Self hypnosis may sound exotic, but it is, at least in its medical sense, more a form of very deep relaxation than the ability to put you into a trance. The point about this form of healing is that when you have reached a deeply relaxed state, you can give yourself instructions which the mind and body will obey. Over the past few years, self hypnosis techniques have been used with great success to reduce pain, including the pain of arthritis. In particular, self hypnosis has been shown in a number of clinical trials to be very effective for people who suffer chronic pain which is not easily alleviated by drugs or surgery, and which is always likely to return.

So as an arthritis sufferer, self hypnosis may work for you. Focusing on a regularly repeated pattern such as a flight of stairs or a tree lined avenue may help your efforts at self hypnosis; each stair brings you one step closer to a state of total relaxation. Are you a good subject? Most experts now define the hypnotized state as a distinct level of consciousness somewhere between waking and deep sleep, in which the subject experiences an altered state of reality.

When in a state of hypnosis, your conscious mind is submerged beneth the threshold of pain, and you are able to access your inner calm. Self hypnosis is not as difficult or strange as you may imagine, and many people find they are able to do it. Answer the following questions to discover if you might benefit from this technique. Do you tend to cry at sad films? Are you liable to miss your stop on the bus or train because you are completely engrossed in a book? Can you fall sleep easily and quickly? Can you imagine yourself being in love? Do you daydream easily? If you are able to answer yes to these questions, you are potentially a good subject for self hypnosis.

To practice self hypnosis for pain control, try this deep relaxation exercise. First choose a time and place where you will not be disturbed, and you have no pressing concerns. Unplug your telephone or out on your answering machine. Now close your eyes and relax your breathing. As you relax, breathe more and more deeply. Relax all your muscles except those used for breathing. Imagine that you can feel every molecule of air flowing in and out of your body. Keep breathing ever more deeply.