Medical Hypnosis

For treating chronic symptoms and pain, to help boost energy
and immune response in the face of illness and/or medical treatments


".There is no 'incurable' disease from which someone has not recovered, even at the threshold of death."

--Dr Bernie Siegel



The use of medical hypnosis goes back almost two hundred years. In the 1840s, Scottish Surgeon James Esdaile performed over 300 major surgeries (amputations, removal of cataracts, removal of massive tumors) using hypnosis as the only anesthesia. Additionally, his patients' mortality rate was reduced from 50% to 5% due to a significant reduction in post-operative shock.

In the 1950s, in the US, thousands of doctors, dentists, psychiatrists, and podiatrists were trained by hypnotist Dave Ellman in the use of hypnotic techniques. It was successfully used for anesthesia, relief from chronic pain, childbirth, allergies, depression, and even as a diagnostic tool to discover the origins of various conditions.

The American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association have recognized hypnotherapy as a valid procedure since 1958. The National Institutes of Health have recommended it as a treatment for chronic pain since 1995. And yet, these days, few turn to hypnosis when confronted with a medical condition, considering it an "alternative" therapy.

Hypnosis is not merely a complimentary or alternative method that is useful only occasionally under very specific conditions. In fact, hypnotherapy can be a first-line intervention. With certain medical conditions, it is in fact the preferred method of helping clients to achieve success, wellness, and contentment.

Sometimes people say, "But hypnosis can't cure this or that condition." And while hypnosis might not be effective 100% of the time, neither is modern medicine (i.e. surgery, medication, physical therapy) although they often come with serious side effects.

Mountains of research actually indicate that hypnotherapy is an effective tool, often in combination with other approaches, that can lead to cures, remissions, reduction of pain. It can also be used as the primary intervention to help some people become free of chronic conditions that limit their lives.

Hypnotherapy is being used with great success, helping cancer patients, burn clients, arthritis sufferers, those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Parkinson's and other neurological diseases, migraine headaches. It's been useful in pre-surgical preparation and post-surgical recovery. Hypnosis can lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, increase white blood cell counts.

Recent discoveries in neuroscience and mind-body medicine are changing how we look at illness and healing. Western medicine has traditionally made a distinction between mind and body, as if they are two distinct things. The Eastern model holds that the mind and body are one and inseparable. Based on my own experience, upheld by recent research, I believe this to be true.

I came to medical hypnosis almost by accident. About 5 years ago, just 3 months after receiving my certification as a hypnotherapist, I was working with a client on some anxiety and anger issues. She was so amazed by how powerful hypnosis was in dealing with her problem that she asked if perhaps I could help her husband. He had been diagnosed with a rare neurological degenerative disease similar to ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. He was told that it was incurable and that there was no drug or treatment available. He had been steadily deteriorating for 12 years and he was not expected to survive much longer. He was confined to a wheelchair and had little control over his face. He could no longer speak, was only able to mumble garbled sounds and he drooled constantly. He suffered from tics, and often got locked into repetitive movements. Additionally, he had trouble sleeping and had no motivation to do his physical therapy, virtually his only treatment.

Her hope was that I could possibly help with the repetitive movements as those were the most alarming symptom. If he was at the dinner table and accidentally hit the table with his knife, he would repeat the motion again and again, faster and harder and she couldn't stop it. At first, I didn't think this was something I could deal with but I ran it by my hypnosis teacher and she encouraged me to work with him, noting that hypnosis had already been used successfully to eliminate tremors in Parkinson's patients. And of course, it certainly wasn't going to hurt him.

They couldn't travel to me so I drove the 2 ½ hours to them. Though unable to speak, I was able to get him into a deep trance state. After a 45 minute first session, I was able to eliminate the tremors and repetitive movements and get him to sleep more soundly. A week later, we did a second session. As I brought him out of trance I asked him how he felt and he clearly replied, "I feel good". His wife pulled me aside and said, "I think I'm imagining things, I thought he just spoke!" I assured her that he had indeed and as we were talking, he got out of his wheelchair and walked over to us! Her jaw nearly hit the floor. After an additional few sessions, it was hard to tell he was unwell at all. Soon, he was back to hiking, gardening, walking the dog. Now, nearly five years later, I recently spoke to his wife and she told me he had just gone for a checkup and the doctor had told her his vital signs were perfect, he wished he was as healthy.

A few months later, my wife was speaking to a relative who mentioned that their husband had been diagnosed with an adult-onset form of muscular dystrophy. He suffered from chronic fatigue, brain fog, muscular rigidity, muscular and joint pain, and digestive issues. She suggested he work with me and he agreed. A young man of 45, he was in a bit of a panic as he was involved in a major project and yet could barely manage to get out of bed in the morning or focus enough to be productive. He emailed me morning after the first session to say he awoke energized and focused, without the now familiar pains and stiffness. We did several additional sessions, addressing not only his illness but deep emotional issues. I heard from him two weeks ago and he reported still feeling great, nearly four years later, and the insights he gained during the session had impacted his life deeply and positively.

It seemed the universe was pushing me to focus my practice in this direction. It's been incredibly rewarding work.



".deep down, I still knew something wasn't right. As magnificent as Western medicine is for treating emergencies and stabilizing extreme conditions, it did little or nothing to address what I was beginning to suspect was the deeper causes of many illnesses. Somewhere along the way, I had started asking my patients the most important question in medicine (that is, after the diagnosis has been secure)- namely, "Why today?" Why, when the world is bathed in bacteria, did you get pneumonia today? Why, when your cardiac lesion has been accumulating for years, did you have a heart attack today? You might have come down with appendicitis a week ago or a week from now- why today?

To my surprise, virtually every patient I asked had a plausible reason: "My mother in law just moved in with us." "I need to get out of this job, no matter what." "I just learned I was conned, and now I'm broke." Psychological reasons for physical maladies kept cropping up, again and again. And yet, my beloved science gave no ground to mental causes. Nothing in my training even allowed for the possibility. And if mental causes were excluded, what possible part could noetic (meaning of or pertaining to the mind) factors play in a cure?

At the time, of course, I had no idea these nagging questions would lead me to hypnosis and compel me to untangle the tragic misconception that had relegated that world to the fringe. Nor could I have realized, then, that finally understanding hypnosis would allow me to unlock the secrets of placebo and nocebo, and more broadly, to understand the impact of ideas on health and healing."

"Healing Beyond Pills and Potions/ Core Principles for Helpers and Healers"
--Steve Bierman, MD


It's clear to me, based on my training, my readings of the latest research, and my personal experience, that the body has an amazing innate capacity to self-heal, and that we can control that mechanism through our minds. Hypnosis gives us a doorway into that mechanism.

This page is a landing place for a project I'm working on. While I continue to use my hypnotherapy skills to support clients dealing with chronic conditions, illness, and pain, I hope to push the envelope further, to see how far we can go to get clients to a place of true wellness.

I am offering to work with anyone suffering from intractable illness, no matter what stage of their journey they are at, free of charge . Some of our work together will be proven methods of palliative care being used by hypnotherapists all over the world. However, some of our work will be experimental, based on the research showing the mental and spiritual shifts that have been found as a common factor among those patients who experience radical remission. The good news is that there is no downside, no harmful side effects from the work we do together. The worst outcome is that you will feel more relaxed, more at ease than when we started. If you get some positive benefit from what we do together, you can choose to reimburse me.



"Is there scientific data to support the seemingly miraculous stories of self-healing that float around? You betcha. There's proof that you can radically alter your body's physiology just by changing your mind. There's also proof that you can make yourself sick when your mind thinks unhealthy thoughts. And it's not just mental. It's physiological."

"Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof that you can Heal Yourself"
--Lissa Rankin, MD