Fauziah Shah of Petra Hypnosis recently underlined a key role that the subconscious mind plays in the solution of varied problems faced by humans in a recent radio talk show, A Slice of Life, on 93.8 LIVE, about the power of suggestion.

While the concept of hypnosis is somewhat simple to comprehend, the actual task of programming the subconscious mind is not always easy to accomplish. This is because the programming the subconscious mind is not done using one's conscious or logical mind, but instead requires deep and repeated affirmations (or suggestions) in a relaxed state to undo the old negative habits or to establish and direct the subconscious mind to implement new habits.

In the talk radio show, Fauziah had discussed the various ways in which the power of suggestion could be used to improve our lives, from our own relationships to our interactions with our children. Indeed, the power of suggestion is highly important in our lives - we are constantly bombarded with direct and indirect cues that can affect our attitudes, behaviours, and actions positively or negatively, whether we realise it or not.

Even medical science is proving that the power of suggestion is a real and an observable occurrence - a September 2011 study in the American Heart Journal (see report below) concluded that simply suggesting that a treatment will ease chest pain may not only dampen the pain, but directly alter heart arteries.

Power of Suggestion Affects Heart Arteries
By Amy Norton

(Reuters Health) - Simply suggesting that a treatment will ease chest pain may not only dampen the pain, but directly alter heart arteries, a small study concludes.

Among 30 patients having a procedure to evaluate their chest pain, researchers found that those who were told they were being given an infusion of a pain-relieving drug did, on average, report a decrease in pain.

But the participants also showed a measurable change in their heart arteries: a slight but distinct narrowing of the vessels.

Exactly what the findings mean, and whether they have implications for heart disease patients, is not clear.

None of the chest-pain patients actually had heart disease; they were told about the "drug" (which was actually harmless saline) only after testing had shown no blockages in their heart arteries.

The key point is that the power of suggestion created an objective change in the blood vessels, according to Drs. Karin Meissner and Joram Ronel of Technical University Munich in Germany.

"The major finding was that the coronary vessels reacted so clearly to a mere psychological intervention," they told Reuters Health in an email.

And the reaction was in a direction opposite to the one researchers had expected to see.

The patients were actually told that the "drug" they were receiving would widen their arteries to relieve their chest pain. Instead, there was a small amount of blood vessel constriction in the group overall.

But that constriction does make biological sense, according to Meissner and Ronel.

In a healthy person who is under stress, the nervous system triggers a widening in the blood vessels so that blood circulation increases to meet the body's needs. When stress fades, the vessels can narrow again.

"When the heart works less," Meissner and Ronel explained, "there is less need for blood supply, and the vessels will be less dilated than in a stressful situation. This is how we interpret our data."

They added, though, that this is the process in a healthy person. The situation may be different in a person with heart disease.

The findings, reported in the American Heart Journal, build on a phenomenon seen in clinical trials studying heart disease. That is, some people receiving placebos (inactive "treatments") report improvements in symptoms like chest pain.

How much of that reaction is due to psychological or even biological effects is unclear.

To examine whether there might be placebo effects on the heart arteries, Meissner and Ronel's team looked at 30 patients who underwent coronary angiography to evaluate chest pain symptoms.

During coronary angiography, a thin tube (catheter) is threaded through a blood vessel into the heart, where a special dye is injected. Using X-rays, doctors can then look for blockages in the heart arteries that may be the source of the chest pain.

The 30 patients were included in this study only after the test turned up no blockages. While still on the exam table, they were randomly assigned to either a "verbal suggestion" group or a control group.

In both groups, patients received an injection of saline into the catheter. Those in the verbal-suggestion group were told it was a drug that would widen their heart arteries and boost blood flow to the heart. Patients in the control group were told nothing.

On average, the study found, the verbal-suggestion group reported a dip in their chest pain after the procedure, while showing some blood vessel narrowing. The opposite was true in the control group: slightly more pain and a little more vessel dilation.

The researchers say they suspect the pain reduction was an "indirect effect" of the verbal suggestion, but they cannot know for sure whether or to what degree the blood vessel changes might have contributed to it.

More studies on this question are still needed, according to Meissner and Ronel. If verbal suggestion does have a measurable effect "at the level of the heart" in people with actual heart disease, they said, that would be important to know.

SOURCE: bit.ly/oAJree American Heart Journal, September 2011.

The information contained on this blog is provided for one's general interest and knowledge only, and it does not constitute as therapy. Those seeking professional attention on specific issues are advised to contact us directly. My team and I are based in Singapore and offer one-on-one hypnotherapy, counseling and coaching sessions. We can be contacted by email at info[at]petrahypnosis.com. You may also call us at 6-250-6166 or 9-1000-432.

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