One thing my clients enjoy most is experiencing deep relaxation. I use relaxation quite a lot in therapy for two main reasons. Firstly, hypnosis is an excellent natural method of inducing deep relaxation. Secondly, relaxation itself can help with a range of psychological and physiological issues.
Hypnotherapy uses a range of techniques to induce physiological relaxation through several methods, for example, specific breathing techniques and muscle relaxation. Methods such as these induce the ‘relaxation response’, which is the opposite of the fight or flight response. It is easy to see why many people use hypnotherapy for anxiety.
This state of relaxation is a very real and measurable phenomenon, for example, stress hormones can be significantly reduced after just one session (Barry et al, 2017). The mind also becomes much more tranquil and relaxed. Again, this is a very real and measurable phenomenon, for example, levels of anxiety and depression levels can be significantly reduced (Barry et al, 2017). Many people use hypnotherapy for depression symptoms.
One of the advantages of using relaxation in treatment is that it reduces the need to talk about personal problems, which some people find difficult and embarrassing. Although it is possible that issues may come to the surface, these can be dealt with in a safe and professional way that minimises any need for distress.
Some people see hypnotherapy as an alternative to anxiety medication. UK guidelines state that for serious clinical conditions such as generalised anxiety disorder, a discussion with the GP about the various options for medication is advised (NICE 2011, section 1.2.10). Having said that, hypnotherapy can often be used as an adjunct to medication, where appropriate. For clinical cases, the advice of the GP or psychiatrist should always be sought.
Being in a relaxed state of mind can help with all sorts of psychological and medical issues too, especially when the medical issue is stress-related. For example, some people who seek help with anger management find that relaxation therapy helps a lot, and people with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can benefit from relaxation and hypnotherapy.
In the end, one of the best things about hypnotherapy is the experience of deep relaxation, which often lasts long after the session has ended. What’s not to like about that?
Barry JA, Leite N, et al (2017). Relaxation and Guided Imagery Significantly Reduces Androgen Levels and Distress in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Pilot Study. Contemporary Hypnosis and Integrative Therapy.
National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (2011). Generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder in adults: management. NICE Clinical Guideline 113.Tags: anxiety, depression, relaxation, stress, stress management program