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Hypnotism for pain, anyone try it ??

Posted by BrianG on 8/26/03 at 18:33 (128092)

After so many years of chronic, unrelenting pain, I'm now wondering if it's possible to break this pain cycle with hypnotism. Today, WebMD published an article saying that hypnotism was not a big factor in pain contol. I have cut and pasted the article below. On the other hand, the Boston area has 'The Mad Russian' (Yefim Shubentsov). For $65 you can attend a two hour session, where The Mad Russian does his thing. He does not call it hypnotism, but I have to believe it's close. He has helped many thousands quit smoking (I personlly know 2 of them). He also helps with weight control, and chronic pain. For an interesting article about him, go to: http://www.epinions.com/content_2594676868
I may just have to check out this Mad Russian :)


Cut and posted from WebMD:

Hypnosis Fails to Aid Pain-Relief Tricks
Adding Hypnosis to Standard Techniques Doesn't Add to Pain Relief
By Jennifer Warner 
Reviewed By Brunilda  Nazario, MD
on Wednesday, August 13, 2003
WebMD Medical News
Aug. 13, 2003 -- Teaching people to take their mind off pain by relaxing and visualizing a serene setting can provide powerful pain relief. But a new study shows adding hypnosis to these traditional pain-relief strategies won't make them any more effective.
Researchers examined the effects of five different behavioral techniques for easing mild to moderate pain and found delivering the treatment under hypnosis failed to provide any additional pain-relief benefits.
The study, published in the current issue of Health Psychology, compared several relaxation and visualization strategies in reducing the pain of a finger prick, such as imagining a pain-protection glove, relaxing different muscle groups, visualizing a warm summer day, and reciting statements like 'I'll make the pain less severe when it comes.'
Hypnosis Doesn't Enhance Treatment
Researchers found that all treatments lessened the intensity of pain among the 285 participants, but those delivered under hypnosis were no better than the others in providing pain relief -- even among those participants who were highly suggestible to hypnosis.
The study also showed that the degree of pain relief provided by the treatments was linked to the participants' expectations. The more a person expected to benefit from the treatment, the greater the pain relief they experience was likely to be.
In addition, researchers found that shorter treatments were just as effective as longer ones requiring more time, which is a promising finding for people who must undergo painful testing or treatment and don't have a lot of time to prepare, such as burn victims.
More Research Needed
But researchers say the results of this study are limited because it looked at treatment of experimental pain delivered by a simulator, not real-life pain.
'Our results may generalize more readily to acute clinical pain that is mild to moderate in intensity (e.g. finger stick) and less readily to severe acute pain or to pain that is recurrent or chronic,' write researcher Leonard S. Milling of the University of Hartford and colleagues.
'Future research might usefully evaluate whether there are differences in the effectiveness of these hypnotic and nonhypnotic interventions in treating acute clinical pain,' they conclude.
SOURCES: Health Psychology, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2003. News release, Health Behavior News Service.
© 2003 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved

Re: Hypnotism for pain, anyone try it ??

marie on 8/26/03 at 20:19 (128108)

I took a graduate class that taught us how to use self hypnosis to relieve stress. The idea originally was that teachers would teach students how to do this to help them with pre-testing jitters and other stresses. Unfortunately after the first lawsuit it was shelved. We're not allowed to hypnatize kids. I have many times used this technique to relax myself. It does work but you have to be diligent about it....as with anything else. All I know is that I actually looked forward to going to a class because I felt sooooo great afterwards. I could understand how it might help with pain since pain really messes up brain function. I don't know that it would totally relieve it but maybe it would relieve the anxiety that goes along with chronic pain.

The name of the course was Educational Stress Factors/Dealing with Difficult Personalities, as best as I can remember that was the name, it was 14 years ago. I took the course at Bowling Green State Univ.

I would guess, and it's only a guess that the technique is similar.

I use this visualization.....

Darken the room, sit comfortably, and close your eyes.
When you breath take in air through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Breath slowly. Practice tensing up your body and slowly releasing each muscle starting at the top of your body and moving downward. You will need these skills prior to visualization.

I visualize that I am laying on my back outside in the grass. I can feel the warm summer breeze across my face. I can hear the birds and I visualize the clouds in the sky floating by. I tense my body (this can be a specific body part that is bugging you). I envision that my body is filled with black oily liquid. I slowly release the liquid through my fingertips. Each time I exhale through my mouth I visualize the black fluid draining from my finger tips. As I imagine the fluid draining from each section of my body I relax that section of my body. Breathing in through my nose and out my mouth. When all of the black fluid is gone I tell myself that I feel really great today. I take one last long slow breath in through my nose and out my mouth counting to 5 inhaling and 5 exhaling.

I don't know if it would help anyone with pain but if you're feeling stressed it might just help you a bit.


Re: Hypnotism for pain, anyone try it ??

Sharon W on 8/26/03 at 21:01 (128112)


Yes, I have done this. I am not a particularly good subject for hypnotism but I have been doing self-hypnosis for many years, having started when I was about 17. So naturally I have tried using it for pain... It works to help relieve minor pain, as long as I keep reinforcing it.

Hypnosis works best on things that can simply be turned 'on' and 'off'. But it is NOT SAFE to try to use hypnosis to make yourself STOP feeling pain altogether -- because if you succeeded, it would be a disaster. Pain is an important warning signal of when something is going wrong, and we depend on it every day in many (usually small) ways to know when 'enough is enough' or to realize when we've touched something too hot, etc. You can't just turn someone's pain 'on' and 'off' the way a hypnoanesthesiologist might do temporarily during a medical procedure. Instead, you have to use other techniques that are designed to reduce the pain in specific problem areas or to reduce pain temporarily whenever a specific post-hypnotic suggestion is used. (There are certain hypnotic 'safeguard' suggestions that must be used, as well, to assure that you WILL still feel pain any time you touch a hot stove, etc...)

I don't know anything about this 'Mad Russian' but I would investigate him a bit first to find out what methods he uses. You do NOT want to go to the kind of hypnotist that is primarily a showman who uses his subjects as 'props' in his show.


Re: Hypnotism for pain, anyone try it ??

Dorothy on 8/27/03 at 01:45 (128124)

Thank you for the great description - they are good 'visuals.'

Re: Hypnotism for pain, anyone try it ??

BrianG on 8/27/03 at 08:34 (128132)

Hi Sharon,

I don't really think the Mad Russian is putting on any type of show, as I personally have 2 friends who went to him, courtesy of their wives. Both smoked, and neither thought this guy would help him. Both quit smoking that night, with very little effort (both were over 10 years ago). One had to go back about 6 months later, after he had a relapse while drinking in a bar one night. Once again, he was able to stop smoking easily.

What he does is not really understood by the medical community, he says it's not hypnotism. He calls it bio-energetics. I went to the search engine google, he has over a thousand hits !!! I know turning of all pain signals would be very bad, but what if he could just turn off the signals that have given me chronic pain for almost 10 years??? Would that be so bad??


Cut and Pasted from the web:

Weekend January 6/7, 2001
The Mad Russian
Yefim Shubentsov's isn't a doctor but claims his method of curing tobacco, alcohol and other addictions is 98 percent effective. And as we'll see, e keeps the secret in the palm of his hand.
He's called the mad russian, the poof doctor. With the wave of his hands and what sounds like a sneeze, this man called Yefim is said to be able to erase in just minutes the bad habits people have formed over a lifetime.
He says, 'I remove desire. I can erase in your mind whatever you want.'
In his thick Russian accent Yefim insists that in one three hour session in his Brookline, Massachusetts classroom will cure anyone of what ails them... overeating, smoking, phobias, even chronic pain.
And he does it all with words and his hands but those hands never actually touch you. Mary Sicord lost fifty pounds after a visit to Yefim. She says, 'He has this power to erase these particular foods that were a weakness for me.'
The healer helped chef Robin Holly quit smoking after forty years. She says, 'He sort of radiates an energy through his hands, almost like a magician.'
Yefim claims there's nothing mystical about his methods. He credits a science called bio-energetics. He says he's able to physically manipulate the invisible electric force field that surrounds every person's body. He says he even transforms the energy in the brain back to it's original form, the way it existed before a person, say, became addicted to cigarettes.
He tells us, 'I can feel it physically, so I give a more strong signal back.'
Even Harvard University has studied Yefim. Dr. Douglas Powell says 'He was being observed by some of our most skeptical medical and psychological staff.'
Powell says after six months of observation, Harvard couldn't explain how Yefim heals but they did answer the most important question. Does it work?
He says, 'I would say yes, it did work.'
If you would like more information on Yefim Shubentsov's treatment, contact Yefim Shubentsov, 1680A Beacon Street, Brookline, MA or call at (617) 232-3930.
We do not have a current email address.

Re: Hypnotism for pain, anyone try it ??

Sharon W on 8/27/03 at 09:16 (128135)


Well, it does sound wonderful (-- and it's your $65.00!) Probably this man knows his own limitations and hopefully he can relieve you of ONLY your PF pain without taking away anything else.

I'm sure quite a few of of us here on Heelspurs will be awaiting the results if you do decide to go see him -- and if you excitedly proclaim that your PF pain has FINALLY gone away and stayed away, this Yelfim guy may get more business from all over the world!


Re: Hypnotism for pain, anyone try it ??

john h on 8/27/03 at 09:38 (128136)

Over the years I have tried hypnotism and I could never be hypnotized. I saw a guy on TV who hypnotized himself and attempted to remove his own appendicits. After the first incision he almost passed out from the pain and the Doctors had to take over. I cannot fathom how hypnotism could cure a disease process but then what do I know. If a Monk can slow his heart down to just barely beating and lower his body temperature by using his mind then I guess there is no reason not to try it.

Re: Hypnotism for pain, anyone try it ??

john h on 8/27/03 at 10:26 (128144)

Brain many years ago there was a commedian named the Mad Russian. I wonder if this could be the same guy?

Re: Hypnotism for pain, anyone try it ??

R C on 8/27/03 at 15:28 (128170)

I've used self-hypnosis for several years to manage stress, and to treat insomnia. I think that it works pretty well in these two areas. I have two main techniques. (1) visualize the air coming into the lungs as being refreshment and rejuvenation, and the air going out being the tension and woories flushed away. (2) Focus your mind on one body part at a time, and get the muscles there to relax (after the limbs, work on jaw, brow, and back of the neck).

I have not used it for pain relief, however.

Re: Hypnotism for pain, anyone try it ??

Kathy G on 8/27/03 at 17:38 (128192)

About twenty-odd years ago, they attempted to teach me self-hypnosis in an effort to help me relax my tense muscles. They instructed me and gave me a tape. I tried; I really did; but it just didn't work for me.

When I mentioned it to a physician, he said, 'Yeah, I can just imagine. You probably kept saying, 'Can we speed up the tape?'

Guess he didn't think I was a good candidate.

Personally, I believe it's worth a try. Many people have had wonderful success with hypnosis.

Re: Hypnotism for pain, anyone try it ??

BrianG on 8/30/03 at 19:36 (128445)

Hi John,

I checked out the comedian, he's dead! Here is one more article on the man himself. I find it fascinating, especially since 2 of my friends were heavy smokers, who quit after 1 visit.


Cut and pasted:

This story was printed from FindArticles.com, located at http://www.findarticles.com .
Natural Health
March, 1999
Hocus-Pocus Healer.
Author/s: Betsy Block
This 'Mad Russian' claims to heal addictions with a wave of his hands. I went to his clinic to see why so many people are singing his praises.
YEFIM SHUBENTSOV has no fancy title, no special degree. But for most of the 16 people gathered inside his office on this chilly Wednesday afternoon in October, he is their last hope. They are all heavy smokers, drinkers, food addicts, or substance abusers, and they've made the trek to Brookline, Mass., to see if this man who claims to mysteriously cure addictions can help them, too.
They've come from places as far away as South Carolina, California, and even Columbia, South America, desperately seeking an end to their addictions. They have heard about Shubentsov from friends or the media. During almost two decades of treating people, he has never advertised. He doesn't have to--he has scores of former clients enthusiastically testifying to his power.
After a few moments, Shubentsov, the man some people call the Mad Russian, comes out to greet the group. One woman nervously asks him, 'Can we go outside to have one last cigarette before we do this?'
'No,' he replies firmly and walks away.
She should have had her final smoke before she came inside. Others obviously have--the ashtray on the sidewalk in front of the office is filled with cigarette butts, empty matchbooks, and a crumpled pack of Newports. But now it's too late--she is on Shubentsov's turf and he's in control.
Learning the Skill
Shubentsov, who made his living as a professional artist in his native Russia, became a healer when he learned that he could eliminate pain just by passing his hands over a person's body. It all began unexpectedly one afternoon in the mid-'70s when an acquaintance approached him on the street and said, 'You have a very strong energy field; I can feel it.'
The man handed him a card with an address handwritten on the back and said, 'Most people have this energy to some degree, but in them it's never tapped. Yours is already very well developed.' He invited Shubentsov to visit him at the address on the card, though he was very mysterious about what Shubentsov would find there. The man simply said, 'I promise you an interesting life.'
At first Shubentsov was skeptical and decided that he was not interested. But days later his curiosity got the better of him. When he arrived at the address he found a laboratory occupied by a group of scientists and lay people studying what they called 'biological energy'--a healing life-force that circulates within all living things, known to other cultures as qi, prana, or life energy. They were experimenting with transferring this energy from one person to another.
The researchers at the lab recognized Shubentsov's heightened energy field, and asked him to join the group so that they could help him develop his talent. He quickly learned to use his energy to heal diseased plants, sick animals, and eventually one of his own teachers, who was suffering from a terrible migraine headache. Within a few months he had become so respected as a healer that he was asked to work in a Moscow hospital. One extraordinary experience there changed his life.
There was a woman in the cardiology department, Shubentsov says, who was not responding to conventional treatments or medications. The doctors didn't know what else they could do for her and feared that she would soon die of heart failure. They asked Shubentsov to try and help her. She responded to his treatment.
'I saved her life,' he recalls. 'I went home and asked myself, 'How many people in the world are better artists than I am?´ Lots.
'How many people did I know personally who had saved somebody´s life?´ Not many.'
It was at that point two decades ago, Shubentsov abandoned art, immigrated to the United States, and made energy medicine his life's work. Since then, approximately 100,000 people have sought out his help. And they're still coming in droves--Shubentsov estimates that he treats 500 people every month.
One of Shubentsov's patients, Joe Russo, a 60-year-old businessman from Queens, New York, had been a 4-pack-a-day smoker for 50 years. He smoked in bed, in the shower, even right after a bypass operation nine years ago. He had tried to quit smoking using acupuncture, a nicotine patch, hypnosis, and even staples in his ears that were supposed to help him gain control of his uncontrollable urge to smoke, but nothing had worked--until he came to Shubentsov's seminar on March 7, 1998.
'He stopped me cold,' Russo says. 'I think he's a god.'
Russo is just one of the many people who claim Shubentsov has changed their lives. Shubentsov has a file drawer crammed with articles written about him and letters of thanks from people whom he has helped. Russo and his wife alone say they know at least two dozen people who have quit smoking thanks to Shubentsov. Today they are back in his waiting room to offer emotional support to a friend they've brought to Brookline to receive Shubentsov's cure.
Not Your Average Office Visit
It's clear from the many testimonials that he's helped people overcome their addictions. What's less clear is how. Unfortunately, no one seems to understand just what Shubentsov is doing to make the cravings disappear. Watch him and all you'll see is a man wriggling, flicking, and combing his fingers through the air in front of another person. He calls himself an eraser, capable of removing the mistakes in the energy fields that surround addicts. 'Physically, I transform energy,' he says. 'I correct it like it's supposed to be.'
Nearly 20 years ago, two senior members of Harvard Health Services, psychologist Douglas Powell, Ph.D, and psychiatrist Henry Babcock, M.D., sent 20 people--suffering from pain, addictions, and phobias--to Shubentsov to find out if he really could heal people. They found that he was, indeed, able to help each of them, to varying degrees. Just how he did it, however, remained a mystery.
'Many healers can't explain what they do,' says Eric Leskowitz, M.D., a psychiatrist in Boston, who studied for more than a decade with energy healer Reverend Rosalyn Bruyere of the Healing Light Center in Los Angeles. 'People are like magnets,' Leskowitz explains. 'They have a magnetic field that extends beyond their skin into space. Healers have learned how to intensify and regulate their own energy fields so they can affect, in a positive way, the energy fields of their patients.' Patients suffering from illness or addictions, he says, often have imbalances in their electromagnetic fields.
When clients walk into Shubentsov's office, they are often surprised by his direct, sometimes strident manner. It certainly doesn't seem at first glance that he's realigning anyone's energy field. It seems instead that he's putting on a show. He's a big proponent of claiming responsibility for, and taking steps to modify, your own behavior, and he makes his points with all the subtlety of a professional wrestler.
If you do not truly want to change, he says, he will not be able to help you. He is like a professor, a comedian, and a taskmaster all at once. When one man mutters, 'I bite my nails,' Shubentsov coolly replies, 'Don't do it.' ('I have zero diplomatic ability,' he admits. 'This is why they call me the Mad Russian.')
But when another woman complains of a pain in her arm and shoulder, he wriggles his hands, combing the air in front of her with his fingers, and a minute later she rotates her shoulder and neck. 'Is the pain gone?' another participant asks, leaning forward in her chair. The woman nods a wide-eyed yes.
Later, while standing in front of this same woman, Shubentsov nearly yells at her, 'If you take one more cigarette I will bring big flowers in the cemetery!' He leans in closer to her and continues, 'You have terrible, horrible circulation and combined with smoking this will cause a stroke. Do you understand me?' She nods silently.
Shubentsov ardently believes in the virtues of common sense, toughness, and patience, and preaches these for three hours before getting down to the business at hand: curing the hopeless. (Leskowitz suspects another purpose to this extended lecture: 'In the time he's taking, he may be working with the energy in the room as a whole.')
While those whom he has helped may claim he is a god, Shubentsov believes that anyone can do what he does. Toward that end, he has co-authored a book with Barbara Gordon, Cure Your Cravings (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1998), explaining how to acquire heightened sensitivity to biological energy. By following an eight-week series of exercises, the reader can start to feel things without actually touching them, he promises. Getting in touch with this 'sixth sense' is the first step toward harnessing the power of your own biological energy.
But there's still a long way to go: 'Do not expect to erase your own cravings with your newly awakened Bio Energy,' he writes. 'It's taken me 30 years of practice to be able to erase cravings.' However, he promises that if you genuinely want to change he can help you leave your cravings behind.
In his practice, Shubentsov promises to cure people in one treatment. If he fails to do so, or if someone's will is weakening after they've found some relief, he offers follow-up energy work at no additional charge, for as long as he maintains his practice. The cost for a treatment with a lifetime warranty? $65.