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Stanford School of Medicine Uses Hypnosis to Discover the Cause of Seizures

It all began back in 2008. An eleven year old boy was suffering terribly from daily episodes of uncontrollable jerking and foaming at his mouth which may or may not have been epileptic seizures. Unable to determine the problem through conventional means his doctors eventually decided to try a more unconventional diagnostic tool; hypnosis.

The reason hypnosis might be deemed effective in a case like this is that the hypnotherapist, through using suggestions, can coach the child in helping them determine the actual root cause of the seizures. It is therefore very important that doctors work closely together with hypnotherapists sharing resources and educating each other. Through this cooperation doctors and hypnotherapists can help treat seizures effectively, and vitally identify which parts of the child's brain are causing the problem. It has actually been determined that many children who seem to be having epileptic seizures are actually having an involuntary physical reaction to psychological stress in their lives. Therefore in these cases a very different course of treatment is needed compared to what would normally be prescribed for genuine epileptic seizures.

So why exactly does hypnosis work so well when treating children?

The keystone to this apparent success is that children are highly suggestible and importantly have very vivid imaginations. Hypnosis therefore is one of the most effective tools one can use when helping children suffering seizures.

The child psychiatrist Packard and Dr. Richard Shaw discovered that suggestions given to children to experience actual events in their lives while they are in a hypnotic trance would help them find the trigger for the child's fits and help the hypnotherapist and doctor bring about a solution.

One other possible reason hypnosis is so effective is that it can potentially speed up the process of determining the right course of treatment for a patient. Both Dr. Richard Shaw and Professor Olson the children's chief of pediatric neurology believed this was the case. Back in 2008, former medical student Neva Howard together with Richard Shaw, and Professor Olson, tested the procedure on nine children aged between 8 and 16. These children were suffering from seizure-like events which included twitching, loss of consciousness, shaking, jerking and falling. Physicians essentially needed to know whether these were true epileptic events, which are best treated by medication, or were in fact non-epileptic events caused by psychological stress or other neurological problems.

Now, back in 2009, I hypnotized a young client of mine suffering from the same type of problems. I taught my client breathing techniques, then moved onto progressive relaxation to induce a state of relaxation followed with deepening. When the client was in trance, I used guided imagery, helping the client to choose the one he liked most. We call this "The Special Place" where the client felt most safe. I then suggested to the client to induce one of his typical seizure-like experiences. I would guide him into recalling his actual feelings of that specific experience. Then I would teach my client whilst still in trance to change the event as soon as it happened followed by breathing back into his "Special Place". Usually, that is all to it, the process works in controlling the seizure-like events or even to eliminate the problem altogether given sufficient time and care.

Like I did with my client. Shaw, Olson and Howard could also successfully trigger a seizure-like event with this procedure. After an appropriate monitoring interval, they then directed the hypnotized child to "return" to his or her favorite place and the episode would stop. Using this technique, the physicians found that all nine of the subjects were actually experiencing none epileptic events. The results of their work were published online in January 2008 in Epilepsy & Behavior.

It must be pointed out though that of course hypnosis may not work for every child, but the approach and the techniques employed by hypnotherapists is an important step that can help doctors to speed up proper diagnosis and treatment for children suffering from seizure-like events.

The very fact that hypnosis is now being used to help doctors to confirm if particular children have or may not have epilepsy, is a clear indication that people are now more open minded today than they were several years ago, since the idea of hypnosis is no longer perceived in terms of control issues or losing control. It is now used in a medical setting, and many people are much more receptive to the potential benefits of using hypnosis to treat the kind of conditions described above.

Note: Make sure you confirm that your hypnotherapist is working with doctor referrals, and is insured and trained well, meaning they have a diploma and many years of experience behind them.


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