Hypnotherapy is a technique that often gets mixed reviews from both the medical profession and those outside the healthcare field. Misconceptions about this alternative treatment for cancer, like mesothelioma, and other diseases usually comes from the comical displays of hypnosis performed on television, meant to entertain audiences, not to aid anyone in overcoming any sort of challenge.
The fact remains, however, that hypnotherapy has indeed proven advantageous in many situations. It has often been used to help individuals stop smoking or to overcome issues like fear of flying or panic attacks. In addition, today's hypnotherapists are not TV entertainers; they are certified, licensed professionals that are trained in hypnosis as well as other psychological techniques.
But can hypnotherapy aid the mesothelioma cancer patient? For the past several decades, doctors who are open to recommending alternative treatments to their cancer patients have been touting hypnosis as a therapy that may indeed assist the cancer victim in several ways. While the belief that hypnotherapy can cure cancer may be promoted by a few individuals, it is commonly noted that hypnosis does not offer a cure for the disease but does enhance quality of life for the person battling cancer.
How Does Hypnotherapy Work?
Hypnosis is often described as an altered state of consciousness, similar to that which one experiences when they are beginning to fall asleep or are just waking up. During this trance-like state, which is induced by the hypnotherapist, the patient is offered suggestions that will enter the subconscious mind without being intercepted by the conscious mind. What is said during the trance is actually more important than the actual state of being in a trance, professionals note.
Once a person participates in several guided hypnosis sessions with the therapist, they can often achieve self-hypnosis when the need arises. This means it isn't necessary to visit the hypnotherapist every time one needs to be in a state of hypnosis. That makes hypnotherapy a very affordable form of treatment.
How Does it Help the Cancer Patient?
Patients who have used like hypnosis note that it helps them in a variety of ways and in a number of circumstances especially while undergoing conventional mesothelioma treatment such as those described in our mesothelioma treatment guide.
Side effect reduction
The side effects of traditional malignant mesothelioma cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, can be quite overwhelming. Nausea, vomiting, pain, fatigue, and any number of other difficult side effects can occur regularly. Hypnosis, which promotes a more peaceful state, can help reduce the anticipation of these effects and may even lessen the side effects themselves in some instances.
Living with cancer and its prognosis is difficult for anyone. Hypnotherapy can help cancer patients in dealing with their diagnosis by producing a reduction in stress. The calming affects of hypnosis can, therefore, improve quality of life for those feeling overwhelmed. Stress reduction through hypnosis may also help caregivers be more effective and assist in handling the challenges of their job more easily.
Preparation for surgery or other procedures
Cancer patients are faced with a lot of situations that may cause nervousness or fear. Hypnosis before these procedures, which might include surgery, may help lessen the fear and help things run more smoothly. Even small situations like fear of needles can be aided by hypnosis. Studies have also shown that hypnotherapy may even shorten the recovery period after a surgery or other procedure like radiation.
Immune system aid
While the study of the mind and how it affects the immune system is relatively young, many believe that there is a real connection between mind, body, and spirit and that achieving a state of relaxation through hypnotherapy may indeed increase the effectiveness of the human immune system, therefore aiding in the fight against cancer and other diseases. Studies continue on this theory.
American Cancer Society - Complementary and Alternative Medicine