Clinical hypnosis is a medically proven method to take control of your mind to help with things like reducing pain or anxiety. In the last segment of Hypnosis Week, Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mike Dow teach you how to hypnotize yourself at home to gain mastery over your brain.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here we teach you how to win the fight for your brain to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD and addictions.
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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome back to hypnosis week. Today we're going to teach you how you can use some of the principles that Dr. Dow and I have learned at home. It's amazing. I was on cardiology, so I had another one of those great story moments of a chaplain who had an arrhythmia, so he had an abnormal heart rhythm, and the medications weren't working and he couldn't sleep. I'm like, "Well, I'll give you a sleeping pill, but can I hypnotize you?" When I put him in a trance, his heart rhythm normalized. Like, whoa. The cardiologist, this was nicer to me than the neurologist. He's like, "Oh, can you do that for me?" The same thing happened and that became my second professional paper.
Dr. Mike Dow: I love it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: On my cardiac rotation as an intern, I couldn't sleep because people were dying. They were seriously sick and I couldn't sleep. Then I had this little epiphany. It's like, "You're helping everybody else sleep. Why don't you do the same thing for yourself?" I got so good at it I could put myself to sleep in like two minutes.
Dr. Mike Dow: I picture myself when I'm lying in bed that the bed is in an elevator and it's going down. I actually use movement and I close my eyes and I can feel the bed as if the bed is on like a pulley and it's going down 100 floors, very slowly, not in a scary way. It's the coolest feeling when your mind can actually help you to sort of drift down, down, down and using these self hypnosis skills. A lot of the research, that's what they do. Instead of having to go every time, you can use these at home. I know that your online community, you teach them. You can use an audio track at home for whatever concern. A lot of the recent research is so exciting because all of these "we have nothing for you" modern medicine, you know, fibromyalgia, chronic pain. Well, guess what. All of the recent research, hypnosis says otherwise. Hypnosis says, "We have something for you. We can improve the quality in your life."
Dr. Daniel Amen: Some simple steps. For me, when I put someone in a trance, I have them focus on a spot on the wall a little bit above their eye level. What that's doing is it's decreasing the distractions from the world. Then close your eyes, because you can take the outside focus to a spot on the wall inside.
Dr. Mike Dow: Yeah. Really the conscious brain can really ... I think it tends to think about what you need to get at the grocery store, the organic eggs or the berries, hopefully you're buying those organic berries, and all the things you need to do tomorrow. Isn't it so nice that just by closing your eyes and by finding that spot, that hopefully you're going to be transitioning to this other part and using these other brain structures, the subconscious.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The next thing I do is I have them purposefully take three deep breaths and simple suggestions. Breathe in relaxation. Blow out the tension.
Dr. Mike Dow: Yeah. I like that one.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's something that's purposeful that everybody can do. Then I'll do progressive muscle relaxation. Some people I'll have them actually tighten-
Dr. Mike Dow: Squeeze and then release. Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... and release. What I do is I have them just roll their eyeballs up. The little tiniest muscles in your body, or some of them, roll your eyeballs up as far as they'll go, with your eyes closed. Hold them up, hold them up, and then let them come back down to a normal position. Just notice how relaxed they are.
Dr. Mike Dow: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Then I have them visualize that relaxation spreading like a warm penetrating oil from the top of their head all the way down to the bottom of their feet. I do it slowly. Progressive muscle relaxation is another technique that has been found ...
Dr. Mike Dow: It works in and of itself, and I love it. I love that you build it in. Other researchers have really integrated it into hypnosis as well, so it's sort of a two for one, which is great.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's a two for one. Then just like you have the bed go down, I'll do something called a deepening technique. It may be be at the top of a long staircase.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I'll have them see the flowers, flowers they like and colors they love. As they walk down the staircase I'll count backwards from 10, and it's just the idea of going down.
Dr. Mike Dow: That's my favorite, and when somebody counts, the first time somebody counted for me, there's something about that. Anyone I've ever treated, I watch their body. I watch their eyes, the way they start to flutter. Sort of those little jerks when somebody's falling asleep. I watch those as the body just starts to release. Personally, when I'm using hypnosis, that's my favorite part of it, are the steps.
Dr. Daniel Amen: My favorite part, though, is when you get to the bottom. It's like what do you do when you get to the bottom? That's the guided imagery. It's often different, but usually I'll have them imagine the most beautiful park with all of their senses. See what's there, hear what's there, smell and taste the freshness in the air, and feel what's there. You begin to activate many different areas of their brain.
Dr. Mike Dow: You know, what's so incredible is that the subconscious brain is so ... it can almost feel, I describe it as virtual reality using just the mind. You know, by using those words, you can actually do almost anything and that's what's so cool about it. It's so exciting because you can transport yourself to any world you want to go. That's why, when we were talking about PTSD just a moment ago, that's why that screen just sort of pops up. If you want to go to a screen and you want to image a new screen and write a new story and then project that story because you're now the director of this new story that you're writing for yourself, you can do that. Of course, if you want to relax, then just, yeah, of course the most beautiful field you've ever seen, which is incredible.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I love what you said about creating a new story, because ultimately in psychotherapy, the most important thing you can do yourself is re-write your story, rather than you're a victim of this and that, that you're a super hero, that you are powerful, that you can be in control of your thoughts and of your behaviors. The addictions don't have to run your life any more.
Dr. Mike Dow: That's right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I often have people find a pool, a warm pool with healing waters. The water helps to not only soothe their emotional pain or their physical pain, but it also helps to reset their mind.
Dr. Mike Dow: I love water. I also love clouds. I love floating, imaging yourself falling into a warm cloud that's sort of enveloping your entire body, or anything that's sort of soft that's sort of wrapping you up. You know, what's also just so wonderful is that in this stage, now you have the ability, you know, because you've used that imagery and those five senses ... You know, if you're somebody, let's say there's something that's warm and burning ... somebody who's survived a burn. Maybe there's something that's aching and maybe there's a pain in your shoulder that feels sort of hot. Well, of course if something's hot, maybe you want that water to feel cool. Maybe you want that cloud to feel light. If there's something that's tight, maybe the cloud is going to feel loose. Then you can kind of see that at this stage you can sort of use whatever imagery you want.
What's so fascinating ... you know, Daniel, I was studying ... I took a deep dive in every study and I looked at, you know, the IBS script, the fibromyalgia script, and they all had a lot of things that were similar, but then they all had different things that were ... some things that were different. For the IBS script, if it was IBS for constipation, it was, "Imagine that inside it's sort of an amusement park slide, and that slide inside of you can just travel freely," and you can kind of see how if the mind is picturing an amusement park slide, how that imagery would work, right? Every script is sort of targeted to whatever you want. It's sort of, "You can use these scripts or you can also tweak it in your own mind." Even if they're using your online community, you can kind of say, "Oh, well I want my water to be warm." "Oh, but I have an ice pick headache." Well then make your water warm inside your own mind. You can kind of almost do whatever you want to do in those moments too, which is kind of fun.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That's ultimately the goal, to get you to be in charge of your own brain, "How Your Subconscious Brain can Change your Life". That's the title of your new book.
Dr. Daniel Amen: How can people learn about you and your work?
Dr. Mike Dow: My website is drmikedow.com. I'm just so passionate about this work. I know that you and I are like-minded people because first and foremost we want to help people. I wrote this book because I knew that there are elusive conditions. There are people struggling with trauma, abuse, and they're looking for other integrative answers, which is what I know you do here at Amen Clinics. I was just in the waiting room and I saw people who are just happy to be here because they knew they were finding solutions. I think they're going to find those in this book as well, as yet another tool in the tool belt for people. Obviously they can find the book on Amazon, or they can go to my website or wherever they want to go to find out more.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's coming out March 12th, 2019.
Dr. Mike Dow: That's correct.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You're going to have a public television special.
Dr. Mike Dow: I may have a public television special. Yeah. We'll see.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So exciting.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Hypnosis week. Thanks for being with us.
Dr. Mike Dow: Thank you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Thank you for listening to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. Go to iTunes and leave a review and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing to get a free signed copy of the Brain Warrior's Way and the Brain Warrior's Way cookbook we give away every month.