep Brain Surgery Using Hypnosis Instead Of Anaesthetic Cures Elderly Patient Trembling Hands

Date : 10/01/2017

The Jena University Hospital in the German state of Thuringia.

Surgeons have completed the world’s first deep brain surgery using hypnosis instead of an anaesthetic to control the patient’s pain.

Doctors carried out the deep brain stimulation procedure to cure the 73-year-old patient’s severe trembling hands.

In the procedure, the brain regions which are responsible for the tremor were electrically stimulated, causing the tremor to be effectively suppressed so the patient can for example eat and write again undisturbed.

As fine electrodes are implanted directly deep into the brain, they are often referred to as "brain pacemakers".

The 73-year-old patient from Thuringia, Germany, whose tremor did not adequately improve with medication, is reportedly very satisfied with the result of the six-hour operation by the team from the University Hospital of Jena.

Normally, such medical interventions are done with anaesthesia.

After the electrodes have been placed in the affected brain area, the patients are woken up to check whether the electrodes are correctly placed and whether the tremor is suppressed.

But the sedative effect of anaesthesia "can lead to distorted results" said Dr Rupert Reichart, head of the neurosurgery department.

He said: "Under hypnosis there are no such side-effects of anaesthesia.

"This is an enormous advantage to check whether the activation of the electrodes is successful."

During the surgery a team of anaesthetists was on standby. The clinic is one of the few centres in Germany offering deep brain stimulation, conducting about twelve such operations per year.

Dr Reichart provided the required speech hypnosis during the procedure and kept the patient in hypnosis during the entire operation, while colleague Dr Walter carried out the actual procedure.

Another doctor, Tino Prell, monitored the success of the procedure during the operation and after awakening the patient, who was not named in reports, from hypnosis.

Dr Prell said: "This procedure allows a so-far unprecedented check on the effect of the deep brain stimulation and thus a clearly better and targeted electrode installation than in the usual procedures under narcosis."

Dr Reichart emphasised that the hypnosis "has nothing to do with esotericism or tricks of pendulum-swinging TV magicians."

BBC News Dental Surgery

BBC News Dental Surgery

Date : 24/04/1999

Hypnosis can help to cut down the use of general anaesthesia in surgery, a hypnotherapy conference will hear.

Dr Robert Diaz an oral and facial surgeon at Manchester Royal Infirmary will tell the British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis that hypnotherapy can give patients a more pleasant experience in surgery and could cut NHS spending.

Their heart rate was dramatically lower, suggesting they were less stressed.


Wisdom teeth are normally removed under general anaesthetic which can be dangerous and unpleasant for patients.

"Hypnosis is a reasonable treatment option which can reduce the number of general anaesthetics given and increase safety," he said. "It could also save the NHS money as anaesthesia is expensive and patients have to stay longer in hospital afterwards, possibly overnight."

In control

Several dentists and doctors have incorporated the technique into their work for many years. Dentist John Gladstone says he has used it for more than 30 years. He started because he was terrified of the dentist's chair himself and wanted to help his patients.

"There are no chemicals involved and the patient is in control the whole time," he said. They are not unconscious, just relaxed."

One of his patients, Liz Cooper, said she was sceptical at first when Dr Gladstone suggested hypnotherapy when she had extensive crown work done. "I was aware of what was going on, but not of any sensation of pain," she said.

The British Dental Association, which has issued advice to dentists on how to gain hypnosis information and training, welcomed a call for an increase in the use of hypnosis in dentistry.

Spokeswoman Kate Cinamon said: "We would welcome wider use of hypnosis to relax patients who are anxious.