The Feeling of No Feeling (Hypno-birthing 1)

Many years ago our practice ran a peripheral maternity unit of about 100 deliveries a year until a new District General Hospital centralised services. Most of the time it was 99% straightforward and 1% sheer panic! Nowadays, all of the maternity care is done by skilled midwives and as GP’s we are peripheral to most of the action. The one area we can still be of assistance though is hypno-analgesia. This is not to say that childbirth should or could be completely pain-free – simply to offer another tool for the mum-to-be to have more control over the whole process of labour and delivery.

There are many things that an experienced hypnotherapist can use to facilitate a more comfortable delivery. One of the key things I introduce early on in a hypnosis session is “the feeling of no feeling”. This is a concept that most people can grasp straight off and begin to put to effective use. So just what is this feeling of no feeling?

It is a feeling we experience all the time, every day of our lives in every context we operate in. For example, most people wear a watch – yet most of the time, unless we pay specific attention to it, we are unaware of how it feels; the weight, the texture. The same with a ring, the shoe on your right foot, the feeling of the space between your big and 2nd toe, the jumper on your shoulders, the ear-rings, necklace, spectacles….and so on. So what does it feel like? And more importantly, what happens to the feeling when you are no longer paying attention to it? You know it must be there somewhere in the background, yet you can be blissfully unaware of it unless you focus explicitly.

In a sense then, your mind has learned over time to disregard many sensations so that you can get through your day being able to focus on something else instead. And that is exactly what we need to exploit here, how your brain generates the feeling of no feeling – and how to put it to useful work.

There are many ways to induce a hypnotic trance though the pregnant state seems to allow most women to drift easily no matter what induction you use. I usually do this process as a single one-2-one session somewhere between 30-34 weeks of pregnancy and am always amazed by just how quickly they deepen into a very relaxed state. Then it’s simply a process of reminding the brain that it generates the feeling of no feeling every day, to give many examples of this directly in trance, to get in touch with the spaciousness of that feeling even though they don’t know how they do that consciously, then begin to transfer it little by little, layering it in to where it can be of even more benefit – the birth canal.

You can then timeline this resource state so that it automatically appears just when it’s needed…

Of course as well as using both direct and indirect suggestions, there are other techniques that are useful in promoting analgesia such as time distortion, dissociation and glove analgesia/anaesthesia…we will look at these in further posts….

Until next time…


Of course these techniques can be used in a variety of other clinical presentations, both hypnotically and conversationally…check out Changing with NLP

5 Responses to “The Feeling of No Feeling (Hypno-birthing 1)”

  1. Michael says:

    Hey Lewis, nice blog posts. Dave Dobson talked about the fact that we spend much of our life remembering to forget our bodies. While we sleep where does our body go? But it’s always there when we wake up… etc. This was his major frame for pain control, which he had tremendous success working in a burns ward for many years!

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Michael…speaking of burns, I remember attending some sessions with Prof Dabney Ewan in the 90’s who was both Prof of Surgery and Psychiatry in New Orleans…he did extensive work with hypnosis and burns…here’s a short youtube clip from a 1980 BBC documentary……

  3. Michael says:

    What an awesome video Lewis! Was his approach as simple as he makes it — just inducing a trance then telling people to be cool etc? I would presume when someone’s burned badly they’d go into a trance very easily.

  4. admin says:

    Pretty simple…he said that anyone who had been seriously burned was already in a trance so just utilise it…he used directive hypnosis… “rivers of coolness” etc…plus suggestions for reduced swelling and for analgesia over the affected area until it had healed completely….He published several articles on the rapid healing effects of hypnosis….

  5. Michael says:

    Thanks Lewis! Those photos in the video were so dramatic, a great example of how powerful hypnosis can be.