Around 10 years ago I fractured my ankle. I was very fortunate to have already qualified as a hypnotherapist when this incident happened because it came in helpful many times throughout the process of my recovery.
Firstly, when I was taken to the hospital to have the injury set into plaster. The doctor explained that he would need to move the foot back into the correct position to give the bone the best chance of re-aligning and healing correctly. It would then be plastered into that position. He explained that this would be very painful and told me he would prepare a morphine injection.
I asked him not to. Not because I wanted to see if I could use self-hypnosis to manage or even totally block the pain, but because I am allergic to morphine. He explained that the only other option was to give me some Neurofen. I told him not to bother with the neurofen and that I’d use the hypnosis instead. I did it and whilst I’d have to say that there were moments where I thought “Awww” I re-focused and was almost having an out-of-body experience as they plastered me up.
My next visit to the hospital was to see how things were healing. I met a different doctor there, who hadn’t fully grasped the power of suggestion. You see, doctors are classed somewhat as Gods in white coats. They are perceived to be more knowing than the rest of us and we have this unconscious acceptance that our fate is in their hands. This is why it is so very important for them to be conscious of what they say and the impact it will have.
The doctor I met took a look at my x-rays. I was keen to know whether I would be healed within the next 6 weeks because in 7 weeks I was due to start an NLP Practitioner training! I’d read that the healing time would likely be 6-8 weeks and I was hoping to meet the 6-week mark.
The doctor responded by telling me that the fracture was very bad. He said there was every chance I would need an operation to put pins in to support the bone. He told me that even if it was healed in 6 weeks, there was a possibility I’d put my weight on it and it would break again straight away. He told me that there was a change the ankle would look deformed and that I’d never be able to wear high heels again.
I was at first shocked, then I was angry. How dare he dictate my healing process to me! It made me frightened for the little old lady I’d seen sitting in the waiting room with her wrist in plaster. What suggestions was he going to give her about her recovery? I was lucky that I had Bupa cover in place so that I was able to see a doctor there instead.
The next doctor told me I would be healed in good time. He told me to put weight on it right away to help the bones fuse back together. He told me I would be fine. With my new optimism, I went home to play Tetris and practice self-hypnosis with suggestions for healing. Why Tetris? Because the game is about fitting shapes together. I wanted to hypnotise my mind into fitting the bones back together as quickly as possible.
Seven weeks later the plaster came off without a hitch.
Of course, hypnosis can help your body to heal, but my point is to look at the other forms of hypnosis that are going on around you. The suggestions you accept from well-wishers, the things you can do to promote a positive attitude and even the games you can play to give your mind the programming it needs to be able to put you into a healing state.
By Gemma Bailey