Increasingly, many physicians and psychologists are working more and more with chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disorders, arthritis and so forth. Hypnosis is a powerful technique for mediating mind/body problems. However, the following study suggests that “waking hypnosis” can have a powerful impact on dehypnotizing ourselves from our “belief trances”.
Some years ago, in an intriguing study on mental and physical aging, Harvard psychologist Dr. Ellen Langer selected a group of 75 to 80 year old men. As volunteers, they took several sets of measurements to establish a baseline of biological markers recommended by geriatricians. The measurements included handgrip, triceps skinfold, finger length, height, gait and posture. Additional tests included physical strength, hearing, visual thresholds and a batter of psychological tests.
The men were then taken to a ten acre country retreat where the setting was designed to look and feel like it was twenty years earlier. The music, magazines, TV programs and other cultural reminders created an atmosphere that was twenty years younger. The premise of the experiment was that seeing oneself as young or old influences the aging process.
The men in the experimental group were instructed to literally act like the people they were twenty years ago – to think, write and talk in the vernacular and present tense, as if living in that time period. They all wore photo ID’s taken twenty years earlier. They were instructed to discuss the sports heroes, actors and political issues of that time and to get into the spirit and role play for one week – and function as if they were twenty years younger.
The control group of men were instructed to simply focus on that past era without absorbing themselves in the old mindset. More importantly, the experimental group were given more responsibility and greater demands were placed on them such as taking care of their own luggage, organizing all the activities for the week, follow complex instructions about their daily routine – all of which were a big change from being coddled and being taken care of to which they had been accustomed at home.
The results of the role-playing were stunning. Seven days later, both groups of men looked about four years younger. However, the men in the experimental group experienced greater joint flexibility, an increase in finger length, greater manual-dexterity, a greater increase in sitting height and greater increases in tricep skinfold or chest breadth, than the control group.
These were remarkable physical changes for just seven days in this novel environment. The most significant changes however, occurred in the intelligence test, specifically an improvement in the sub-tests measuring short-term memory, concentration, perpetual-motor, coordination and learning speed. The elegance and simplicity of this astonishing experiment reinforced the hypothesis that a person’s body and mind could be turned back to a more youthful state. In other words, so-called irreversible signs of aging could be reversed using psychological strategies. It also underscored the power of beliefs and attitude that can either contribute to or invert the aging process.
This study stimulated me to wonder how hypnotic techniques might contribute to a similar outcome. I turned to some of the concepts of quantum physics for the answer.
Everything in our universe at a sub-atomic and molecular level vibrates at a particular frequency. Dense materials with a heavier atomic structure such as metal vibrate at a much slower frequency than lighter materials such as flowers and flower essences. This is particularly true of all cells, organs and systems of the body which have their own individual signature frequency. Like fingerprints and snowflakes, each molecule is unique with its own specific vibration but when combined with other molecules and cell assemblies, the integrated frequencies become a resonance. Like an orchestra, an individual instrument produces notes within a certain frequency band but when combined with a range of all the instruments this produces an “umbrella resonance” subsuming the individual vibrations. Thus, the cell assemblies of a stomach, heart or pancreas each have their individual resonant signature or “song” that is released though either infrasonic sound or vibrations of photos (light).
One could use the metaphor of the body as a symphony orchestra with the mind/brain as the symphony conductor. Thus, if the mind/brain perceives stress, a negative resonance would be transmuted into the body and one or more of the different sections of the orchestra e.g (woodwinds – lungs, percussion – heart) would lose the signature of harmony with the rest of the orchestra and quite likely plant the seed for disease. Physicist Mae-Won Ho states that each thought generated or held in the mind has a signature wave or frequency or a cycle of energy; each frequency of thought affects the light and infrasonic waves of the body – harmonically or not, and therefore each thought affects the immune system, the neurotransmitters, hormones, molecules and cells of the body immediately. Thus, the body consciousness is interconnected and entangled with the “brain consciousness” and each wavelength frequency of thought can create health and harmony, or disease.
What happens to the original harmonic signature or resonance of health once one “loses” or “forgets” the song of harmony and health? Again, according to relativity theory, energy cannot be created or destroyed but transmuted into a different wave form.
This suggests that the original “song” or resonance of optimal health is still within the organism but has been transformed or “pushed aside” by the “symphony conductor’s” mental vibrations, or stress, fear, anger or any other negative resonant emotion.
This concept was first alluded to by Milton Erickson when he described hypnosis as a process for helping us re-discover what we already know but perhaps don’t know, or have forgotten we know it.
The techniques I developed for helping people re-discover the original harmonics of health is to go to a safe place (magical garden) and picture themselves standing there when they possessed the most optimal energies of health, wellness and enthusiasm for life and the future. Let us assume for heuristic purposes that it was at age twenty-eight (to be established by the client).
At this point, a fairly deep hypnotic trance is induced, the person is taken to a safe place with his/her “younger self” standing on a “power spot” in the magical garden. The hypnotic wording and suggestions at this point would be…. “As you walk around…and look at the younger you….recalling and absorbing the feelings of health…energy…flexibility…agility and vitality…that you experienced…are still stored…within your energy…and consciousness fields…once you feel comfortable…with those memories…mentally step into the body of the younger you…and fuse and blend…with the younger you…allowing the younger you…to become the teacher…for the older you…as you become one with the energies of the younger you…allow the younger you…to entrain the energetic resonances and memories of the older you…to entrain the optimal vibrations of health…for your immune system…lymphatic system…circulatory…and cerebrospinal systems…nervous…skeletal…muscular…and all organs…and endocrine glands…(I keep repeating the suggestions in a hypnotic, gentle, encouraging fashion)…once the health and healing resonances of health…and wellness of the younger, you will experience a shift…a release…sigh…or twitch”. This can take from one to several minutes.
The suggestions continue…”I would now like…the most trusted part of your subconscious…to select one of the four or five dream cycles you have every night…and to make that a healing dream…to heal whatever needs to be healed..from the past or present…so that you can rediscover your state of grace…your optimal health state…as close to the younger you as possible”.
To close the session, the following suggestions are offered… “and when your conscious and subconscious minds…agree to work co-operatively…through different rest cycles of the day (ultradian cycles)…and…certain dreams…at night…to maintain the optimal vibrations…and resonance of health…will those eyes open…as if they have a mind..of their own”.
As is my custom with each hypnosis client, I then have the person practice the entrainment technique of stepping into the body of the “younger you” on their own by doing self-hypnosis without my being in the room.
For the clients who are faithfully compliant in practicing this process for ten minutes a day, I have been getting very encouraging responses, and in two cases, very extraordinary positive health gains.
For those of you working with chronic health problems, I hope this technique will add to the strategies you are currently employing.
Friedman, Norman. (1990). Bridging Science and Spirit. Living Lakes Books, St. Louis, Missouri
Ho, Mae-Won. (1977). www.i-sis-org/lcm/shtml
Langer, Ellen (1989). Mindfulness. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. Inc., New York.
Rossi, Ernest (1996). The Symptom Path To Enlightenment. Palisades Gateway Publishing, Pacific Palisades, California.