Author Topic: DIABETES AND HYPNOTHERAPY  (Read 17576 times)

Paul Howard

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« on: 21 October, 2008, 11:16:52 PM »
By C. Devin Hastings, hypnotist and diabetic

"I'm sorry to tell you this, but you have diabetes. Here is a prescription for the medications you must take."

The patient walks away from the doctorís office with a number of feelings: Anguish, confusion, anger, denial and in many cases a deep, sometimes hidden sense of despair and hopelessness.

This patient has just become part of a largely preventable epidemic. How can the hypnotherapist assist a person with diabetes?  We do this by helping them to positively alter their motivational/behavioral structure.  Doing so will greatly increase the diabeticís chances of more successfully managing and perhaps, improving their condition. At the very least, we can help a person with diabetes to make small but significant behavioral changes thus probably preventing some of the more horrifying consequences of diabetes. 

Diabetes is a conditionónot a disease.  This means that the person with diabetes has choice because a condition is controllable whereas a disease is devastating.  Our job is to help the diabetic client to find their personal power over their condition.

What can we do to help this very serious medical condition? 

The first thing we can do is to help our client to find a more emotionally stable state of mind.  We can hypnotically coach our client to use deep, calming breathing exercises. When most people are diagnosed with this condition it feels as if the carpet has been pulled out from under them.  They are usually emotionally crippled.  Whenever they start to think about ëtheir conditioní they become breathless with fear and despair.  Their body is simply reflecting their state of mind.  So getting them to relax using hypnotherapy is a good starting point.

As stated previously, diabetes is a largely preventable epidemic.  This is so because most diabetics are obese.  Obesity is preventable.  Here is an interesting fact: approximately 90% of all persons with diabetes are overweight.  It is a clinically proven fact that if a person reduces their weight to healthy levels, then the chances are very good that the diabetic symptoms will melt away along with the fat.

Look at the facts concerning how most Type 2 diabetes gets started: ìOvereating and obesity trigger increased insulin secretion from the pancreas, resulting in the additional storage of fat in the tissues.  As weight and insulin secretion go up, the body eventually develops a resistance to the effects of insulin, and diabetes occurs.î Peter A. Lodewick, M.D.

I want to strongly emphasize that our impact as hypnotherapists can be tremendous simply by helping people to permanently and safely get rid of excess weight.  However, there is one very important thing that clients must realise obese persons not diagnosed with diabetes are still good candidates to have insulin/blood sugar issues. 

ìIf you are overweight or tend to gain weight easily and are also addicted to carbohydrates, it is vital for you to understand that your body responds differently to high-carbohydrate foods than do the bodies of those who do not exhibit these tendencies.  It is the bodyís response to these foods, especially when they are eaten frequently, that leads to the excess release of insulin that may be keeping the client on a weight-loss merry-go-round.

This means that even if the client has not been diagnosed with diabetes, their body may have an inappropriate response to high carbohydrate foods.  Therefore, even a bagel may cause them to suddenly release too much insulin leading to a low blood sugar.  Instinctively then, the client reaches for food to feel better.  This is a vicious cycle.  Or, if the client refuses to give in to their ëfood cravingí then a low blood sugar can lead to possibly dangerous consequences. 

Key to understanding the preceding is knowing what insulin is and what it does. Insulin is produced in the beta cells of the pancreas.  It is a very powerful hormone that the body uses to control the use, distribution and storage of energy.  In this case, think of energy as sugar. Another way to remember insulinís function is to think of it as a ëkeyí.  This key opens the doors to the cells in order for sugar to be transported out of the blood into a cell where the sugar is then used for energy.  This is why ëblood sugarí levels are so important.  If they are too high or low, it is dangerous

Letís look at a definition of diabetes.  Simply stated, diabetes is a condition identified by chronic, high  blood sugar levels (mostly due to insulin resistance). Normal levels of blood sugar for a person who has not eaten for at least 8 hours are between 70 and 110 mg/dl (milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood).  After a person eats the highest their blood sugar level should be is 180 mg/dl.  3 hours later their blood sugar should be at or below 110 mg/dl.

Unsafe blood sugar levels occur because of a dysfunction in one or two body mechanisms. Either there is a deficiency or complete absence of insulin production and/or the body is unable to use existing insulin effectively.  The bodyís inability to effectively use insulin is known as ëinsulin resistanceí.  Adipose tissue (fat) creates insulin resistance.  There are many other reasons for insulin resistance but the ëbiggestí one is obesity. 

Types of diabetes are classified in 3 categories: Type 1, Type 1.5 and Type 2.  Roughly 5% to 7% of all persons with diabetes have Type 1.  This kind of diabetes is the result of a partial/complete failure of the beta cells in the pancreas.  Remember, the beta cells produce insulin.  This lack of insulin results in the need for a person to take shots of insulin. 

Type 1.5 is called Mature Onset of Diabetes in the Young.  This is relatively rare and occurs in only 2-3 % of the diabetic population.  Typically, it appears in persons under 40 who are not overweight.  It appears to be due to insulin resistance for reasons other than obesity. 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common.  As mentioned, about 90% of the diabetic population is Type 2.  Almost every Type 2 is overweight.  The excess weight causes insulin resistance. 

Now, letís get to what you can now do.  By the way, the knowledge you have learned so far makes you more educated about diabetes than most diabetics!  This will help you to assist the diabetic client because knowledge is power and your job is to empower your client. 

So, letís talk about marketing and your first line of approach to helping your client.  The first thing you can do for the diabetic is to give them S.U.G.A.R.  Sounds crazy, doesnít it?  Actually this is a ridiculously easy way to remember your initial approach when asked what you can do for a person with diabetes.

Please note that an essential component of effective marketing is to have a good ëelevator pitchí.  If you were to get on an elevator with a stranger and they ask you what you do, you have about 30 seconds get their attention and persuasively explain something about what you can do for them. 

Thus, the scenario goes like this: Youíre on an elevator and someone notices your nifty looking NGH badge:

ìWhat does that badge youíre wearing mean?î 
ìOh, I am a proud member of the National Guild of Hypnotists.î 
ìYouíre a hypnotist?  Does that stuff really work?î 
ìYep.  In fact, one of the more interesting uses for hypnosis is in helping people with diabetes.î 
ìReally?  My best friend has diabetes.  What can you do to help her/him?î
ìThe first thing I do with their doctorís approval is give them S.U.G.A.R.î  (You now really have this personís attention because you sound crazy.  Crazy people are interesting.)
ìSugar?  I thought that was the worst thing for a diabetic!î
ìActually, S.U.G.A.R. is an acronym for the first thing most diabetics need.î
ìO.K., Iíll bite.  What does it mean?î
ìS.tress U.nderstanding and rid of A.nxiety by R.elaxing.  You see, it is medically proven that the more stressed out a person with diabetes is, the worse their condition can get.  As a hypnotist, I am a Stress Management Consultant and a Motivational Coach.  I help them to understand their condition and then I help them to take control by reducing stress.î
ìWow.  Yeah, he/she sure is freaked out about being diagnosed with a disease.î
ìWell, tell your friend that they have a lot more options than they know.î
ìYeah, okay.  Hey, do you have a business card?î
ìAh, gee, no but can I write down my name and number on a napkin?î 

The acronym S.U.G.A.R. is designed so that even if youíre nervous, you only need to remember the first two words to cue you on what you can do.  Stressóyou can reduce it.  Understandingóof how reducing stress is medically proven to help diabetics.  Bear in mind that when most people are upset, they usually reach for comfort food and usually for too much of it.  So, you let the potential client know that as they feel less anxiety, they feel more calm.  Feeling calmer they have less interest in overeating and are less likely to grab those foods that are harmful to them.