Clinical & Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist

This article is the one promised in my previous article here at my Health Talk blog; it’s aim is to further and develop your self-hypnosis skill set for applications of self-directed pain relief.

During lectures in recent years and when teaching self-hypnosis in seminars and written a great deal on the subject and one of the things I am asked about a great deal is the best way to create anaesthesia, analgesia and the right level of numbness for it to be used as an impressive demonstration of self-hypnosis skill and as a convincer of the effects of self-hypnosis.

In addition to enhancing self-efficacy with hypnotic responsiveness, this process can subsequently be applied to people wishing to add to their pain relief medication or ongoing medical treatment.

Here, I offer up a variety of ways to create a really good level of numbness, anaesthesia and analgesia in your arm. Once learned, it can then be applied to a variety of ailments or medical conditions too.

This is absolutely one of those processes that can create very impressive results very quickly. However, I recommend that it is something that is developed and built up over a prolonged period of time – that you practice, utilise repetition and persistence in order to build up your skill level. Evidence suggests that the more you practice and the more belief you invest in the process, the greater the benefits to you will be.

With a good level of practice, you’ll also actually find that you’ll be very capable of moving the anaesthesia to other parts of the body if every required too.

Here is a step-by-step process, however, it has a number of options within the guide, so give a thorough read on a couple of occasions prior to practicing.

If you want to chart your own progress and development with this skill, you may want to pinch your chosen arm or hand at the start, be aware of how much force you used and gauge the amount of discomfort or pain that is felt. Then later on, when you have induced the anaesthesia and numbness, you can start to test it and compare the measurement made before hand.

Be safe and apply common sense with this, use it with safety and not in a way that is going to cause you any harm in any way.

Steps To Create Numbness and Anaesthesia In Your Arm Using Self-Hypnosis:

Step One: Induce hypnosis.

You can do so by any means you desire or know of. Here is one such method.

Then take a nice deep breath and as you exhale, allow your eyes to comfortably close.

Hold your  dominant arm straight out in front of you, palm facing down and tune into the feelings within it.

Imagine as vividly as you can, that there is a large book (e.g. dictionary, encyclopaedia) resting on the back of your arm/hand, and every relaxed breath you exhale, imagine another one being placed on top of it making it feel as if it is getting heavier and heavier. Really engage your imagination and convince yourself that your arm feels heavier and heavier.

Affirm this by saying to yourself those words “heavier and heavier” repeatedly as you continue to let your imagination make the arm feel heavy. As it feels as if it is getting heavier and heavier, also imagine the arm starts to very slowly, but surely move downwards to your lap.

Tell yourself this with volition, do not allow other thoughts in to distract, repeat that sentiment, relax with the sentiment (too much effort or stress can impede the progress you make) and repeatedly tell yourself you go into hypnosis as you focus on the arm moving downwards and the body relaxing everywhere else.

When your hand reaches your lap, it rests, it relaxes and flops into a comfortable position.

Now you have induced hypnosis (with absorption and focus), move on to step two.

Step Two: Tell yourself that every thought you think takes you deeper into hypnosis and then do one or all of the following strategies to start developing the numbness and anaesthesia:

a) Use cognitions and internal dialogue: Affirm to yourself that the area of your arm you are focusing on is going numb. This needs to be done in a way that convinces you that it is the truth; that is, say it all to yourself in a way that you believe 100% at an emotional level.

Do not say it with stress and do not ‘try’ to will it to happen, just convince yourself with a good level of assuredness.

Focus your attention on a particular spot on your hand or your arm and begin to imagine and notice that it is growing numb. Then tell yourself it is going numb. Convince yourself using your internal dialogue that it is so.

Utilise any accompanying twitches, or slight sensations by telling yourself that they are proof of it taking affect and working for you.

“My arm is more and more numb. Feeling is fading, disappearing… More and more numb” or whatever kind of other cognitions really convince you.

b) Use of cold and ice: This is typically my first choice when doing this using hetero hypnosis with someone.

Imagine that you are putting your hand, finger tips first, and then slowly the rest of the hand and arm, into a bucket of icy water. Imagine the coldness and numbness spreads and then imagine it getting colder until the water turns to ice and the arm is encased in case.

Again, add belief and convince yourself of it.

You can tell yourself that the arm is getting colder and colder, but ensure it is not an uncomfortable coldness that would harm us in real-life terms. No self-induced frostbite here please! 😉

Some of my students have imagined pure white snow falling on the arm, building up and getting colder. You may use icy, barren arctic conditions as a stimulus to dominate the mind and accompany what you do with the arm directly, thus creating an internal environment for your thoughts that supports and encourages the coldness in the arm.

c) Numb colouring: With either of the previous options and with those that following, you may choose to use your imagination to colour the area in a way that leads to numbness.

Ideally, white and blue tend to get associated with cold and that may prove useful.

However, when I do this with clients or students with hetero hypnosis, I have often noticed the actual change in colour in the arm as blood is mobilized. Often the arm loses some of it’s usual colour and turns a more yellow or pale colour. You might consider suggesting the same thing to yourself using colour and imagining that the arm is becoming more pale.

This use of colour can advance and enhance any of the other options given here.

d) A numbing injection: This is particularly good and effective if you have had an experience of a numbing, analgesic injection in the past, at a hospital, doctors surgery or dentist.

You might notice or imagine being in a doctors surgery or a surgical environment if that helps create the right feel for you. Then imagine the injection and focus on the cooling, numbing sensation that occurs, focus on it and even add in the use of your internal dialogue, colouring and coolness imagery to advance it.

e) Turn the arm into something else: This is the kind of process used by Derren Brown in his recent stage show. This is whereby you use your imagination and imagine that your arm and hand are actually made of a different substance. You imagine that the arm takes on the qualities of that substance.

You imagine that the arm and hand are beginning to change gradually into a piece of wood, plastic, or the same as an arm of a clothing shop mannequin.

You imagine the arm becoming inert, like painted wood or soft plastic, you tell yourself that it is becoming more and more numb as it takes on those qualities.

f) Distraction: This is working upon dissociation principles. While inducing the numbness, you shift your awareness and focus to another completely different part of your body, you become so aware and tuned in to your toes or foot, for example, that you lose any awareness of the arm and it becomes numb by default.

I recommend that a combination of many of these techniques and processes be used to develop the desired outcome. Remember to convince yourself and add as much belief as possible without unnecessary stress being placed upon yourself.

When you have built up and developed the numbness, move on to the next step.

Step Three: Now test your anaesthesia if you wish to. Test it with the same pinch you use earlier and see how much of a difference you have created.

Congratulate yourself before moving on.

Step Four: Tell yourself that each time you practice this, your responses become more and more noticeable and developed better and better. Each time you practice, it is easier and more profound. Tell yourself that the numbness occurs more readily.

Tell yourself that you are making fabulous progress. Then move on to the next step.

Step Five: Start to put the feeling and sensation back into your arm. Imagine it warming, imagine the correct colour of it, give yourself suggestions and instructions that it returns to it’s usual way of being and that it is healthy and at ease, functioning well.

You might flex it or wave it and put it all back into place and associate with all the right feelings in it. Tell yourself that this continues to develop and occur after the session is completed.

For people wishing to use the anaesthesia for actual surgery, dentistry or for some reason, then you may want to give yourself a time limit for the anaesthesia to continue occurring. Let it be effective for the duration of the procedure.

You may then also give yourself suggestions for improved and enhanced healing and development after the procedure. I would not advise using this process here without some professional guidance and tuition though if you are planning on using it for surgery or in a medical capacity. A simplified article is not the best preparation for such.

Step Six: Bring yourself out of hypnosis, counting and opening your eyes if they were closed.

I think you’ll be surprised by how much you can really do this and develop it. I hope you enjoy it and get to marvel at what you can do, and that you also do this safely and carefully.

Adam Eason, author of “The Science of Self-Hypnosis: The Evidence-Based Way to Hypnotise Yourself.”


Adam Eason

Adam has been a professional full-time hypnotherapist since 1997 and in that time has seen over 6000 individual clients. He is author of 5 books on the subject including a self-hypnosis bestseller 'The Science of Self-Hypnosis: The Evidence-Based Way to Hypnotise Yourself' and his highly rated 'Hypnosis for Running' where he shares his passions of hypnosis and running (he has been running several marathons a year since 2000). His work has featured on primetime BBC1, ITV and on national radio as well as in a wide variety of other media forms. He is the principal of one of the UK's most highly regarded hypnotherapy training schools. Adam has a very strong background in evidence-based approaches to hypnotherapy, a subject matter that tends to be shrouded in myth and misconception, and he champions the scientific approach within his work which has seen him work in hospitals (applying hypnosis for anaesthesia, with post-operative pain sufferers and with issues related to illness) and with dentists (including tooth extraction without anaesthesia, and for overcoming fears). Adam's qualifications include Bsc (Hons), Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy in 1996, Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist in 2001, Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma (adhering to national occupational standards), in 2004.

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