PARIS – A professional singer said she sang through a throat surgery carried out under hypnosis in France to ensure that doctors did not harm her vocal cords.
Alama Kante, 31, who is from Guinea and specializes in traditional African songs, revealed the operation more than two months after it took place in April, saying earlier this week she was now fully healed.
“I remember (during surgery) this voice singing all the time, my voice going around in my head because I said to myself it is out of the question that I lose my voice,” said Kante, who lives in France and is the niece of Guinean singer Mory Kante.
The procedure to remove her thyroid gland, whose cells had become enlarged and was thus a cancer risk, was unorthodox. The operation is usually conducted under anesthetic, with a tube inserted down the throat.
Recognizing that the tumor extraction might truncate Kante’s singing range and that the tube might damage vocal cords and important nerves, Dr. Gilles Dhonneur opted for medical hypnosis to allow the patient to remain awake and able to respond during the procedure.
Dhonneur, head of anesthesiology at the Henri-Mondor de Cretail Hospital outside Paris, has been perfecting the technique of medical hypnosis for two years. “The pain of such an operation is unbearable if you’re conscious,” Dhonneur told Le Parisian daily. “Only medical hypnosis would allow someone to tolerate such an ordeal.”
Kante remembers the hypnotist telling her that the pain she felt was that of childbirth, and remembers the song lyrics she sang to help control it: “Fight, never give up . . .”
“There was a moment where I really felt pain . . . and it passed, the pain passed and afterwards it was normal, as if I were in a dream,” said Kante.
Hypnobirthing proved such a big success for one mother she decided to become a instructor.
Emma-Jane Cunningham, from Northampton, is a mum to three children; James, seven, Thomas, four, and Benjamin, two.
She used the hypnobirthing method for her third son’s delivery and claims it made a huge difference and was ‘relaxing’.
Emma says the experience was ‘truly life changing’ so she decided she wanted to make other women’s labours as free from pain and stress-free as possible.
On her website, www.beautiful beginning.co.uk, she states: “Hypnobirthing with Beautiful Beginning is a complete antenatal education programme, a fresh and modern approach to teach yourself and your birthing partner the specialised skills of self-hypnosis, relaxation, breathing, imagery and soothing stroke techniques (alongside the theory!), for a calm and more comfortable pregnancy, labour and birth and yes a pain-free labour and birth is possible!
“A lot of people still have the pre-conception that hypnobirthing is just for natural births but the classes I teach are just as much for a calm and relaxed pregnancy as it is for labour and birth. Therefore, which ever path your birthing experience takes, you will be able to put the techniques you have learnt into practice.
“By attending my classes and with continued practice in your own time your mind, body, partner and baby will all be very well prepared for your imminent birth.”
Expectant mums can start taking the hypnobirthing course from 20 weeks into their pregnancy.
They, along with their partners, attend four sessions each of which lasts about one hour.
Emma explained hypnobirthing was first used in the 1960s but in the last decade has become more and more popular, especially in America.
She explained one of the worst things about giving birth was women thinking it was going to be painful and would hurt.
She said this feeling caused the body to tense, the muscles to not relax and for the expectant mother to hit what she described as ‘panic mode’.
Emma feels using hypnobirthing makes the experience more comfortable, relaxing and something they would remember with joy.
She said: “All my three babies were born at home in a birth pool.
“You get taught how to be in control, to be deeply relaxed and to breathe.
“The message we want the ladies to take on board is to think they are at a holiday cottage by the seas and are looking out on a cove of confidence.
“We want all their fears and anxieties to go away in a pool of confidence.
“We want them to feel calm and be happy.
“Why should the uterus become tense when it should be relaxed as its one main aim was to help give birth,
“When I used the hypnobirthing tapes they made a huge difference.
“What the sessions do is teach them to breathe properly during labour and to take away the fear they could have about any pain.
“We do not want to have them hitting the panic mode which then causes them to panic and lose control.
“I tried the hypnobirthing tapes during my second pregnancy but did not do it correctly.
“When I did use it properly it made a huge difference.”
Gastric Banding article in the Irish Times
Alan Gilchrist has been practising hypnotherapy in Belfast for almost three decades. Since then, he has seen it all, and helped people with everything from Troubles-related trauma to phobias about false teeth and spiders.
Five or six years ago he started getting requests for a new form of treatment: the virtual gastric band. Instead of opting for the real thing – a drastic form of surgery for weight loss, in which a silicone strap is clamped around the top of the stomach, reducing the amount of food the patient can eat – you could bypass the cost, the pain and the risk by persuading yourself, under hypnosis, that you have actually had the operation.
“It’s simple really,” says Gilchrist. “You trick the mind into thinking it can’t eat a big meal.” Now it is one of his most requested procedures, and, according to Gilchrist, it can be done in one 30-minute session.
Confident, personable and tanned from his frequent work trips abroad, Gilchrist likes things to happen fast.
“When I started, I worked in the area of analytical hypnotherapy, regressing back to childhood,” he says, “but then I developed my own techniques, focusing on people’s current problems. That’s where my fast-track hypnosis comes from: people want to get over their problem as fast as they can and get on with their lives.”
Depending on the nature of their difficulty and how deeply embedded it is, patients usually attend between one and four sessions with Gilchrist.
On the couch
A large black leather couch, low to the ground, dominates his clinic. His voice is soothing and reassuring. It is not hard to imagine being lulled into a profound state of relaxation, a pleasant dream state in which the mind becomes open, porous and susceptible to change.
It is one thing though to alter bad habits, such as smoking or nail-biting, by implanting positive suggestions in the unconscious, but I’m struggling with the idea of fooling your body into believing – quite literally, at a gut level – something radically false about itself. It seems almost too good to be true: a fast and easy solution to obesity with none of the risks.
Clinics across Ireland offer similar treatments, and there are numerous self-help versions of the “virtual band” hypnotic process.
Davina Taylor, from Co Wicklow, is a believer. “I have always struggled with my weight, so when my sister suggested hypnotherapy, I thought I’d try it. Afterwards, I did something that’s never happened before: I went to get some chocolate from the kitchen and came out with a bowl of chopped fruit instead.
“At work, I have a drawer full of goodies in my desk, but I found I didn’t want to take anything from it. It motivated me to exercise more, too. After three weeks, I’d lost 9lb.”
Did she believe she had actually undergone the operation? “No, I didn’t think of it like that. It was a physical thing. It was like your mind telling you that you didn’t need all that food.”
However, Taylor found that the effects of the treatment wore off with time. “I think for it to work, you would really need weekly top-ups, but I have no doubt that if I had stuck to it, I’d be a size eight today.”
Paul Hughes, a hypnotherapist in the south of England, argues that quick-fix techniques do not get to the bottom of a person’s relationship with food, therefore cannot be expected to solve the real problem.
“People get overweight for a reason, and it’s largely because they are emotionally dependent on food,” he says. “Weight loss takes effort on the part of the client, and the virtual band removes that responsibility. People need to find out why they allowed themselves to get into that state.”
Gilchrist measures his own success in testimonials. The walls of his waiting room are filled with handwritten hymns of praise from former clients, stories of the kilograms dropping off, week by week.
However, as he points out, while many prospective clients come in asking for the virtual band procedure, the vast majority opt for his standard weight- control programme, which uses visualisation techniques to promote a healthier approach to fitness and vitality, and implants the idea that low-calorie foods are more appealing.
Whether your gastric band is real or imaginary, it seems there is no answer to weight loss that does not involve effort and willpower. The mind may be powerfully suggestible under hypnosis, but it’s still up to you to do the work.
Hypnosis to help sleep
THURSDAY, June 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A short session of hypnosis might lead to a better night’s sleep, says a team of Swiss researchers.
After listening to a sleep-promoting audio tape containing hypnotic suggestion, women who are suggestible to hypnosis spent two-thirds less time awake, and about 80 percent more time in deep sleep compared to those who slept without the hypnotic suggestion.
“There have been many reports that hypnosis can be a good thing for promoting sleep,” said study co-author Bjorn Rasch, a professor with the department of psychology in the division of biopsychology and methods at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.
“However, usually they’ve been based on people just subjectively indicating how well they feel they’ve slept as a result,” Rasch noted.
The new study is the first to assess via measures of brain-wave activity “the positive impact hypnosis has on deep sleep and to show that it is, in fact, real,” he said.
At issue is the desire to boost so-called deep sleep, also known as slow-wave sleep.
This type of sleep “often correlates with the most restorative sleep — it’s a time for your brain to process and rejuvenate from the challenges of the day,” explained Dr. Kim Hutchison, assistant professor of neurology and sleep medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.
“Over the course of people’s lives, with age, the amount of deep sleep drops off significantly. And by the time you’re 50 or 60 you hardly have any, depending on the person,” said Hutchison, who was not involved in the new research. “With age, non-refreshing sleep becomes a very common complaint, and one of the reasons can be not getting enough slow-wave sleep.”
To explore how hypnotic suggestion might help improve deep sleep, the Swiss team enlisted 70 healthy Swiss women aged 18 to 35. All participated in a series of five in-laboratory experiments, successively staged once a week for five weeks.
None of the participants had any history of sleep trouble. None were taking any kind of sleep medication. Some of the women, however, were deemed (in pre-study testing) to be “highly suggestible” to hypnosis, while others were categorized as “low suggestible” patients.
For each experiment, the women were outfitted with electrodes to monitor brain-wave activity and sleep patterns.
While lying in a bed with the lights off, the women were exposed to varying audio tapes of about 13 minutes in length. Some provided a hypnotic suggestion to sleep deeper, while others were designed to be neutral in content.
The women were allowed to fall asleep during or after the audio feeds, and all were woken up after they had spent a total of 90 minutes napping.
Hypnosis did not improve sleep in those deemed low-suggestible to hypnosis, the study found. However, women in the highly suggestible group slept 67 percent more and saw their “deep sleep” time rise by roughly 80 percent following exposure to audio hypnosis.
Other phases of sleep did not appear to be affected by hypnotic suggestion. However, the team further observed that slow-wave activity during the deep sleep phase was “significantly enhanced” following hypnosis. This suggests that not only does hypnosis boost deep sleep quantity, it may also improve deep sleep quality.
The team acknowledged that the study only included female participants. This was by design because men have a tendency to be less suggestible to hypnosis overall. However, men who are highly suggestible would probably derive similar sleep benefits from hypnosis, Rasch’s team said.
And given that roughly half the general population is believed to be moderately suggestible to hypnosis, the team concluded that hypnosis could ultimately prove to be a very useful — and side-effect free — way to help improve sleep.
“I have to emphasize that we did not focus on sleep-disorder patients,” said Rasch. “These were all healthy people. So while our findings are really promising, we do not yet have proof that hypnosis will help people who suffer from sleep disturbances. I would say it would. But it’s not yet proven,” he added.
“Also, although the impact of hypnosis on suggestible people was really clear and, I would say, amazing, I do not think that hypnosis would ever completely replace the need for sleep medication for those who need it,” Rasch said. “It could certainly reduce the need. But I don’t expect miracles from hypnosis. It’s a technique to consider. But in really strong cases of sleep disturbance a medical intervention might be necessary.”
Hutchison believes hypnosis can play a role in helping some people sleep better.
“I have found hypnosis can be helpful, even for non-susceptible patients,” she said. “Because it gives them something to focus on, and helps them to relax and quiet their mind before sleeping.”
Hutchison added that “there’s anecdotal evidence that the relaxation achieved can help improve sleep quality. In fact, I have been recommending sleep hypnosis phone apps for about the past five years.”
Findings from the study were published this month in the journal Sleep.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/health/topics/HealthDay688758_20140619_Hypnosis_May_Help_Improve_Deep_Sleep.html#3JJLHi3WQg1arZ4s.99
Children born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy have smaller brains and are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, according to research just published.
The findings published by Neuropsychopharmacology magazine last night in New York and London, followed research into more than 200 six to eight-year-old Dutch children.
The study found that tobacco affects the development of the foetus’s nervous system, partly because it interferes with the growth of neurons and partly because smoking narrows the blood vessels of the foetus.
Half of the mothers selected for the research smoked and half did not but the brains of the children of those who continued smoking were significantly smaller up to eight years later.
Equally, they showed greater levels of anxiety and depression because their brains’ superior frontal cortex, which regulates mood swings, had developed more poorly.
The study did “not demonstrate” a clear link between the number of cigarettes smoked, which varied from between just one a day to more than nine, but the length of time a mother continued to smoke was critical. Seventeen smokers quit when told that they were pregnant, though the research found that children were unaffected by their mothers’ habits if they quit early enough.
“Importantly, brain development in offspring of mothers who quit smoking during pregnancy resembled that of [mothers who never smoked] with no smaller brain volumes and no thinning of the cortex,” said the research led by Hanan El Marroun at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University Medical Centre.
The children selected for the research in September 2009 were subjected to MRI scans: “Children exposed to tobacco throughout pregnancy have smaller total brain volumes and smaller cortical grey matter volumes.
“Continued prenatal tobacco exposure was associated with cortical thinning, primarily in the superior frontal, superior parietal and precentral cortices. These children also demonstrated increased scores of affective problems,” according to the findings.
Responding to the research, Dr Simon Newell of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in London said: “What was striking about this study was the alarming effect smoking had on the brain over six years later.”
Mothers-to-be should not smoke at all during pregnancy, he said.
Tue, Oct 8, 2013, 01:00
First published: Tue, Oct 8, 2013, 01:00