The recent press report that the Duchess of Cambridge is in hospital with hyperemesis gravidarum prompts the question: can hypnosis help?
And the answer is YES. The last published study seems to have been in 1980, involving 138 women with severe vomiting in the first trimester of pregnancy. All but two women showed some improvement, with 61 being cured of vomiting and nausea, and 24 cured of vomiting but still with some nausea. An interesting aspect of the trial was that some patients were treated in groups and others individually.
Treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum would include relaxation, ego strengthening suggestions, and direct suggestions for the abdomen to feel warm and the baby to be comfortable. I would normally teach the client self-hypnosis and provide a CD so that the client could relax whenever required and train their body to respond to the suggestions, which would also include the importance of nutrition for the baby, together with reassurance about the future birth.
We all know that “l’homme propose et Dieu dispose”, so I should not be surprised that the launch of Browning Hypnosis apps, planned for September, will now happen in November — at least we hope it will. And actually this is something that often crops up with clients: they are frustrated and upset by the fact that they cannot control things external to themselves. That reminds me of the story about Mulla Nasrudin, who is the subject of many stories in the middle east. Nasrudin decided to plant a flower garden. The flowers grew, but also a large number of dandelions. Nasrudin tried every remedy he could think of to get rid of the dandelions, but still they grew. Eventually, Nasrudin went to the Sheikh’s Palace to consult the Royal Gardener, who was known for his wisdom and experience in gardening matters. The Royal Gardener made many suggestions but Nasrudin had tried them all. The two men sat in silence for a while, and then the Royal Gardener said, “well, you will just have to learn to love them”.
In September the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence put out a report (http://guidance.nice.org.uk/CG150/Guidance/pdf/English) on medication overuse headache, saying that 1 million people in the UK suffer chronic headaches because they are taking too many painkillers for migraine and headaches. This vicious circle, where pain and drugs reinforce each other, is unnecessary and NICE recommends that doctors should ask their patients to go cold turkey and endure the pain for a few weeks without medication. The Times said that the report also recommends acupuncture as “the only proven method to prevent headaches”. However, on looking at the full guidelines it would appear that the evidence supporting the use of acupuncture is of mixed quality and to suggest that it is the only proven method would seem to be going too far. Of course, if the project I am running at the National Migraine Centre is successful, we would hope that NICE will include hypnotherapy in their recommendations in future. There is plenty of existing evidence on using hypnosis for pain management. You cannot overuse hypnosis, and the approach we are using — teaching participants to use self-help techniques such as self-hypnosis — should be very cost-effective.
One of the participants in the “Hypnotherapy for Migraine” project has already written about her experiences and you might like to see what Fiona Russell has to say: http://bit.ly/T1OQZj
I have run two groups at the National Migraine Centre for pain management using hypnosis and we are about to start a third group on 5 November 2012. Anybody interested should contact the National Migraine Centre (www.nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk).
It was interesting to see the recent report on www.alcoholconcern.org.uk about the cost to the country of middle-aged drinkers. I have seen a number of clients in this category, and usually they do not want to give up alcohol completely but they recognise that they are no longer in control. They want to be able to make conscious decisions as to when to drink and how much, and then feel comfortable with their new habits.
It has been proving to be a little more complicated than I expected but, with guidance from Chris and Nick, we seem to be getting close to launch date. I am looking forward to hearing from users, and to creating the second series of apps, to be launched about the end of the year.