The findings of a study from Bangor University were presented on 11th September 2009 to The British Psychological Society’s division of health psychology annual conference. It stated that people suffering from arthritis can alleviate their pain by using hypnotherapy and mental imagery.

Rheumatoid arthritis is progressive and a disabling disease affecting just under one per cent of the adult population in the UK.  It is very painful and can affect a person’s ability to do everyday tasks. Despite medical treatment, many still suffer with high pain levels and often turn to alternative treatment – including hypnotherapy – to lessen their fatigue and pain.

The study from Bryan Bennett and colleagues at Bangor University asked 42 patients to visualise their pain and attempt to manage it.  The results showed that the imagery techniques and hypnosis were effective at reducing pain and tiredness. Bryan Bennett commented:

“All the participants were asked to identify what areas of their life were important to them but were negatively affected due to the rheumatoid arthritis. By doing so they were taking an active part in their own therapy. By employing the techniques they were taught, they were able to self-treat when necessary – allowing them to control their pain and enabling them to get on with enjoying life”.

Pain is not the only side-effect of arthritis. The diagnosis itself can be devastating, leading to people feeling many negative emotions such as anger and depression. This in turn can lead to insomnia, mood issues and a lack of appetite. Furthermore, many wonder what their future may be like, and what medication they’ll require, and this can lead to losing the self-image they have held of themselves.

Techniques such as visualisation and positive affirmations are effective, as is self-hypnosis as it helps to focus your mind on your body and immune system. A good hypnotherapist will be able to teach you self hypnosis techiques so you can then continue to use it at home.