One of John’s known specialism’s is the strange condition known as phantom limb pain. Early in his career he worked successfully with a tradesman who jumped off a building and broke his ankle. Unfortunately the resetting of the bones post break was not a success and despite many operations and lots of physiotherapy the client remained in intense pain, so bad he eventually opted for amputation of his foot. Life can be terribly cruel and you can imagine the client’s abject disappointment when amputation resulted in phantom pain just as bad as the initial pain. John used hypnosis and simulated massage of the missing foot and suggestion therapy for reunification of the energy connection between his remaining limb and the missing foot. Satisfactory progress was made and he was eventually pain free. As a bonus the client who maybe understandably, had been resorting to alcohol (rather too much) to deal with the pain, eventually modified his excessive drinking. His family were mightily relieved to have a semblance of order back in their lives. This intervention was written up and published in a very early edition of the NCH Journal (circa 2001/2).
Through this work John’s interest in the mind body connection was aroused and he continued working and training in pain control with the likes of Ron Eslinger. Ron is a very gentle soul. A former Captain, U.S. Navy he was Chief Nurse Anaesthetist and Assistant Department Head for Administration at the Naval Medical centre in Portsmouth VA, USA. He is now a leading authority on using hypnosis for pain management and anaesthesia on both sides of the Atlantic.
One useful tip John received from Ron was after the initial induction process the therapist and client should ban the the word pain from their session instead focusing on comfort/discomfort levels. The word pain is so hypnotically powerful it carries it’s very own self suggestion merely by mentioning it and so if possible it should be avoided when working with clients.
As John continued to work with various clients for pain issues and sometimes not only with pain, but temporarily paralysis through nerve damage, he was drawn to the work of the early hypnotists such as Mesmer and Charcot who often received outstanding results by the use of passes (moving their hands in sweeping movements close to the clients body but not actually touching the client). He became fascinated by certain aspects of chronic pain work with clients. The human body has various sensory systems and quite apart from the obvious senses such as sight, taste, hearing and touch sensations. There are subtle refinements within each sensory system. It is within the touch sensation that John’s current work is based. We will return to this later, but we now need to explain how quite by happenstance hypno-touch evolved.
A long time chronic pain sufferer himself thank to an old whiplash injury John uses chiropractic, massage and of course self hypnosis to help with the neck pain he suffers daily. It was whilst visiting a very talented massage therapist he happened to discuss the mind or emotional side of the mind/body connection and discovered many clients with depression and anxiety received great healing through massage alone without any recourse to hypnosis or traditional psychotherapy. Naturally he became interested in touch and massage as a healing modality. He embarked on a training in light or feather light touch massage. He started using light touch techniques on the hands, especially the fingers and in addition the foreheads in combination with hypnosis for his chronic pain clients. To his delight the progress and feedback from his chronic clients all improved. In other areas of his work the hyno-touch method gave dramatic results. One female client for instance had a real thing about anyone coming near her neck. She was unable to wear jewellery , neck scarves or high fitting or restrictive collars. This all stemmed from being physically attacked many years ago and held down by her assailant pressing on her neck. With patience and a combination of gentle Mesmer like passes around her neck then eventually light touch technique, her nociceptors were reprogrammed and re-educated by repetitive and safe touch to tolerate jewellery, scarves and eventually gentle human touch around her neck by her boyfriend and family without her going in to meltdown.
The nociceptors (nocer latin for injure or hurt) are very interesting. These loose nerve endings communicate pain and discomfort to a special part of the brain. They are found on the surface of the skin, within the muscles, joints and viscera (internal organs such as intestines and liver etc). One scientifically hot and contentious topic being batted about between the established medical authorities and massage therapists, Rolfers and chiropractors is the importance of the fascia in inflamation. The complementary and alternative lobby make lavish claims for its importance in healing and the conservatives say there is little of anything to get excited about in fascia studies (so far). It’s a sort of move along , nothing to see here stance. John does not involve himself in such debates here. However he is currently training with the highly respected massage therapist/trainer and author Maureen Abson and will soon qualify in Fusion massage which majors in fascia work. We do do know about fascia (that apparently uninteresting white stuff covers our internal organs and muscles at various depths and locations in the body. It acts as a tough cling film like white substance you occasionally see on bones in the butcher shop window. It holds organs and muscular structure in place is is that is innervated. Those nerves mean that this is a substance that has connections all through the human body and can be communicated with at some level through hypo-touch techniques. What these exact changes occurring in fascial bodywork are as we say subject to a great deal of speculation. We can only speculate as in the scarf girl example given above that facia has some kind of body memory that can be communicated with in hypno-touch techniques. On the other hand we are equally open to other explanations of her healing. We really only care that she got better and her fear of neck restriction dissipated to manageable proportions.
Later on this year in July we are to host some traditional healers from New Zealand in our training centre. They will be teaching Romiromi.
Romiromi is one of the oldest forms of traditional Maori Healing. Variations are apparent in different regions.
In this traditional Maori healing generational blockages are important aspects of the work; they can be held in the DNA and continue down through generations causing dysfunction and disease until acknowledged and released: Our ancestors are our link and support in this area of work.
Apparently from the past we move to the present. Often people carry ‘energies’ not belonging to them, usually held in the upper back region. When the body has ‘freedom’ and is clear of other people’s ‘stuff’, a person is in a better position to manifest their true potential and optimum health. Rae and John eagerly await this training.
All the trainings we do have one purpose to add to our healing portfolio. Hypno-touch is just one professional advance on our route.
As well as helping phantom limb pain sufferers John also carries out a lot of post stroke rehabilitation work and we are grateful to one of our clients for agreeing to share this educational video of the help hypnotherapy can offer in this field. Margaret our client has great difficulty mobilising her left arm above waist level post stroke. She is seen in the video in trance demonstrating a dramatic range and angle of movement for the injured arm. For the record John has enlisted the suggestion that Margaret’s own internal physio is working with her to regain the movement. Due to the danger of muscle atrophy from the restricted movement post stroke using her hypnotherapy assisted range of movement is assisting in the recovery of the restricted arm.
John is a firm believer in the holistic approach to recovery and will employ the concept of interventions at mind, body and sprit at every opportunity.
So we hope you have enjoyed this discussion on hypno-touch and until next time stay loose and relaxed.