Monday, 28 November 2011

What is Fight or Flight Response?

Fight or flight is a natural healthy response within our body to a perceived threat or danger. Thousands of years ago we led very different lives, much more physically challenging and dangerous lives. We didn’t have sharp claws or teeth to protect us from the world around us, and we had to be able to react very quickly to threats around us. In those days there were two simple choices, we could either fight or we could run (flight).

The fight or flight response is one of the most important parts of our make-up and a highly efficient survival response for dangerous times. When we are in fight or flight mode hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released; these speed up the heart rate, slow down digestion, and shift the blood flow to major muscle groups, giving the body a burst of energy and strength so we can react to the situation at hand. In the times of cavemen the threats were simple and straight forward - a wild animal or a member from an enemy tribe for example - these were very serious and dangerous threats requiring a quick reaction.

Nowadays we still have our fight or flight response; the dangerous situations have changed, but the biggest difference is that we now don’t always release that pent up stress.

Our bodies are built to deal with short times of heightened awareness and stress, it is a vital part of our survival, but the problem comes when we continue to keep our bodies in the heightened state, the stress state.

Our body/mind can’t differentiate between a real threat and a perceived threat. You can get the same chemical reactions just by thinking about a stressful situation, for example, a bill needing to be paid,  going over a situation you experienced – reliving it in your mind, or worrying about an upcoming situation; then when it happens it was so much better/easier than you thought, but all that energy you spent worrying about it has had a harmful effect on your body.

Our body tries to re balance but the hormones are still flying around; gradually they begin to have a permanent effect on our health, long-term health problems start to develop.

The wonderful thing is that you can control this; you can learn what your stressors are and how you can de-stress yourself. A hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP session can help you by working out a range of mechanisms with Erika which will equip you to deal with stress better for the rest of your life.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 21 November 2011

Surgeons told to Hypnotise your patient

Came across this article by Amelia Hill written for The Observer in June 2009 and had to share it.

“Doctors should be taught to hypnotise patients not to feel pain instead of using general anaesthetics during some operations, the Royal Society of Medicine will be told today.

In what he has described as a "clarion call to the British medical profession", Professor David Spiegel, of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Stanford University in the US, will also call on the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) to add hypnotherapy to its list of approved therapeutic techniques for the treatment of conditions ranging from allergies and high blood pressure to the pain associated with bone marrow transplantation, cancer treatment and anaesthesia for liver biopsy. Nice has already approved the technique for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

"It is time for hypnosis to work its way into the mainstream of British medicine," Spiegel will say at the joint conference of the Royal Society of Medicine, the British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis and the British Society of Medical and Dental Hypnosis.
"There is solid science behind what sounds like mysticism and we need to get that message across to the bodies that influence this area. Hypnosis has no negative side-effects. It makes operations quicker, as the patient is able to talk to the surgeon as the operation proceeds, and it is cheaper than conventional pain relief. Since it does not interfere with the workings of the body, the patient recovers faster, too.

"It is also extremely powerful as a means of pain relief. Hypnosis has been accepted and rejected because people are nervous of it. They think it's either too powerful or not powerful enough, but, although the public are sceptical, the hardest part of the procedure is getting other doctors to accept it."

Professor Marie-Elisabeth Faymonville, head of the Pain Clinic at Liege University Hospital in Belgium, who has operated on more than 6,000 patients using hypnosis combined with alight local anaesthetic, said: "The local anaesthetic is used only to deaden the surface of the skin while a scalpel slices through it. It has no effect inside the body.

"The patient is conscious throughout the operation and this helps the doctor and patient work together.The patient may have to move during an operation and it's simple to get them to do so if they remain conscious. We've even done a hysterectomy using the procedure."

The theory behind medical hypnosis is that the body's brain and nervous system can't always distinguish an imagined situation from a real occurrence. This means the brain can act on any image or verbal suggestion as if it were reality. Hypnosis puts patients into a state of deep relaxation that is very susceptible to imagery. The more vivid this imagery, the greater the effect on the body.

Dr Martin Wall, president of the Section Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine at the Royal Society of Medicine, said hypnosis fundamentally alters a subject's state of mind. Hypnosis is not, he said, simply a matter of suggestibility and relaxation.
Nice said it would welcome submissions for hypnotherapy to be considered as an approved therapeutic technique on the NHS if it could be cost-effective, and consistent delivery could be guaranteed.

But Professor Steve Field, who chairs the Royal College of General Practitioners, said he was sceptical as to whether hypnotherapy could meet these standards.
"It is a useful tool used by some GPs and patients for relaxation, but I don't think it is something that we should support being rolled out to all medical students and all doctors,"  he said.

"We can't call on the NHS to support it without there being a firm medical and economic basis, and I'm not convinced those have been proved to exist."

It is brilliant to see hypnotherapy becoming more and more recognized for the amazing therapy it is. Although there is still a long way to go and there needs to be guidelines put in place for governing bodies etc, it is a great step in the right direction.

To find out what other things hypnotherapy, CBT and NLP can help with please click here.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Does Hypnotherapy Really Work?

When I tell people I’m a hypnotherapist, they often ask “does hypnotherapy actually work ?”

For years within science, there were debates as to whether hypnosis existed or worked and sceptics often claimed that people in hypnosis were play-acting. But that has now all changed. In February 2002 the first conclusive scientific proof that hypnosis produces clear changes in the mind was presented by Professor David Spiegel of Stanford University School of Medicine in California at the America Association for the Advancement of Science conference.

Eight subjects were hypnotised and monitored using special scanning techniques called PET (Positron Emission Tomography) which measures blood flow to the brain.

Professor Spiegel said: “When people believe there is colour in the picture, their brains process the colour even if it isn’t there. They are not just telling you what you want to hear; the way their brains respond to the information is actually being changed. Under hypnosis, believing is seeing.”

Spiegel’s findings demonstrate that hypnosis has biological as well as psychological effects, disproving the cynics and supporting the application of hypnosis in a medical setting.

Spiegel said: “There has been a whole school of argument that hypnosis is nothing more than an exaggerated form of social compliance. This is evidence that they are not just telling you what they think you want to hear. They are actually perceiving things differently.”

For many of us, having scientific proof will help us to believe in hypnotherapy but there will be people who ask: “Is it all just a placebo?” With any therapy or drug there is always a placebo element to it – you believe that by taking this pill or receiving that therapy you will get better. By telling this to your mind it begins to happen. Hypnotherapy in that aspect is no different from any other treatment but it is also highly effective at changing the patterns we get into so that we can look at things in a new way and achieve our goals. Even the NHS has now recognised the benefits of hypnotherapy.

Look at other aspects in life where we are driven by our subconscious and the messages around us, such as in the media where the subliminal messages we pick up around us can influence our choices.

Marketers use branding to tap into our subconscious – take McDonalds for example. Their colours are red and yellow/golden, that’s because, according to the colour theory, these colours are known to subconsciously trigger hunger and/or induce excitement. These colours encourage guests to spend more and leave quickly, which is exactly what fast food restaurants want you to do. McDondalds has now started making the stores green, which is a colour we associate with health and the environment. As the world is becoming more conscious about the effects that certain foods have on our health and the damage we are doing to the planet, McDonalds is moving with the times making their fast food restaurants remain appealing.

Personally I have experienced many clients changing the way they look at a situation, their perception and becoming much happier people. I find my work so rewarding, seeing someone transform from the very first session full of anxiety to now enjoying life far more.

It is time to start working with your mind, take the first steps today to achieving your goals.

Click here to see what kind of things can be treated using Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 7 November 2011

Are We Scared to Fail?

Are we scared to fail? Do we stop ourselves from trying something just in case we fail? Do we project failure, seeing ourselves fail at something before we have even tried it?

No matter how hard you work for success, if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavours and make success impossible. Baudjuin

The more I work with different clients the more I see a growing pattern of fear. Society is teaching us from a young age that to fail is wrong. Our school days carry the fear of the big F being put on our papers for all to see, F for FAILURE. But is failure a necessary step for learning to occur? Are we stopping ourselves from achieving things due to the small chance that we may fail? If we never fail at something does it mean that we never learnt anything from it?

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. Henry Ford

Some of the biggest discoveries were born from mistakes/failure. One of the most famous ones in medicine is the discovery of penicillin. In 1928, bacteriologist Alexander Fleming made a chance discovery from a discarded, contaminated Petri dish. The mould that had contaminated the experiment turned out to contain a powerful antibiotic, penicillin.

Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement. Henry Ford

One of the biggest lessons we can learn in life is it is ok to fail at something, to let go of the fear of failure. You may not learn the lesson the first time or even the second and third time, but each time we fail at something we learn something. We learn a different way to succeed, maybe even discover a new path altogether. Everything we learn we can use later in life for the next task we tackle.

No-one starts off by being the best at something, all the greats did it through hard work and being brave enough to try something and fail. Even ourselves; we came into this world being able to do nothing for ourselves. Slowly we learnt how to walk and talk and eventually we became fully independent people. If we had the same fear of trying new things as a baby that we do as adults we would still be in nappies.

So many of the great names today could have given up at the many hurdles they faced but instead they kept trying and failing until the found the right way.

Winston Churchill failed sixth grade. He was subsequently defeated in every election for public office until he became Prime Minister at the age of 62. He later wrote, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never,Never give up."

Sigmund Freud was booed from the podium when he first presented his ideas to the scientific community of Europe. He returned to his office and kept on writing.

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was"sub-normal," and one of his teachers described him as "mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams." He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.
Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.

Michael Jordan and Bob Cousy were each cut from their high school basketball teams. Jordan once observed,"I've failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed."

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.

The Beatles. Decca Records turned down a recording contract with the Beatles with the unprophetic evaluation, "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on their way out." After Decca rejected the Beatles, Columbia records followed suit.

Elvis Presley. In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back todrivin' a truck."

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do. Henry Ford

Let go of the fear of failure and trust in your abilities. Calculate the risk sand make wise decisions, but take the plunge. Whilst we may end up on a different road than we expected, if we never try then we will never succeed. Yes we may need to “fail” once or twice to discover the right path but far better to try, and fail, than spend your whole life wondering "what if."

To find out how hypnotherapy, CBT& NLP can help you to let go of your fears and achieve your goals please give Erika a call for a no obligation chat.