What is Hypnosis (and what is not)
Hypnosis is often described as a sleep-like trance state, but is better expressed as a state characterized by focused attention, heightened suggestibility and vivid fantasies. While hypnosis has become well-known thanks to popular acts where people are prompted to performs unusual or ridiculous actions, the technique has been clinically proven to provide medical and therapeutic benefits, most notably in the reduction of pain and anxiety.
Hypnosis is a natural state, which we all experience many times a day. It is a time when your conscious, (analytical, rational mind) takes a step back and your subconscious (feelings, memories, emotions) comes more to the forefront. For example when you are day dreaming, reading a book and realizing you have read the same thing over and over again, driving on a long journey and not remembering anything about the journey etc.
With intended Hypnosis, you purposefully take yourself into a daydream like state using music, soothing images and guided visualization. Once the critical and analytical part of your mind also relaxes, you become more receptive to positive suggestions and affirmations. As the mind does not know the difference between imagination and reality, the more times you give yourself positive suggestions, the more real they become.
Myth 1: When you wake up from hypnosis, you won’t remember anything that happened when you were hypnotized.
While amnesia may occur in very rare cases, people generally remember everything that occurred while they were hypnotized.
Myth 2: You can be hypnotized against your will.
Despite stories about people being hypnotized without their consent, hypnosis requires voluntary participation on the part of the patient.
Myth 3: The hypnotist has complete control of your actions while you’re under hypnosis.
While people often feel that their actions under hypnosis seem to occur without the influence of their will, a hypnotist cannot make you perform actions that are against your values or morals.
Myth 4: Hypnosis can make you super-strong, fast or athletically talented.
While hypnosis can be used to enhance performance, it cannot make people stronger or more athletic than their existing physical capabilities
How can listening to a voice reduce pain in childbirth?
If there is fear in childbirth -fear of pain, fear of dying, fear of tearing, fear of losing control- your birthing body will not be allowed to flow easily through the natural progression of labour. This fear will lead to increased adrenaline in your body, which leads to increased tension in your muscles and your cervix with less “contraction” hormones being produced, so that your uterus is having to work much harder to flex and tighten. This subsequently makes contractions far more painful, in the same way that if you tense up when you are in pain, the pain becomes far greater.
By being relaxed during your labour, your body responds in a very different way to the fear scenario described above. When you are relaxed, your breathing is even and rhythmical; ensuring a high level of oxygen is entering your body. This oxygen goes through to your baby, ensuring that your baby remains calm and stable. Increased oxygen stimulates the production of oxytocin (hormone responsible for contraction) and endorphins. Your blood pressure remains at a healthy level, and as your body is limp and relaxed you conserve your energy, with all excess energy being channeled through to the muscle that is really working hard, namely your uterus. As the uterus has no resistance or tension from surrounding muscles, the contractions are more effective and more comfortable.
How effective is hypnosis for labor?
Unlike a pill or procedure, therapies such as hypnosis are difficult to evaluate scientifically. A 2004 review of previous research concluded that better-quality studies are needed, but noted several studies finding women who used hypnosis needed less pain relief medication and rated their pain as less severe. With outcomes such as c-section rates and length of labor, the results were more mixed.
Hypnosis proponents don't promise a pain-free birth but say many of their students feel only discomfort or a sensation of pressure well into labor, or all the way through delivery.
Hypnosis programs for childbirth teach women that they can rely on their body and mind to get through the process. For some women, this is in keeping with their beliefs about birth, and they may find a hypnosis program the best childbirth preparation class for them.
Who can't use hypnosis during labor?
Virtually anyone can use self-hypnosis. The only real requirement is the willingness to hear the suggestions and believe them.
If you're following the program and accepting what you're hearing as your new belief system, it's going to work as best as it possibly can.
Although many moms who study self-hypnosis for childbirth hope to avoid medications, interventions, and c-section delivery, self-hypnosis can help women in any type of delivery, proponents say.