HYPNOTHERAPY FOR CANCER
Hypnotherapy is an established evidence-based complementary therapy, with over 70,000 research references worldwide. It has been used in a medical setting since the 1700’s, and was first documented for use with cancer treatment in 1829. It has been used in a cancer setting to help with a wide range of issues such as pain, fear, anxiety and many side-effects of cancer treatment.
Solaris Cancer Care knows the importance of Hypnotherapy for people going through cancer, post cancer treatment and also for the people living with them. We all know someone who has cancer or has had cancer, I am proud to be able to donate my time weekly to this charity. The Wellness Centre at Cottesloe is a lifechanging place, if cancer has touched your life, come and see what this wonderful group of people can do for you.
Psychological approaches are important in the management of cancer pain, and hypnosis is an especially useful technique that can be integrated into total care of the patient. Although a major application of hypnosis to cancer patients is the direct relief of pain, there are wider psychotherapeutic benefits as well - inner strength or the will to live can be increased and directed to the patients development of greater personal responsibility for his or her wellbeing Hypnosis has been used throughout this century as both a medical technique (for analgesia, muscle relaxation and in some cases to facilitate healing) and as a psychosomatic tool (to alleviate symptoms, uncover forgotten material and facilitate behavioural change) The current scientific understanding of hypnosis is rooted in rational, demonstrable psychological principles. It is a natural human ability, not an aberration'
In a major study of breast cancer patients in England, researchers classified the women according to the way they responded to the diagnosis of breast cancer. They found four distinct approaches to the disease among the women they interviewed.
Some women rejected with complete denial that any of the signs of their disease were serious. The denial was so complete that some patients told the researchers after mastectomies that their breasts had been removed only “as a precaution”.
Other women took the attitude that they could personally fight and defeat the disease. They tried to find out everything they could about breast cancer in order to conquer it.
A third group acknowledged that they had cancer, accepted the diagnosis stoically, and made no effort to find out anything more about the disease.
The last group reacted by simply giving up. They felt totally powerless to improve their condition and resigned themselves to an early death.
There were dramatic differences in survival rates of the four groups. 75% of the patients who responded to their diagnosis with either denial of the existence of the disease or a firm fighting spirit were alive and well 5 years later. Only 35% of the other women, those who either accepted their fate stoically or gave up completely, were still alive at the time. The patients in those two groups accounted for 88% of the women who had died 5 years later.
This shows the importance of the mind’s role in disease. There is also some very strong evidence that hypnosis can help to significantly ameliorate the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Both guided imagery and direct suggestion are effective in this regard.
Hypnotherapeutic imagery and direct suggestions are extremely valuable in conjunction with traditional cancer treatments. One methodology involves me having you visualize your white blood cells swarming over and gobbling up your cancer cells. A study at Pennsylvania State University shoed that healthy hypnotized people could raise their per-minute white-blood-cell count as much as 40%
Hypnotherapy also has a proven track record of effecting the immune system through the nervous system by suggestion.