Thursday, 15 December 2011

Tis the Season

When our thoughts turn to babies, well one particular baby who was born over 2000 years ago in a stable without any medical aid or assistance. It was hearing about things like this that originally had me thinking about the process of childbirth. When I was expecting my own child I refused to believe that something that we were designed to do should be as painful as some would like me to believe. What made human women different from the other female inhabitants of this world.

Most of the research for my book was completed nearly 30 years ago as I began to look at the history of childbirth. This journey took me way back in history to a time before the birth of Jesus where Greek Scholars such as Aristotle wrote about the miracle of birth and talked about using the power of the mind. Interestingly these scholars made no mention of pain. Both the Ancient Greeks and the Romans wrote about relaxed births.

Studies of documents written by the Greek scholars Hippocrates and Aristotle give no indication of any discomfort in childbirth, unless there was a problem. At that time if women needed assistance whilst in labour they were brought into a relaxed state, sometimes using herbs and potions, so that the problem could be dealt with. These ancient scholars believed that whilst women were giving birth their feelings should be accommodated and that mum needed people around to attend to her. Hippocrates was the first person to run childbirth classes for midwives. Both Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote that nature is the best physician and that it (nature) should be allowed to function without any interference. Aristotle wrote of a mind body connection during childbirth and emphasised the importance of a deep relaxed state.

Another Grecian scholar, Soranus, began putting the writings of Hippocrates and Aristotle into book form. His writing earned him the reputation of being the greatest obstetrical authority of the time. He stressed the importance of listening to the needs of the mother and suggested using the power of the mind to achieve the relaxed state needed for an easy birth.

So following in these auspicious footsteps my childbirth classes were born, teaching women what I believe is the way that we were intended to have our children. Naturally, listening to our bodies just as our ancestors did and probably just what a women called Mary did oh so long ago.

Seasons Greetings to one and all

Tina’s book Painless Childbirth is available on Kindle and from Amazon

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Remember to inoculate ……

Just seen client I worked with about a month ago. A young man of 22 who graduated last year with a first and begun to feel anxious about his future. So much so that he stopped going out and socializing, stopped seeing his friends, in fact all he wanted to do was to stay with his parents as that was the only place he felt safe. This is a tall (6 foot 2), good looking young man who felt that the world was a too scarey place.

After a couple of meetings he was able to go out, and begun to look for work; we worked on his CV and prepared for interviews and he was excited about the future.

Then at a visit with his doctor (a family friend) he talked about his meetings with me and how I had helped him – his doctor talked him into seeing a counselor “just to be sure” everything was OK now. Interestingly, his dad who originally spoke to me didn’t want him to see a counselor as he said he felt I would be able to help him much quicker and easier.

Because of my conversation with dad I decided not to inoculate about what others may say …….

And after just one session with the counselor he told me that he felt much worse than he ever did. Now I must say that I do know some counselors who are very good at their work, but I’m not sure this one is.

So today we met again, inoculations firmly in place and he’s back on track looking forward to taking a holiday with some old friends he’s reconnected with.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Hypnosis and Pain Control

Over the centuries hypnosis has been viewed as a magical cure-all, and has a history of acceptance and rejection by the medical profession for over 200 years. Over the years many people have utilized hypnosis with great success and it has been reviewed many times over.

Friederich Anton Mesmer in the 18th Century, believed Mesmerism would hinder the development of disease and had some success in curing various illnesses as well as helping people with pain control. Then in 1834 and English surgeon John Elliotson reported on numerous operations performed painlessly using mesmerism.

In England around 1846, another surgeon James Braid revisited the phenomenon of Mesmerism and renamed it hypnosis, after the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos. He was the first person to attribute the phenomenon to psychological rather than physical variables and his findings brought a renewed interest in the subject. He had evidence on 345 major operations performed with hypnosis as the sole anesthetic.

In 1990, Evans investigated the possible ways in which hypnosis effectiveness varies according to the type of pain. He concluded that the style of hypnosis was important. For acute pain, he suggested hypnotic suggestions focusing on anxiety-reduction and emphasis on minimizing the importance of the pain; and for chronic pain, he suggested directly confronting the pain under hypnosis, dealing with both the pain's physical and psychological effects on the patient (Evans, 1990).

The American Psychology Associations examine of hypnosis for pain control came to the conclusion that hypnosis had a similar effect as the placebo effect; that the belief that the hypnotic suggestions can reduce pain had the effect of reducing pain.

The management of pain using hypnosis is in a strange position. Although hypnosis has been shown to be effective in many cases, it still tends to be overlooked. Hypnosis is an easy-to-administer procedure with no side effects, yet most doctors ignore its effectiveness in lieu of more traditional methods. Probably because no one really knows how it works, yet it still has merit.

Regardless of the various conclusions made over time, hypnosis has been shown to be a useful tool for pain management in many situations with some articles suggesting that hypnosis is one of the great misunderstood treatments of our time and hypnosis has been shown to be a relatively effective, safe, and inexpensive way in which patients can deal with their pain.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Painless Childbirth

Whenever I mention the possibility of painless childbirth and woman’s ability to achieve this herself without the use of drugs; so many people respond with comments along the lines of “but that’s what an epidural is for”.

I first began to look at childbirth in the 1980’s when I was pregnant with my daughter. I believed as I was only pregnant and this was a perfectly natural state to be in that it would be a relatively easy process. Then I read all these books telling me about what to expect and the various procedures that were at that time considered necessary during labour. I’m sure my doctor thought I was “difficult”; I remember going into hospital with a whole list of things that I had decided wouldn’t (and didn’t) happen. Happily today most of these are a thing of the past.

Whilst studying NLP and Hypnosis one of the things that intrigued me was the way that the mind creates our thoughts, beliefs and responses to situations, and I was drawn to the minds ability to control various sensations or our perception of sensations specifically the sensation labeled pain. How is it that we have different “pain thresholds”; and that one persons pain can be another’s pleasure. This question brought my attention back to childbirth and the fact that there are women in the world today that give birth within a few hours and then return to work with their babies swaddled to them. What is it that makes birth easy for some women and difficult for others?

During my research I found Dr Grantly Dick Read also had this question; he was a doctor at Whitechapel Hospital, East London, in the early 1900’s. One evening when he was called out to assist a woman in labour, he offered her chloroform, the only chemical pain control available at the time, which she refused. Afterwards when he congratulated her on her bravery she replied “it didn’t hurt. It wasn’t meant to was it Doctor?”

This comment spurred him onto investigate pain in childbirth; he found that this women wasn’t an isolated incident and that many women achieved what appeared to be a pain free birth experience. He begun to wonder about the differences between those who said they was in agony and those who had an easy time. Interestingly he said that women who had an easy time in childbirth “appeared to be in a trance like state”.

Intrigued by his findings, I went along to a few new baby coffee mornings with the National Childbirth Trust (NCT. During my research I found that Dr Grantly Dick Read inspired the creation of the NCT in its early days it was called the Natural Childbirth Association). New mums enjoy talking about their babies births and whenever I heard a woman telling a story of how easy it was I became very interested; and asked some questions. I wanted to find out what they did, what was their strategy in achieving an easy birth. And I found out that they all had similar stories to tell; they said things like “this sounds really strange but ……….there was a picture on the wall of my room and as the contractions got stronger I seemed to climb in the picture; or I remembered a place from my childhood/past and it was as if I was back there until it was time for baby to be born and suddenly I was back……….

Their descriptions reminded me of a kind of hypnosis known as deep trance phenomena and I begun to wonder if this was what we were supposed to do whilst in labour.

In 2001 a friend asked me to help her achieve natural childbirth she had a teenage daughter and was disappointed that her first birth hadn’t been a natural one. I met with her, her partner and her daughter, and we began to design what later became the blue print for my childbirth classes. I was honored to be asked to be present at the birth also, and so got to review the system first hand so to speak. The midwifery staff were all excited when I arrived at the hospital with my friend. You’re the hypnotist they said, we’re looking forward to seeing what you can do.

Over the years, these classes have evolved and now contain a combination of hypnosis, NLP and DHE™ all designed to teach the mum to be how they can enter a deeply relaxed state during childbirth to create their own phenomena. Many of my students have asked me during our classes whether they will actually be able to access that state during labour and they have contacted me afterwards to say how wonderful the whole process was for them and how they were able to relax and follow my instructions “just as I said they would”.

From the classes that I have taught over the years, I know that women can have a natural birth experience without fear, worry or discomfort. There is one side effects that seem to result from using hypnosis and NLP during pregnancy as you prepare for labour - the babies are very happy, contented and relaxed.

Painless Childbirth available from