Saturday, May 5, 2012


            As we age, we may become vulnerable to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke. An interesting case study by two Los Angeles researchers sheds doubt on traditional views about the chances for recovery from one of these unnatural conditions – stroke.

As early as 1987, researchers Holroyd and Hill found that recovery from stroke could be extended long after the six month accepted medical viewpoint of that time. Their findings, published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 37, issue 2, 1989, presented that, using hypnosis – a technique not normally associated with the treatment of stroke, researchers helped a 66 year-old female regain several physical capacities. These included use of her disabled arm and the ability to walk without a cane. Hypnotherapy with the subject began six months post-stroke and lasted for six months.

Stroke Recovery Hypnotherapy

Under hypnosis, the patient was guided through imagery that recalled memories of previous abilities, including swimming in a river as a child. In addition to the hypnosis sessions, the woman was given audiotapes with which to practice at home.
Follow-up a year after the stroke showed verifiable improvement in the physical capabilities of the patient.
Researchers Holroyd of UCLA and Hill of Permanente Center in Lomita, CA. speculated that, even though therapy for strokes is traditionally perceived as not being useful beyond six months post-stroke, the capacity of the mind to learn new information and processes does not have an end-point. This has developed into a new vein of scientific research called “Neuroplasticity.” 

Imagery works on the mind in a way that is not yet clearly understood. As ongoing results show, however, the ability of imagery to push the envelope of traditional limits of effective therapy holds exciting possibilities and it is an arena that merits further investigation.
An interesting side note: Hypnotherapy for recovery was initiated at the request of the patient after a neurologist had concluded that she would not likely gain any further improvement in her physical condition.
Sometimes, it seems, the patient knows best! 

If you or someone you know would like help using guided imagery or visualization to complement traditional therapy for stroke or any other condition, you may contact Shanimah Ra – email:
Disclaimer:  Hypnosis cannot and should not stand alone as the sole medical or psychological intervention for any disorder.  Hypnosis should not be used instead of appropriate medical, dental or psychological treatment.  Any individual with a medical or psychological problem should first consult a medical doctor or psychiatrist for diagnosis and professional advice.  Hypnosis should only be practiced by those who have been appropriately trained, who practice appropriately and within the scope of their training.

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