Ease Chemotherapy Side-Effects with Hypnosis
Ease Chemotherapy Side-Effects
As if the diagnosis of cancer wasn't tough enough to deal with, the treatment itself is hell. Chemotherapy comes with a huge list of side-effects:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Hair loss
- Increased risk of infection
- Bruising and bleeding
- Loss of appetite
- Dry and sore skin
- Brittle nails
- Short term memory loss
- Loss of sex drive
There are so many chemotherapy side-effects that it may seem that the treatment is worse than the disease.
What the NHS has to say
"In some circumstances, you may think that the benefits of chemotherapy are not worth the poor quality of life due to the side effects of treatment" suggests the NHS.
It's a dire situation where the disease will kill you but the cure will make you want to die. Are you wondering if anything can be done to make your cancer treatment more bearable?
If you are reading this you probably have that expectation and I have some good news. Read on, because I have something that may help you.
But be mindful that I say may help. People are individuals and there is no magic bullet that fixes everyone. But, if what I have to offer helps even a few people to be more comfortable and at ease with their chemotherapy, and more hopeful about the long-term outcome, then, I am sure you would agree, it should be offered and its value recognised.
Before you read on though, consider for a moment what it would be worth to you to ease your chemotherapy side-effects even a little. Just to, perhaps, take the edge off the nausea; maybe give you a little more energy, maybe even lift your spirits a little to the point where you see yourself well and whole and healthy again.
Then consider the value to you if that anticipatory nausea and vomiting were removed completely so that you could go for treatment without that burden hanging over you each time your appointment is scheduled.
Spend a few moments thinking about these things and how much better your quality of life might be. If this could be achieved and all you would have to do is listen to a 40 minute recording once or twice a day - would you do it?
Evidence that Hypnosis works
If you are still interested then read on and I'll share with you some of the research that supports this approach to easing your suffering and alleviating the side-effects from your chemotherapy treatment.
Hypnosis, and guided imagery, have been used to help with the treatment of cancer since oncologist O. Carl Simonton M.D. had highly significant success with this approach in the 1970's. You can read all about this in his best-selling book Getting Well Again.
Unfortunately there is not a lot of research into using hypnosis for cancer treatment. The reason for this is that hypnotherapists tend to work for themselves and don't have the tens of thousands of dollars that they would need to conduct clinical trials. Drug companies, who fund the vast majority of clinical trials have no interest in promoting hypnosis because it is in direct competition with what they want to sell. So the only places left to run trials are universities and these trials, therefore, tend to be small with low budgets.
The interesting thing is, that despite the lack of funding, what clinical trials there are show hypnosis in a very positive light in regard to helping improve the quality of life in patients undergoing treatment for cancer.
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society says that hypnosis "may help to improve quality of life for some people with cancer."
Cancer suggests a compromised immune system. Under normal conditions cancer cells are destroyed by our immune systems as and when they appear. But when we suffer, through no fault of our own, from stress and the pressures of modern life then the immune system suffers and cancer can get a foot hold.
The good news is that a report by the National Institutes for Health suggests that "hypnosis may also enhance the immune system." And that "hypnosis raised the levels of immunoglobulin (an important part of the immune system)".
With a supercharged immune system the body then starts to assist in the healing process.
And still on the subject of hypnosis and the immune system the American Cancer Society states "another study found that self-hypnosis led to an increase in white blood cell activity" You can see that there is clear evidence that the use of hypnosis can enhance the body's immune system. This is strongly suggestive that hypnosis may not only support, but enhance, whatever medical treatment you are undergoing to heal the cancer.
Cancer Research UK
The Cancer Research UK website is another expert source of information with positive support of hypnotherapy to help relieve the suffering that often accompanies treatments like chemotherapy. They say that "one of the main reasons people with cancer use hypnotherapy is to help them relax and cope better with symptoms and treatment. Hypnotherapy can help people to feel more comfortable and in control of their situation."
They also mention that "people with cancer most often use hypnotherapy for sickness or pain. There is some evidence that hypnotherapy helps with these symptoms"
One of the most uncomfortable side-effects of chemotherapy is nausea and vomiting. There are two aspects to this - anticipatory nausea and nausea that occurs after the administration of the drug treatment. The anticipatory nausea is a learned response that is triggered by associations with the treatment and also the expectation of nausea and vomiting simply because it has been previously experienced. Studies have been conducted with children undergoing cancer treatment and Cancer Research UK reports that "overall, the studies did show that hypnotherapy might be able to help with chemotherapy sickness in children."
You can see clearly that there is evidence from clinical trials that hypnosis has helped to improve the health of the immune system and ease the suffering of others undergoing treatment for cancer - so it might be able to help you to feel a little bit better too.
Improved quality of life
I'm not talking about cancer cures here - we'll leave that to the medics for now - what I'm talking about is improving quality of life so that the treatment and the healing is not such an uncomfortable journey for you. You remember that NHS quote at the beginning of this report. Some people would rather die of the disease than undergo the treatment. Hypnosis, and what I'm offering you, may just mean that the treatment becomes easier and that you can look forward to a happier and healthier future enjoying life with your family and friends with the cancer just a distant healed memory.
Even more evidence that hypnosis works
But that's not all. If you need a little more medical evidence then here it is. There was a study of 20 patients conducted by Dr Rumi Peynovska, Dr Jackie Fisher et al titled Efficacy Of Hypnotherapy as a Supplement Therapy in Cancer Intervention. In other words it was looking at the benefits of using hypnosis to support conventional cancer treatments.
Here are some of the findings from this study.
"Most of the patients (19 out of 20) reported that after the first two hypnotherapy sessions they were able to relax for the first time in a very long period, felt less tired and more energetic, had more refreshing night sleep and as a result were able to cope better with their daily activities"
"19 out of 20 patients reported improvement in their anxiety status,"
"The present study represents a small number of patients who managed to benefit in the short term from the use of hypnosis in alleviating a panoply of symptoms associated with cancer illness. Despite the limitations of the small number of patients and the short term follow up, the findings suggest that hypnotherapy is a valuable tool when it comes to enhancing the coping mechanisms of cancer patients" (my italics).
After the third hypnosis session "12 patients reported some benefit and 8 patients had good benefit." So everyone in this study received some positive gains and improved quality of life by using hypnotherapy alongside their more conventional cancer treatments.
Huge benefits and no down-side
You can see now that there is clearly a huge benefit to be gained by supplementing chemotherapy with hypnosis on a regular basis. The report mentioned above also demonstrated that the benefits of hypnosis were more noticeable the more treatments that were received. Consequently, with a recorded session, you can listen to it as often as you like and reap the benefits appropriately.
Why would you even think about not trying it?
"More and more patients are using hypnotherapy to control their pain and anxiety and several studies actually suggest the superiority of hypnosis to acupuncture, massage or cognitive behaviour psychotherapy when used as nonpharmacological pain relief strategies (SM. Sellick, 1998), (C. Liossi, P.Hatira, 1999)"
You may not hear it from your oncologist, but the evidence is out there. Just from the research that I've quoted above you can see that hypnosis helps.
Summary of the evidence
- Reduce anxiety about treatment
- Reduce or remove anticipatory nausea
- Alleviate symptoms
- Enhance coping mechanisms
- Control pain
- Enhance immune system responses
Evidence that hypnosis has a big impact in the treatment of Chemo side-effects
And one final bit of research to support the idea that hypnosis helps reduce the nausea associated with chemotherapy. This is from a meta-analysis and the research was conducted by J Richardson PhD from Plymouth University et al. A meta-analysis is where a statistical study is conducted on a large number of other studies. This method produces much more accurate and reliable evidence because it pulls together a large number of small studies that, because of the low number of participants in each, do not carry much weight by themselves and so are often ignored by the medical establishment.
J Richardson's conclusion was that the "meta-analysis revealed a large effect size of hypnotic treatment when compared with treatment as usual".
In other words hypnosis has a big impact when it is used in addition to conventional treatments for cancer.
How do I get this help?
Because of this, and because it is not always easy to find someone who has been trained in the techniques of using hypnosis with guided imagery - specifically for the support of conventional cancer treatment - I have created something to help you. You can download it and be listening to it in a few minutes. There is no risk and if you don't like it I'll give you your money back, so if you want to try it out and possibly ease the suffering you are experiencing, or expecting to experience, with your chemotherapy then click the link immediately below.