Can the use of suggestion and imagination improve physiological healing? Controversial studies at the Harvard Medical School have left the allopathic medical community scratching their collective heads. Two separate research projects conducted by a team led by psychologist Carol Ginandes, PhD, indicated that a significant number of patients who combined guided imagery hypnosis and traditional allopathic care tended to heal significantly faster than those who followed only an allopathic regimen. Their findings mirrored similar research involving improving the immune system of sufferers of gastrointestinal maladies and the acceleration of the healing of burn wounds. While almost universally the results are publicized as being inconclusive and warranting further research, collectively there exists sufficient evidence indicating the relevance of this phenomenon.
The ability for hypnotherapy to influence physiology is not new. (Hypnotherapy is the clinical application of suggestion and imagination once resistance is mitigated.) For decades there have been anecdotal stories regarding wart reduction or dissolution and the curing of a wide range of psychosomatic skin disorders. This should be no surprise as dermatologists regularly attribute such concerns to stress and worry. On the other hand, shouldn’t the opposite be true as well? For instance, a lack of stress or increasing the relative amount of time that a subject spends in a parasympathetic state most certainly will produce measurable and visible results. Nevertheless, this newfound interest in the ability for the mind to influence the cells and organs of the body for many medical authorities seems to be a mystery shrouded in wishful thinking rather than a fact for which an etiology (i.e. causation) has been established. It is the exploration into causation that has specifically raised my curiosity. My exploration into the Neurology of Suggestion began providing me with some potential answers.
The primary interventions available to an allopathic medical practitioner are somewhat limited. Traditionally they are pharmacology, surgery, radiation, and magnetics or some form of electro-stimulation. Indeed, these are what I call antithetical interventions that are designed to provoke some sort of desired adaptive response. What they are lacking may be any relevant entrainment to a homeostatic map or blueprint of a healthy body. This is where I see the use of the human mind being useful in the healing processes.
There are two sources of such maps for the design of a person’s physiology – whether the map represents a healthy or an unhealthy state. One may be found within our DNA. The second is found in the associated organization of brain. While epigenticists maintain that the former can be influenced by the environment – to include one’s thought patterns – it seems that the latter is the most fascinating. Considering phenomena such as the phantom limb syndrome, the variances of physical ailments related to different personalities of a person diagnosed with dissociative disorder, as well as the existence of psychosomatic pathologies, it should be clear that the brain is associated with physiological well-being. This two-way relationship logically provides opportunities for significant innovations in mind/body interventions. If neurological structure, energy patterns, and health are correlated to physical wellbeing, then changing the brain through the use of powerful suggestion and imagination interventions must be possible.
Provided that the foregoing is a believable fact, then how can the brain be re-trained or re-structured so that health can be more rapidly influenced? My consideration of the savant syndrome and neuroplasticity comes into play here. If specific intelligences and mastery can be nurtured – which is supported by the brain’s ability to functionally restructure – then it is possible to enhance a person’s capability to influence health merely by changing thought patterns. Certainly, a review of the literature concerning miraculous remissions of terminal illnesses makes this contention much more plausible. My idea is that if intellectual mastery can be developed to the genius level, would not a level of somatic genius also become realizable? This theory is clearly supported by a tremendous amount of unrelated credible mainstream scientific research. Although this question is apparently not being asked in these specific terms, this medical phenomena can be easily be deduced. All one has to do is to connect the dots.
These are the issues that I address in my course Healing the Body: Somatic Transformation through Suggestion and Imagination. By presenting the theory and discussing evidence-based research that was conducted by leading scientific institutions in the United States and around the world, I clearly show the logic of mind/body integration. Again, my focus is on establishing a believable theory of causality. Furthermore, I lead the students through a progressive series of demonstrations that allows them to experience this concept. My intent is that they develop their own conclusions. And lastly, I then relate and link the idea of nurturing of masterful performance to the ability to improve the likelihood that specific suggestions and the effective use of imagination can and will affect physiological processes more efficiently. The positive student responses to the various demonstrations clearly indicate that these theories are right on track. My goal is to provide each of them a set of easy-to-use, yet profound techniques that they can immediately employ in their clinical practices.
This course is just one of a twelve courses leading to an Advance Neuro-Noetic HypnosisTM certification and the Advanced Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist (ACCH) designation. Students not desiring to pursue the certification find these courses useful and relevant as they seek updated skills and concepts that they can apply immediately to their practices. These courses are based upon recent findings in mind/body integration, quantum theory, and neurology, as well as being firmly grounding in a wide range of traditional, permissive, indirect, and rapid hypnotherapeutic techniques.