What’s the strangest thing about pain?

If you look up various definitions, you’ll find pain described as an unpleasant sensation causing discomfort that’s the result of real or imagined tissue damage.

If you bash your knee into a door, it can hurt you and cause real physical pain.

But if you simply imagine bashing your knee, your brain can send out the same pain signals to let you experience the sensation of pain.

Even though the pain-causing incident is not happening.

That means you can use your brain to switch on the sensation of pain, which is neat, but what’s even neater is this.

You can also use it to switch that sensation off.

And pain management and self-hypnosis offer you the perfect combination with which to be able to do just that.

People have been making use of hypnosis for decades to manage pain and to cope with chronic illness.

It works by letting you communicate with your unconscious mind, the source of your imagination and creativity.

This gives you the power to change the way you think, to reprogram your mind and to help you adopt healthier and more productive behaviors.

And while you can achieve these results by visiting a hypnotherapist, there is an even more effective solution that’s entirely under your own control.

That solution is, of course, self-hypnosis, and in this article you’ll discover just how powerful a weapon it can be in the battle to manage and live comfortably with long-term and chronic pain.

But what makes self-hypnosis such a valuable pain management tool?


The Role Of Self-Hypnosis In Pain Perception & Management

pain management and self hypnosis

If someone tells you to try not to think about a pink elephant, what happens? You start thinking about a pink elephant.

That demonstrates two things:

  • The way your mind works
  • The power of suggestion

Ever notice how toddlers do the opposite of what their parents ask them? As soon as the grown up says “Don’t throw that toy at your brother” – the idea of throwing it has been planted in the mind.

And that’s what can happen when you make use of self-hypnosis.

Self-hypnosis is just hypnosis that you perform on yourself. You can use various hypnosis techniques to put yourself into a hypnotic trance.

The beauty of this method is that you can practice it anywhere whenever you have a few minutes of spare time when you’re not likely to be disturbed.

The simplest way to undertake your self-hypnosis session is to do something along these lines:

  • Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed
  • Close your eyes and relax, focusing on your breathing
  • Deepen the trance state by relaxing each area of your body from head to toe
  • Make positive suggestions about easing your pain
  • State positive affirmations related to how well you cope with pain
  • Acknowledge that you will be returning to normal consciousness
  • Open your eyes and get on with your day

There are many different ways to practice self-hypnosis. If you need help or are new to the procedure, check out the article and infographic highlighted below:

How To Hypnotize Yourself: Discover The Easy 6-Step Self Hypnosis Formula


Self-Hypnosis Techniques To Help Alleviate Chronic Pain

Like any form of hypnosis, self-hypnosis can help you relax, reduce stress, relieve anxiety and improve your sleep.

Hypnosis has been shown to be an effective analgesic, used to provide pain relief in everything from dentistry to surgical operations to giving birth.

Research also shows that hypnosis enhances the effectiveness of other types of pain management treatments.

One specific self-hypnosis technique you might employ is called revivification, used to revivify or “bring back to life” a memory.

It involves recalling an event or moment in detail, experiencing the emotions you felt at the time in detail.

For instance, you might think back to a time when there was no pain, just before the pain became an issue.

Life was pleasant before the pain took over, and the key now is to try to change the way you experience the pain. You can do that by:

  • Recognizing the signals and triggers before your pain occurs
  • Slowing yourself down and focusing on a pleasant memory
  • Taking the energy away from the pain and directing it towards a more positive and enjoyable experience

Almost half of the pain people feel is due to their anticipation of pain. That’s another reason why revivification is so effective at relieving it.

Another useful self-hypnosis technique is simply the power of suggestion. You can incorporate that into your sessions by preparing some suggestions in advance that you want to recite.

You should try to keep your suggestions short and concise, making sure they fit your needs precisely. For example you might tell yourself something like this:

“When I feel pain approaching I remain calm and focus on other things.”

Those “other things” will be specific pleasant events, experiences or places that keep you relaxed and help to distract your mind from the sensation of pain.

Such suggestions work in a similar way to positive affirmations, instructing your unconscious mind and telling it what you want to achieve.

A further technique you may consider involves creating images in your mind, called Dynamic Mental Imagery or DMI.

The idea is to create or imagine a symbol that you can use to help manage your pain. The symbol will be something relevant to you personally, which could be anything from a magic cooling halo to an endless and delicious popsicle.

Research into the application of hypnosis with regard to chronic pain has shown that patients have much more control over their pain when they use self-hypnosis as a coping mechanism.

And there’s more good news, because self-hypnosis can be even more effective when you combine it with other types of treatment and therapy.


Integrating Self-Hypnosis With Conventional Medical Treatments

pain management and self hypnosis

There’s something about hypnosis that doesn’t get mentioned often enough. This is the fact that it is completely safe, totally non-addictive and potentially free (when you practice self-hypnosis).

It’s also an ideal holistic healing partner to have up your sleeve. But which other therapies can it “partner up with” successfully?

NLP – this is neuro-linguistic programming, a method for changing behavior that’s also used for helping people overcome any limiting beliefs, just like hypnosis.

NLP relies on language to help people remove blocks and barriers from their lives, using techniques such as reframing, also used in hypnosis.

NLP practitioners also promote parts integration, visualization and mirroring, which are classic hypnosis techniques as well.

CBT – this is cognitive behavioral therapy, described on the UK’s NHS website as “a talking therapy” used to help overcome problems by “changing the way you think and behave”.

That’s exactly how hypnosis works too, letting you communicate with your subconscious mind to implant positive and helpful suggestions.

Research has shown that clients receiving CBT and hypnotherapy benefitted more than 70% of those receiving CBT only.

Meditation – like self-hypnosis, meditation is something you can do anywhere and at any time. It involves finding a quiet space where you can focus your attention on one thing, such as your breathing.

Meditation is basically the same as the first part of a hypnotic induction. But while meditation is used as a calming and focusing tool only, hypnosis goes on to tackle a problem and find a resolution.

It doesn’t really matter which treatment or therapy you combine hypnosis with. The idea behind hypnosis is to encourage deep relaxation that will help you focus and eliminate distractions.

Once you’re in a hypnotic trance, you’re able to utilize various techniques to change your thinking, see things from a different perspective, and access resources that will bring you the answers you’re seeking.

This is similar to the results you might achieve using practices such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Biofeedback, techniques that heighten relaxation, improve focus and help you regain some control over your body and mind where pain is concerned.

Another technique to consider is acupuncture, which uses needles to stimulate certain points in your body. It’s been found to be effective at reducing specific types of pain such as knee pain, lower back pain and osteoarthritis.

One of the tenets of hypnosis is the saying that “where attention goes, energy flows”. In other words, you become aware of whatever it is you give your attention to.

If your attention is focused on the pain in your back, then that’s where all your energy is going to be directed. You’ll obviously be aware of the pain and feel it intensely.

If your attention is focused on something else, such as imagining a magical shower of soothing balm flowing down over your head, then that’s where your energy will be directed. And because your attention is not wholly on the pain, it will have less of an impact on you.

Self-hypnosis makes it possible to manage pain either on its own or in conjunction with other forms of treatment, helping you cope with pain and its symptoms so that you can get back to living a full and productive life.



Your brain has the ability to switch on or switch off pain receptors, helping you to cope with pain more comfortably.

On top of that, self-hypnosis provides you with a powerful method for dealing with pain from any source.

It lets you access your unconscious mind to change the way you think about pain and the way you perceive it.

Self-hypnosis is literally just hypnosis you practice on yourself, which you can do at any time or in any place.

All you need is a quiet area where you won’t be disturbed for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, you simply employ one or more of the hypnosis techniques available to you.

These can include revivification, suggestion, Dynamic Mental Imagery or another form of visualization.

Research shows that when combined with other forms of therapy, such as CBT and NLP, self-hypnosis can be even more potent, and it actually enhances the effectiveness of those other types of treatments.

A basic self-hypnosis session would probably follow a structure similar to this:

  • Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed
  • Close your eyes and relax, focusing on your breathing
  • Deepen the trance state by relaxing each area of your body from head to toe
  • Make positive suggestions about easing your pain
  • State positive affirmations related to how well you cope with pain
  • Acknowledge that you will be returning to normal consciousness
  • Open your eyes and get on with your day

Whether you use it on its own or with other therapies, self-hypnosis offers a safe and completely free way to manage pain in an environment that’s completely under your control.

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Source: Hypnosis Training Academy