The effects of hypnosis on fibromyalgia
by Debbie Barcon —
Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a frustrating and seldom understood illness. It is called an illness rather than a disease because there are no specific diagnostic tests to confirm or dispute its existence. The following criteria were developed by the American College of Rheumatology in 1990: widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body lasting longer than three months, and tenderness or pain in 11 of 18 trigger points.
Fibromyalgia’s chief characteristic is widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons; stiffness; fatigue and non-restorative sleep. While it is not life-threatening, it can be as debilitating as rheumatoid arthritis. It is an illness that frustrates physicians as much as it does patients.
Traditional versus multi-disciplinary treatments
Traditional treatments aim to improve the quality of sleep and reduce pain. Unfortun-ately, the side effects of some of the medications can be as debilitating as the disease itself. Recent research confirms that a multi-disciplinary approach to treating FMS provides the greatest relief from symptoms and the best prognosis for a return to more normal levels of functioning.
Hypnosis can help
Hypnosis is a noninvasive means of treating FMS symptoms with no side effects. The multi-session programs focus on easing pain, boosting energy levels, restoring sleep without drugs, releasing anxiety and tension, improving concentration and alleviating other troublesome symptoms. Hypnotherapy should be used in conjunction with a physician’s treatment regimen. In a study published in the Journal of Rheumatology (18 (1), 72-75), 40 refractory FMS patients were randomly assigned to treatment with either hypnotherapy or physical therapy. The hypnotherapy group showed significantly better outcomes.
Typical hypnotherapy sessions include pain relief, triggering of the relaxation response, improvement in sleep quality, overcoming anxiety and tension, elevated energy levels, improved concentration and focus and calming of the dysautonomic nervous system. Hypnosis helps unleash the body’s innate ability to heal. It is not magic, but a set of scientifically proven techniques that train the mind to behave as we want it to.
Debbie Barcon is a certified hypnotherapist and a certified Reconnective™ Healing practitioner. 480-250-9909 or email@example.com.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 2, April/May 2005.