These techniques stem from the premise that we have mind/body links that we can activate to help ourselves. We all know that when we are very anxious or stressed any symptom is perceived as worse and is heightened as opposed to when we are feeling happy and calm when we can shrug things off more easily. But as well as helping ourselves to feel calmer we can also directly influence our physical body by using our mind.
The unconscious part of our mind “runs” our body – adjusting our blood flow, our inflammatory response, our muscle tension and all our chemicals and hormones that influence how we feel physically. By taking time to sit down and do a self-hypnotic or relaxation technique we can reduce our levels of stress hormones and help ourselves to feel calmer (See leaflet on self-hypnosis).
We can also use imagery and visualization to give ourselves suggestion more effectively. We can construct or code a symptom in our mind’s eye by focusing on the symptom and seeing what image comes to mind. This may be a visual image or it could be sound or a feeling. Then we begin to change it in whatever way our intuition tells us so that it becomes the way it should be. For instance a headache might be visualised as red and pulsating which could gradually be changed to a gently waving blueness.
We can also use visualization to help in other ways eg increasing our immune functioning by imagining our white cells “eating up” the germs in an infection or the cancer cells in a tumour.
We can also visualize a connection to “healing” by imagining a colour or light flowing down our body bathing every cell and allowing them to be as healthy as is possible. This could also be imagined as a golden honey like liquid that flows down one body bathing every cell as it does so. One of my cancer patients imagined her chemotherapy as a golden liquid that flowed around the black cancer shrinking it.
Another method of utilizing unconscious resources is by setting the intention and using unconscious movement as a signal. We all gesticulate or nod our heads without consciously thinking about it and this method utilizes this same kind of unconscious movement. This method is particularly effective for headaches and migraine if used early enough.
Hold hands 4-5 inches apart and ask internally if your unconscious mind is prepared to work on “x” now.
If “yes” then your hands will gradually come together as your unconscious mind reviews the problem and its antecedents.
If “no” then hands will move apart. Respect this and maybe try again later.
Allow one hand to drift down to your lap as your unconscious mind mobilises the resources it needs to deal with the problem.
Allow the other hand to move down to your lap as your unconscious mind starts to use these resources to help you with the problem.
It is important with this not to make your hands move or stop them moving but to let them please themselves.