The Turn of the Century? A bit of a pain…

Unless WordPress is very much mistaken, this is my 100th post so maybe it’s time to begin to accept that blogging has become more than just a passing fancy.

If all is indeed as it seems then on average, every time I post, twenty people make the decision to follow this blog, so by the time you get to read this one, there should be over 2000 followers. Check out the stats to see if I’m right – I know I will. After a comment like that, I have to make sure, really.

It all started off for me with a couple of long term marketing objectives in mind, prompted by the training I was undertaking and in particular, the use of looped metaphors, which as time has gone on you might find I’ve woven into the fabric of one or two posts you might have read previously. Check them out, they can be quite powerful because you lose track of what’s on the surface and hidden meanings somehow emerge without you really even thinking about them.

Given that pain management has turned up a few times in these one hundred posts, I figured it was about time I put some of the pain management techniques to a proper test and volunteer myself to myself as it were, as a guinea pig. As if on cue a great opportunity presented itself when one of my molars broke on New Year’s Eve.

We went out for a meal and the very first bite came with an unexpected crunch, as it does sometimes. So, to ensure that the rest of the evening wasn’t spoilt in any way by sensitive teeth, I quickly went through a couple of rounds of dissociation, and Escudero, as you do and duly spent the remainder of the evening eating, drinking and generally making merry.

As is always the case, my dentist couldn’t see me for three weeks, unless it was an emergency and as I was happily controlling cold and pressure sensitivity, I booked in and waited. Of course, by now, my cynical inner voice was telling me that the pain control techniques I was using were only being effective because the tooth didn’t actually hurt anyway. A bit of a Catch 22 seeing I wasn’t going to stop using them because I really didn’t want to risk proper tooth-ache either. So I carried on and periodically argued with myself about whether I was being effectively skillful or plainly self-delusional.

Anyway, off I went to dentist, practising pain relief techniques so that I could truly test them out and found myself following habit and protocol and quietly going along with the dentist’s “OK, let’s numb it up then shall we?”. I felt a bit of a fraud.

Mind you, being no stranger to fillings, I can honestly say that every single filling I have ever had, ever, has been pretty painful even with injections. There have always been those moments when I find myself groaning as drill bites harder and wishing it would all finish ten minutes ago please.

This time, I genuinely felt nothing at all. It was almost pleasant. I’ve never had that before. But then again, as Gill said afterwards, maybe this dentist is particularly good.

Obviously this left me with no option but to test it out for real. So I did.

As is appropriate with these things, I started with the easier option, stole a pin from the sewing basket, sterilised it and, yes, pushed it slowly through the back of my hand.

I have to say it was odd. Three things stick in my mind.

1. It didn’t hurt. Really. Not at all.

2. Watching the point of the pin reappear was fascinating.

3. It was surprisingly hard to pull it out again. And it didn’t bleed. Not one drop.

Now in the scheme of things, especially in the era of YouTube videos of well known people pushing skewers through their arms, this is small time stuff. But it’s my small time stuff. And when I can figure out the best way to do it, I think it might make a really good video convincer about the power of the mind. Maybe even help potential clients make up their minds about just how powerful hypnotherapy really is and perhaps help persuade them to get in touch.

On the other hand it might put them off. I’d love to know what you think.

Oh, and I took a picture of it on my phone. I didn’t post it with this as I’m not sure this is the right forum. Good call? Or would you like to see it?

Anyways, the longer this ride goes on, the more pleased I am that I made the decision to get on the Cognitive Hypnotherapy train and follow the tracks on the slightly weirder side of life.

I have no idea how far it might take me but I keep meeting fantastic people, helping a few others along the way and more and more folks seem to want to talk to me about it.

Long may it continue.

pain relief mp3

Somewhat Zen
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

Related:

Pain relief mp3: Click Here

False Hope: Is it really possible?

Hope.

Hope that Springs Eternal, to misquote a pope which, if you’ve read Dan Brown, is misleading.

It occurred to me today in between the coughs that are all that remain of the second-hand cold I’ve been fighting off since my wife caught it from my sister on Boxing Day, (a sort of genetically modified, festively duplicated cold-in-law perhaps?), that there oughtn’t to be any such thing as a false hope.

It’s a criticism levied at those of us who look positively at negative situations by those chappies who’s own particular stance and opinion is negatively tuned, often by the potential for litigious back-lash. For some, it is apparently better to accept that the worst is reality and that entertaining the slightest optimism for a better outcome isn’t worth the risk of massive potential disappointment if the worst then duly turns up and kicks you right in the teeth.

I get it.

But surely this is simply not hoping; actively deciding that Hope is not worth the risk of Hope being dashed.

This is not false hope nor is it actually making a case for hope to be ignored. It is simply weighing up the pros and cons of entertaining hope and opting for the downside of life as either it is pretty likely to turn up anyway, or grinding your way through yet another disappointment is more than you can bear.

This is not a nice place to be. Life throws some horrible things at us sometimes. Sometimes Hope can feel too big.

But my point I suppose, is that taking the risk of hoping for a better outcome is more than simply ignoring the obvious truth of your situation, as some naysayers would have it.

Taking the risk of hoping can bring some immensely powerful guns to bear on an otherwise hope-less situation. Not least of these is that by truly opting for hope; opting to believe that there just might be way beyond the apparent certainty you’ve been expecting; that one of the most complex and least understood mechanisms in western culture can finally fire up and weigh in on your side.

Those of your that follow me regularly will probably have guessed that I’m alluding to that not-so-mythical mind-body connection. That aspect of eastern philosophy that is being slowly uncovered and accepted as our sciences become more adept at measuring such ephemerous concepts.

Maybe there’s a reason that hope springs eternal. Maybe Alexander was simply expressing a deeply ingrained feature of our human make-up that is designed to get us to stoke up the fires of the mind-body connection and generate every last vestige of opportunity for the bad thing, whatever it that bad thing might be, to be overcome.

Hope really can change your destiny.

But what if it didn’t.

What if, despite Hope, the bad thing happened. Your illness didn’t go away? The pain didn’t recede? It really did turn out to be the death that comes to us all, scythe in bony hand depending on your local anthropomorph?

Does this mean that the hope was false?

Not at all. Hope is just that. Hope. Nothing more.

My point is that by hoping, you bring every last possibility to bear on the side of your own victory. By hoping, every last possible chance and opportunity has been taken.

And if hope doesn’t work, what’s the consequence?

Well, for the time that you were hoping, life had a more positive feel. You did what you could. You felt as if you were in control. You were in charge of your destiny, not the bad thing.

The disappointment of losing your personal battle is no more disappointing because you hoped.

The hope wasn’t false. It was just hope.

If you look at Hope and you decide that it is not for you, then I’d ask that you consider your decision having thought and felt a little more about what Hope might bring, if only you dared to entertain it. It brings so much more than wishful thinking. It just might turn the tide.

One of the key aspects of my therapy practice is enabling clients to find Hope in what they had previously considered to be hope-less situations.

It’s one of the key turning points in therapy.

Once that fire of Hope is lit, we’re homeward bound.

RELATED:

Hypnotherapy Website:

Hypnotherapy downloads: (Pain, Migraine, Healing, Mindfulness Meditation, Relaxation)

 

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They hope it reflects progress
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

Parliament? It’s an award, apparently!

The Parliament Award was created by Bishop Eddie Tatro, (you should check out his blog, if you haven’t already), and was given to me by Ewa  from fibromyalgiaandselfdisorders. It is really appreciated!

The Rules of this Award are simple:

  1. Firstly, display the Award on your site (see Award page or sidebar!) You earned it and you deserve it!
  2. List a few things that make you a loyal member.
  3. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  4. Nominate at least five (5) well deserving bloggers whose loyalty and love you value and consider part of your Parliament and Pack; for the Award and let them know the wonderful news by sending them a message on their site.

Here we go…:

1. I try to make each of my posts a meaningful or entertaining read. If you’re going to take the time to read what I write, I want to make it worth your while.
2. I try to write every week but the more astute amongst you will have noticed that I take the occasional sabbatical. It’s nothing personal, I simply didn’t find that spark that was worth your time. Be patient – I always turn up again, like the proverbial bad penny!
3 The last two years (longer?) have taken me on a pretty amazing journey. Some if it fantastic, some of it pretty tearful. I’m trying to share the highlights.
4 If I read something that I like, well, I ‘like’ it.
5 I love comments, whether good or bad. Feedback is the breakfast of champions & you guys keep me sharp.

So. Over to the nominations…

I would include the legendary Bishop himself but as he created the award, it would seem a little narcissistic, so Eddie my friend, you will have to be content the mention in the very sentence of this post! (…and in the last one – almost)

1. secondhalfwoman

2. jadereyner

3. heilablog

4. herheartandsoul

5. petitemagique

Thank you & have a fantastic 2014

 

The space between. A time of promise.

There’s a lull between Christmas and the New Year, when you’ve sufficed sufficiently but can’t yet relax your guard because there’s one more day of celebration ahead and depending on your heritage this could be a really big day.

Whilst I’m partly descended from those lads north of the border, the bloodline is thin enough for me not to feel the compulsion of first-footing and all that downing of multiple not-so-wee drams. That’s not to say I’m planning to abstain nor that I won’t partake of another drop or two from that freshly opened bottle of Talisker, more that I’m hopeful that I’ll surface sometime before mid-day on Wednesday with a more or less intact inner constitution.

Given that I’m booked in to the local pub New Year’s bash from 7.30, that could be a bit of a tall order.

Then again, 2013 has been a year of expanding horizons and honing new talents so you never know. As this will be my first New Year’s Eve as a published columnist and hypnotherapist, anything is possible. I’ll be starting the New Year with clients booked in for exam-anxiety & learning coaching, stress and anxiety management, pain & illness hyper-sensitivity,  PTSD, and weight loss.

I’m advertising through Adwords & our local village magazine and the next column is out in early January. Although website views are increasing, it’s time to begin the first proper website overhaul and maybe transfer it over to WordPress.org so I can SEO the hell out it. Time will tell.

On top of that, my Financial Services consulting career has taken a turn for the complicated and is bearing fruit with high-level competence assessments and some learning coaching courses booked in already. It’ll be an interesting first quarter. Not only that. I find myself in a better place than I’ve been personally for some while.

This is in part because as my Cognitive Hypnotherapy career progresses, I’ve become adept at identifying and dealing with issues that I’ve either long-ignored or taken for granted. It’s also in no small measure because a beneficial side effect of a career in Cognitive Hypnotherapy, is that you spend your working life eliciting trance phenomena in others in a calm and gentle manner which you have no choice but to listen to as well. I find that I leave most sessions having received therapy by proxy. In some measure, the all hypnosis is self-hypnosis philosophy applies even for the therapist.

Whatever the reason, I find the end of 2013 to be a pretty chilled affair.

People are even downloading and benefiting from my mp3 recordings. I spent some considerable time deciding how long these should be. If you search out there in Google & Bing land, you’ll find a whole host of hypnotherapy mp3s & CDs.

I wanted mine to be long enough to provide serious help but short enough to be something you can pick up and put down when you find yourself in whatever form your own ‘bit-of-a-pickle’ might be. It is a strange truth but if you are for example, extremely stressed, it is nigh on impossible to find 20 minutes to listen to something which will relax you. People in pain quite simply hurt too much to be able to spend time listening for half an hour to something which may relieve that pain.

In the end I settled on 10 minutes. This seems to be long enough to make a difference and short enough, in most cases, to allow the listener to find the mental effort needed to sit down and listen. I wrote and recorded them through they year to cover areas I found clients needed most:

Relief from Chronic Pain Conditions

Pre & Post Surgery Healing

Relief from Breakthrough Pain

Migraine Relief

Mindfulness Meditation

and just for Christmas,

Deep Relaxation

And they’re all designed so that the effect builds with each listen, achieving best results after about 4 weeks according to feedback so far. If you could benefit too, why not try them. They work. And if you’d like to know more or if you want book in to see me, (face to face or through Skype), I’m always pleased to talk and offer advice. Keep in touch. 2014 is full of untapped promise.

hypnosis mp3, pain releif

The colouring bin
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Fibromyalgia. It won’t hurt to take a look.

Let’s face it. It’s about time I wrote specifically about Fibromyalgia.

Its been hovering around the edges of my posts for some time and there are quite a few people following this blog who suffer.

According to NHS Choices in UK;

Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome, is a long-term condition which causes pain all over the body. Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain and extreme tiredness.

Depending on who you talk to and which research you read, the debate is wide open about whether Fibromyalgia is a condition which causes pain or whether it is a syndrome which describes the pain but the cause is unknown. There is apparently no definitively accepted test for it. It is often a diagnosis of last resort when all others have been eliminated.

Needless to say being diagnosed with this condition can be pretty traumatic. Because Fibro is defined as a long term chronic pain condition affecting the whole body the diagnosis can feel like a life sentence. With no remission or time off for good behaviour. Not even the itself pain is consistent. As a neuropathic condition, the sensations can turn up as anything from uncomfortable tingles to serious aches, cramping muscles, burning or stabbing pains; You know, pretty much anything that’s unpleasant.

From a hypnotherapy point of view, Fibromyalgia is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Because of the way Fibromyalgia is defined, by accepting the diagnosis, you also implicitly have to accept that the pain will not go away. So in essence, if you have Fibromyalgia, then you expect it to last for a long time, that it will be painful, that it will affect the whole body and that nobody knows what it is or how to fix it. You are also tacitly accepting that the medical and pharmaceutical profession/industry have nothing which can relieve it. If they did, then you wouldn’t be told you’re going to face long term pain, you’d be given the treatment to cure it.

In asking you to accept a Fibromyalgia diagnosis, the medical community are asking you to accept their unpleasant truth. It won’t get better, it won’t go away and nothing can cure it. That’s a big ask.

So, if you do have Fibromyalgia, what can you do about it? This is where Cognitive Hypnotherapy can step up to the mark.

If pain is an alarm (which it is) and that alarm can misfire (which it can) then being put in a position where you expect continuing pain, the alarm cannot reset itself because there is nothing to reset it to. All pain you feel is expected, and all you expect to feel is pain. It is an exceptionally vicious circle.

For my part, I seek to re-open that door between the mind and body. A door which in many philosophies doesn’t even exist. It is a western invention. It is perhaps time to re-engage the connections. At least allow for the possibility that the mind has substantial influence over the body and vice versa.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy carries with it some amazingly powerful techniques.

Hypnotherapy can be and is used as anaesthesia, removing acute pain completely or reducing it to easily tolerated levels. Patients have been operated on with only hypnosis as the anaesthetic. click here for just one example…

Anaesthetic hypnosis is sometimes used for chronic pain but in my opinion is not ideal. As pain is an absolutely vital protection alarm, it is essential it isn’t switched off except in controlled circumstances when that safety function is taken on by someone else (the surgical team, for example).

Treating conditions like Fibromyalgia with hypnotherapy requires more subtlety and takes a little longer. In essence the techniques, gradually educate your unconscious mind, (that part of ‘you’ which drives almost 90% of what you do), to recognise that you are increasingly safe. In turn this leads to less and less need to be warned of potential damage (the function of pain) which in turn leads to less and less pain.

Often these techniques have beneficial side-effects. For example, many users of my hypnotherapy mp3 report that they also get immediate pain relief or that the recording is extremely relaxing even though this is not what is primarily going on.

So as a final point, I would encourage anyone who is diagnosed with a long term pain condition: by all means, accept the diagnosis but you don’t have to accept the prognosis as well. The condition you experience can progress differently for you than it does for others. Your doctor’s expectations might be wrong. Search out and find your own path.

And if you’d like me to join you for part of your journey, you only have to ask.

Related:

Hypnosurgery Live : Live TV broadcast in the UK (YouTube video)

Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy website: tonyburkinshaw.co.uk

To purchase a Pain Management mp3 click here

fibromyalgia, hypnosis mp3, pain relief

It looks cluttered, but it’s very restful
© Tony Burkinshaw 2103

Espresso Pain Relief?

I know it’s trivial but on a harmless everyday level this illustrates one of the fundamental drivers of pain. All pain.

We have a coffee pot. One of those old fashioned / retro metal espresso makers that you sit on the hob. You know, where you put the water in the bottom, the coffee in the middle and then when it boils, the steam forces the water under pressure through the coffee and into the pourer-jug thing at the top.

It’s absolutely not a percolator. Despite the cleverness of some of the ads in the ’70s and ’80s (yes, I am that old), it is my considered opinion that percolators murder good coffee. This is not one of them. Coffee is too important to treat badly.

Anyway, with this one, the espresso maker, the top and bottom screw together so it’s pressure-sealed and doesn’t leak steam and boiling water all over the place. I know they’re a bit low-tech compared to the modern electric capsule-coffee machines that look like futuristic robots and Mr Clooney advertises them all over the place but it has one big advantage. It makes great coffee. That is, if you like espresso-based coffee. Which as you might have guessed, I do.

So here’s the interesting thing I noticed about pain.

To save time, I boil the kettle and use boiling water in it instead of heating it up from cold on the hob. I’m usually making other drinks at the same time, so it makes sense to use the water that’s already hot, don’t you think?

What that means of course, is that when you screw the top onto the bottom, the bottom is literally boiling-hot and being metal, it has a high heat-transfer coefficient. (I’m pretty sure this is the first time that heat-transfer coefficients have made it into this blog, going back to my chemical engineering heritage).

Now whilst this is very sensible from a water-heating point of view, it also means that it’s bloody hot when you grab it to tighten the top onto the base. Hot enough to be too painful to hold. I use a tea-towel to hold it so that I don’t burn my fingers.

Now this is the thing. On occasion, when there was no tea-towel to hand, I’d tighten it bare fingered. Carefully, a bit at a time, blowing my fingers in between turns as you do. There’s a small steam safety valve you can use so you don’t have to hold it fully and still get a good grip with just two fingers. Even so, it was still too hot to hold and I’m too lazy to go get another tea towel…

Just recently, I’ve noticed that I’ve stopped using the tea-towel technique altogether and no longer burn my hand. I seem to have developed ‘asbestos fingers’ as my mother calls it whenever someone can hold something hot, with echoes of ‘you’re-just-like-your-Dad’ in the air. The traditional explanation about being able to do things that other people find painful is that because you’ve done it so often, your nerve-ends have become desensitised to the temperature/chemical/pressure stimulus. You just don’t feel the heat.

It’s wrong. That’s not how it works.

If I pick up other hot things, boiling hot things that are obviously just as hot because water always boils at the same temperature, (that recently resurrected chemical engineer is now shouting what-about-pressure-effects?), it hurts just as much as before.

It’s only the coffee pot that no longer hurts me. Weird?

Not really. It does make sense. In essence, what’s happened is that over time, my unconscious mind has discovered that when I screw the coffee pot together, even though it is boiling hot, I never get injured. It simply doesn’t take long enough for my fingers to actually burn. There’s not enough time for tissue damage.

This means that at a very deep level, I know that making coffee this way is not going to damage my fingers, so I don’t need pain to warn me about the danger because there isn’t any danger.

My unconscious has turned off the pain alarm. Not for heat, because other hot things still hurt. Just whilst I make coffee. Interestingly, if the base slips when I’m screwing it together the pain flicks back on instantly. Which hurts. Damn.

One of the keys to not feeling pain, depends on your unconscious mind believing that you are not threatened with tissue damaging danger. So if your environment is perceived as safe and no further tissue damage is likely, (as in normal coffee pot dynamics), a pain alarm is not needed. But if the environment is perceived as being threatening, (the coffee pot slips), then the pain alarm is flicked back on again.

As I said at the beginning, this may be trivial but it’s a real-life everyday example of a correctly functioning, complex pain alarm. It explains how something that used to hurt, doesn’t. It’s isn’t that practice teaches you how to ignore it, it’s that practice teaches your unconscious mind that this particular activity is not going to damage you.

As it turns out, it’s also a fundamental principle behind hypnotic pain management. At their core, most hypnotic pain management techniques tell you that you are safe.

Some help you to perceive that you are in an increasingly safe state both physically and emotionally and that your tissues are not undergoing increasing damage (useful to combat chronic conditions).

Some help you to feel distance or disconnection from the tissue damage itself, (sensory distortions or dissociations). If the unconscious perceives that the damage is not happening to its body, then pain alarm is not needed and isn’t fired.

Still others modulate the sensory input so that the unconscious is convinced that the nerve messages are wrong. For example experiencing numbness means that the nerves which send messages of damage are countermanded, (after all if the area is numb, there can’t be any nerve messages can there?), so the actual tissue damage goes unreported. No danger. No pain.

So, coffee pots aside, if you find yourself with pain management issues, I’d urge you to seriously consider the benefits of hypnotherapy as part of your strategy, especially if you have long term pain or a chronic pain condition (fibro, lupus, CRPS, migraines and so on). And if you do consider it – I’d be happy to help and advise.

As always, if you ask I’ll answer your questions. If you like, I can offer direct therapeutic help either face to face (if you’re local to Peterborough) or via Skype if you’re not. And if you can only afford 10 minutes at a time, there I’ve created some carefully crafted pain management mp3s which are waiting just for you on my website.

So if you hurt – let’s talk.

Related

Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy: tonyburkinshaw.co.uk

Pain Management mp3s: tonyburkinshaw.co.uk/shop

Follow me on twitter?: @TBtalks

Random Acts of Kindness: @RAK_UK

Migraine, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, CRPS Hypnotherapy mp3

The Old Rope Trick?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

 

Chronic Pain: What a relief?

It still surprises me just how powerfully Cognitive Hypnotherapy can affect the physical symptoms the human body suffers. It is genuinely remarkable.

This of course flies us straight into the face of one of pain’s key conundrums and, as it turns out, one of the keys which allows Cognitive Hypnotherapy to address otherwise intractable symptoms which consistently defy pharmaceutical intervention.

A fundamental driver of evolutionary development is to staying alive to propagate genes and a key components of achieving this is a means of identifying and responding to threats. It is extremely effective and adaptive. We know this because we are (possibly) the dominant species on this planet.

Herein lies the route of our painful downfall.

Pain is one of these absolutely vital alarms which keep us safe. When something is damaging your body, it is imperative that you respond. Right now. Without thought or debate. It is designed to grab your attention and demand, absolutely demand, that you act. In this way, by prioritising damage as the highest of the immediacy alarms, you are forced to deal with something which could either kill you or injure you to the point when your continued survival is compromised. Pain even triggers physical responses to help us heal. Redness, swelling, rashes, increased sensitivity, stiffness, reduced range of movement can all be triggered by pain in order to assist with healing.

Quite simply, our bodies don’t want us or our children to die and will scream at you until you act.

But…

what if responding to the damage could in itself compromise your chance of survival or of propagating your genes in that imperative manner geneticists like to refer to? What if responding to being in pain lets down other defence mechanisms like fight or flight or prevents you from saving your offspring?

Well, as it turns out, the pain alarm is extremely sophisticated. Not only does your brain assess the information from your body (nerve input about pressure, temperature, chemical effects, danger to tissues) but it assesses this against all manner of other inputs it is receiving about your overall situation. It does what it does best, lightening fast projection of what could happen and how to respond in multiple scenarios, so quickly that we quite simply aren’t aware of it. We do it all the time.

The more dangerous the situation your brain believes you to be in, the more sensitively it sets its alarms. You are more likely to jump at a sudden noise or movement when you’re scared than when you’re calm and happy. You’re more likely to feel pain when you expect to sustain tissue damage.

There is an exact opposite to this, though. If your situation is so dangerous that dealing with pain would be yet more dangerous, then the pain alarm does not fire. There are many stories of people who have saved themselves or loved ones from danger even though they have been injured already. The pain didn’t arrive until later. When there was time to hurt.

These are the pre-cursors of chronic pain. 

After tissue damage, the body repairs itself to whatever level it can and the pain alarm returns to its normal sensitivity. Sometimes however, the brain has become so used to firing the pain alarm that it mistakes it’s own sensitivity as further tissue damage. Sometimes it treats its own increased sensitivity as continued indication that your environment is more dangerous than it really is. It enters a spiral of pain sensitivity that it doesn’t recognise and doesn’t try to find a way out of it because it believes you are in too much danger.

In a very real way, your brain has begun to jump at its own shadow.

Modern living causes another twist in the tail. The bulk of the threats we face are social rather than physical. But as a social being we perceive socially threatening situations as dangerous. So if we feel socially vulnerable (anxiety, stress, tiredness, depression), we automatically increase our perceived threat levels. If we are unhappy about where we live, the job we have, the threat of redundancy, worry about money, arguments with our partner, concern about our children, worry about our health, all of these are assessed as indicators that our environment is dangerous.

Given that prolonged pain can lead to anxiety, stress and depression, chronic pain can extend its spiral because eventually the perceived threat is sustained by chronic pain itself.

This is where Cognitive Hypnotherapy becomes extremely effective.

It uses a variety of powerful techniques which are designed to help you perceive increased levels of safety and control within your own environment. These are superbly effective at reducing anxiety, stress and depression; dealing with phobias; social fears such as public speaking and so on. It is these very tools which allow Cognitive Hypnotherapy to have such dramatic effect on chronic pain conditions.

Given that perception of pain is based on the level of tissue damage and the assessed level of immediate threat in your environment, then the most predominant trigger for chronic pain is the perception of threat alone. After all, one of the key definitions of chronic pain is ‘pain which is continuing for more than 12 weeks or after the time at which healing would have been thought to have occurred’. In essence, if the pain you have is ‘chronic’ then, by definition, your tissues are no longer sustaining damage.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy prompts your unconscious mind to recognise the reality of the level of safety you have, both externally and internally, physically and psychologically, then the assessed environmental threat level is reduced and the pain alarm is fired less and less. As the pain alarm is fired less and less, the brain allows the nerve receptors themselves to gently return to their normal sensitivity.

With careful work, your unconscious perception of threat is reduced and perception of safety and control is increased. This sets up a virtuous circle of feedback. Gradually and gently the frequency of pain reduces until it becomes something that used to happen.

Chronic pain can become a thing of the past.

Using Cognitive Hypnotherapy, both face to face, over Skype and through carefully designed mp3 recordings, many clients have been helped out of the spiral of their chronic pain.

Why not join them?

You’ve only got one thing to lose. Your pain.

Related:

http://tonyburkinshaw.co.uk/shop : Chronic Pain Hypnotherapy mp3

http://www.britishpainsociety.org/ : further information about chronic pain

Chronic Pain, Hypnotherapy mp3

The Outlook is Sunny
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Pain & Hypnotherapy. What’s the answer?

I’ve been having long distance virtual conversations again. People have started asking me interesting and searching questions. I like it. It keeps me on my toes. Grounded.

Occasionally stops me waffling.

Dawn, of Finding My Inner Courage fame, asked one which cut straight to the heart of what I do. It sounded so simple…

“Could you please explain to me how hypnosis works with chronic pain?”

‘Ah, one of the difficult ones’, I thought, paraphrasing Wen, enlightened figment of Terry Pratchett’s fertile imagination.

This was either going to involve writing my first book, (quite a good idea actually but perhaps not just yet), or would really test my ability to be succinct. You may have gathered that I tend to pad my prose with sideways off-shoots as they arrive in my head whilst I type. What I sent her was quite a good summary of this complex subject and I thought it might be worth sharing.

So here is my bite-sized reduction of the totality of the Chronic Pain Experience and how Hypnotherapy addresses it:

There are two parts to this: How does ‘pain’ happen and How does Hypnotherapy address this?

How does Pain  happen?

In essence, pain is the result of lightning fast calculations that your brain makes as a result of the totality of the many sensory inputs it has. This includes your nerve impulses, hormonal communications, emotional state, and your unconscious thoughts/feeling/beliefs (which are internally created sensory inputs).

Your brain uses these to assess your current situation and various potential future situations and makes decisions about your current and future safety, particularly with regard to the potential for physical damage.

Pain is an alarm which your brain can choose to trigger (PLEASE NOTE: this is not a conscious decision or choice – it is automatic. You can’t consciously choose not to feel pain!). Your brain will only decide to trigger pain if it assesses that you are in danger AND that pain is the most appropriate alarm to use. (Think about soldiers in mid-battle, athletes in competition, parents whose children are in danger – all have been known to suffer major injury and still function without pain – The pain comes later, if at all).

Pain is essentially an attention-grabbing alarm. It stops you in your tracks and insists, (very loudly), that you do something to protect yourself.It is vital to survival.

When you feel pain, your brain increases the sensitivity of the nerves which indicated the damage. It wants to know as much as it can, quickly.

It triggers healing & protection responses (inflammation, muscle tension etc.). These in turn can trigger increases in sensitivity.

Important: You should always seek medical advice if you have persistent or unexpected pain

The pain alarm can misfire in two ways:

  1. The sensitivity fails to reduce when the healing process has completed. The brain misinterprets increased sensitivity as increased damage and increases the sensitivity yet again to be sure it knows as much as it can about the damage. Instead of gradually lowering the threat level, the alarm hyper-sensitises itself and sets up a vicious circle. You keep feeling pain because you keep feeling pain because you keep feeling pain…
  2. If your environment is threatening, your brain’s base level for alarms is set very high anyway. You are constantly on high-alert. You get very jumpy about injury and so feel pain much more quickly than ‘normal’. A key point here is that your ‘environment’ includes how you feel, so if you feel bad about yourself. (limiting beliefs, self-loathing, lack of self-worth, lack of love etc.), your brain treats this in the same way as a physically threatening environment.

How does Hypnotherapy help?

Essentially hypnotherapy works in 3 ways.

  1. It uses hypnotic trance to temporarily convince the brain that it is safe. As an example, ‘Dissociative Trance States’ dissociate ‘you’ from your entire ‘body’ or just the ‘part’ of your body which hurts. This convinces your brain that the threat is longer relevant to ‘you’. You now feel no pain. This is really effective for hypnotic anaesthesia. It can be dangerous to use these techniques in isolation because pain is an essential warning tool. 
  2. Hypnotherapy can be effective in the longer term by addressing the perceived level of threat in your environment. This can be either by helping you discover resources which give you perceived control in a physically threatening environment or by addressing any deeply embedded underlying personal issues as discussed above. This reduces the environmental threat level and ‘resets’ the sensitivity of your pain alarm to normal levels.
  3. Hypnotherapy can re-connect the mind and body, which Western Society believes to be separate. This allows you to bring some control and guidance to your natural healing ability and to focus this healing on those areas which have been injured or damaged. This is effective in long term pain relief because healing actually does improve AND increases your unconscious’ sense of control, reducing the need for a pain alarm to be triggered. Essentially, if you are already dealing with the threat, your unconscious doesn’t need to remind you of that threat. (This is one of the reasons that toot-ache often stops once you sit down in the dentist’s waiting room – you have already taken the action needed, so the alarm stops).

I thought this worked quite well as a high-level walk down the road I travel and it’s a different style of post than I usually do, although as you can tell, I couldn’t completely resist the chatter.

Let me know what you think. I

It might be worth writing some more of these.

Related:

Hypnotherapy mp3 for Relief for Chronic Pain Conditions

Hypnotherapy mp3 for Migraine Relief

Hypnotherapy mp3 for Healing & Relief Pre & Post Surgery

Hypnotherapy mp3 chronic pain migraine

You say that’s safe?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

MP3 Blog I did, please read to check out Tony’s site and order CD

I can’t thank Shaun enough for what he wrote. Hopefully this reblog will go some way towards it. Many thanks Shaun.
If you’re up for it, feel free to reblog or share Shaun’s post as well…

A year ago today, apparently

It seems like only a year ago, which is indeed the case, that I started my first ever blog. As it happens it’s still my only blog although that may change in the not too distant.

I was reminded that I am only one year old by traditional WordPress auto-post, as follows

Happy Anniversary!

You registered on WordPress.com 1 year ago!

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

I’m pretty certain that they haven’t actually checked the content of the blog so I’m not particularly flattered by the ‘good’ but it was nice to be reminded, although I may now have to placate the ghost of witchfinders past as per early postings.

What does seem particularly time-distorted is the fact that when this blog began, I wasn’t even half way through my discoveries and had no idea how my writing a blog would be received so I guess this would be a good place to reveal those successes;

11,171 Views

636 Comments

91 Countries

1471 Followers (974 WordPress, 267 Facebook, 226, Twitter)

These are the figures that persuade me maybe you guys like what I write. I’m really pleased and glad that those writing dreams weren’t, to keep it thematic, pure fiction.

Thank you, all of you.

Meanwhile, back to the usual discourse. It’s been an odd week of deliberate and unintended therapy, encouraging a small and frightened 4 year old somewhere from the depths of my past that all is now well and that growing up could well be the order of the day and then on to a little local networking with Sue, (international image consultant), about whom I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I guess I was thinking colour charts and drapes but in fact was quite stunned by the quality of therapeutic process in what she was doing. Think Gok Wan without the compulsory naked catwalk and you’re more on the lines of what she does. I’d never really considered that image consulting could be therapy.

If you’ve ever met me you’ll probably realise that this wasn’t my own image I was consulting, just an opportunity to meet and chat with someone in a vaguely allied field who lives just over a mile down the road from me.

Even though we were just chatting over coffee, she’s quite inspiring particulalry if you’re trying to encourage the inner you to rapid maturity. In a fairly self-deprecating way, this lady is working with people and companies from all over the UK and Europe, delivering talks and seminars worldwide and looking for opportunities to enhance what she does. And she’s good company. I have a feeling that her words are gently working their way through my unconscious and clicking into place.

Compared to her I feel as though I sounded less than enthusiastic about my own relatively meagre efforts but maybe that’s just the part of me that recent deliberate therapy is growing up from, if you see what I mean.

I have a feeling that my business is currently undergoing a lull, party due to the summer holidays and partly as I reassess the compass heading I’m following.

My mp3 downloads are doing quite well in terms of the feedback I receive about their effectiveness although the number of visitors to to actually buy them has reduced. Website visitors in general are up but conversion to appointments isn’t as high as I’d like, so my daughter and I redesigned some of the wordings to try out new approaches. I think it’ll make a difference and should be live later this week. I reckon we’ll work on a full rethink later in the year.

As I see it, it’s all very well being good at what you do but you do need people to do it with, otherwise you’re not actually being the very good that you could be, now are you?This is the time of quiet reflection, with different aspects coming together to lower the pace and give me the time and the inclination to check my heading and readjust where I’m going.

Things are definitely looking up. Not only is my learning-to-learn workshop being well received and promoted, I’ve been asked to write for Only Peterborough, one of the city magazines, who are looking to publish a mental health well-being column every month. Guess who was asked first! Oh yes. That should encourage more local publicity, don’t you think?

So where do we go from here, one year on and with blog readers continuing to increase?

There will be more to come on managing pain, particularly chronic pain and of course stress and related conditions will always feature.

My newer knowledge around understanding how we learn as individuals could have quite dramatic effects, increasing the quality of their study, improved results, embedding permanent learning and massively reduced exam stress.

As for the blog. Steady as she goes. I’ll keep posting weekly, if there’s enough quality chatter buzzing around my head and more or less often as inner wording allows. I might even indulge in the occasional offshoot here and there.

Other than that? Onwards…

…and definitely up!

Hypnosis MP3 and learning

Open the Shutters
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Related:

Sue Donnelly:        http://www.suedonnelly.com

Hypnotherapy mp3s (Chronic Pain Relief, Migraine Relief):   tonyburkinshaw.co.uk