Pain can also be brought by guilt, which may either exist because of current behaviour or be the outgrowth of a problem that is deeply rooted in the past.
Many years ago, I was a “fire-walk leader” crew member at Anthony Robbin’s seminar in Singapore. A group of 5,000 people gathered around beds of glowing coals and were able to enter a state that allowed them to walk over the hot coals, with temperatures ranging from 600 to 1,200 degrees. The majority of them experienced no discomfort.
This experience is not to encourage you to be a firewalker. It is, however a dramatic and realistic example of the degree to which a person can use his or her mind to control pain.
Pain is a necessary and important condition within the body’s system. It is a survival trigger to let you know that you are injured or ill. Pain is the message that tells you when it is time to immobilise a part of your body so that you can seek medical help. A doctor should be able to give you an accurate diagnosis of your condition. Never bypass consulting a medical professional before making a decision about what kind of pain control technique to choose.
How is a physical pain sensed? Imagine you are standing in the LRT. The person near you backs up and steps on your toe. Immediately, several chemical substances stored near your nerve endings are released. These chemicals make the nerve endings sensitive and pain messages are sent from the toe to the brain. The chemicals also increase circulation to the injured area causing swelling and redness. This process is a natural one that augments healing and fights off bacteria.
The pain message travels to the spinal cord, to the sensory center of the brain, and to the cortex where it is deciphered. It is at this point that you yell out. “Ouch, You’ve stepped on my toe!” Then you get some help. Pain relief chemicals are released in the brain and spinal cord, and the pain in your toe seem less severe than it was moments ago.
The basic pain process is the same, regardless of the stimulant. The painful stimulant comes from a wide range of causes – injury, from chronic conditions to debilitating diseases. The path the pain takes is still the same, as are the basic physiological reactions to it. There are four other factors, not to be overlooked in considering pain’s impact and its intensity. They are your emotions, your previous experiences or associations with pain, your characteristics, and your perception of what pain signifies to you.
Just as pain can bring forth emotions, emotions can summon pain. Anxiety as a result of disease, illness or a chronic condition and pain can be inseparable. Pain can also be brought by guilt, which may either exist because of current behaviour or be the outgrowth of a problem that is deeply rooted in the past. It is also interesting to note, that people often react to pain in accordance with general pattern established in childhood or, to some degree, ethnic tradition.
During World War II, a study found that soldiers wounded in battle needed less medication than civilians with similar wounds. The reason: The soldiers associated the pain with returning home. Having diminished control of your personal traits can also determine your susceptibility to pain. What pain signifies makes a big difference in how it is perceived.
I was trained by an Irish surgeon, Dr Jack Gibson, who had performed 4,000 operations with hypnosis. In fact I underwent two surgeries with hypnosis and without GA. A meta-analysis published in a special issue of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, found that hypnotic suggestions relieved the pain of 75% of 933 subjects participating in 27 different experiments.
In a few cases the degree of relief matched or exceeded that provided by morphine. Scientific American 2001 issue on the truth and hype of hypnosis, stated that it was a real phenomenon, especially in controlling pain.
“As you concentrate on numbing that hand you can feel yourself slipping safely, gently, deeper, deeper, and deeper into a level of relaxation. Just let that feeling go, and let that hand relax. If you relax that pain will go, and if you relax even more the pain will go even more still. If you completely relax the pain is gone.”
Julian is a London trained subconscious specialist with Hypno-Station. He is Malaysia’s most renowned clinical hypnotherapist, media personality, columnist, event host and book author. He can be contacted at [email protected]