Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hypnotherapy Calms Steve's Breathing and Brings Better Sleep

As a resident physician at the University of Washington, I received basic training in the techniques of hypnotherapy. I went on for more training in this area, and have practiced it intermittently with my patients - as an adjunct to smoking cessation, weight loss, and other significant challenges.

Steve has struggled with poor sleep for years, and medications to help have been met with variable results. Medications which leave him "drugged" or "groggy" don't seem to do him any favors - and we are mindful of  adding anything to his already full pharmaceutical menu.

With the recent respiratory infection Steve encountered, he experienced full-blown wheezing. Even after his hospitalization - and the pulmonary treatments - and the steroids - and the antbiotics, his breathing sounded like a creaky, poorly-oiled machine. As an asthmatic, I understand intimately the discomfort of constricted breathing. It takes so much effort to pull in and force out each wheezy breath.

So, I tried a hypotherapy technique to get Steve to sleep and ease his breathing. It went something like this:

"Steve, as I count down from 5 to 1, you will experience a deepening of relaxation. As you envision a place in the world that is particularly restful to you, I invite you to focus further on your breathing.

Notice that it is becoming more easy - almost effortless - as cool, clear air moves easily in and out. Your breathing slows as you realize that your breathing tubes are opening ever-so-gently to allow for easier entry of life-giving oxygen. Your body deepens further into relaxation.

Take a moment to receive any message, to take care of any matter you need to before you drift easily into sleep"

---------"I love you, Linda Jo," Steve whispered.

"Excellent. Now slowly, gently drift to sleep through the night without waking. Wake in the morning, relaxed, refreshed, and restored."

Steve drifted off and slept soundly through the night: no coughing, no request to be turned. It was a quiet night in spite of its uncomfortable beginning.

Take care,
Linda Gromko, MD

1 comment:

  1. Very cool! I may have to try that on my hubby to help with his restless sleepless nights. (if I can do it without giggling!)