Researchers in Switzerland found that volunteers allergic to grasses and tree pollens reported small but significant reduction in symptoms when they learned a simple self-hypnosis technique. Those results are typical for Patricia MacIsaac, BCH, LPN, spokesperson for the National Guild of Hypnotists. "The body responds beautifully to what you tell it -- in fact, it believes every word you say," MacIsaac says. "When you tell it 'I can't breathe, I'm itchy, my eyes are watery,' you reinforce the allergic response." But the opposite is true, too, she says. Try the following exercise to see for yourself.
1. Choose an Image. Find a positive image that focuses on alleviating your allergy symptoms. If your throat is itchy and sore, for instance, "imagine mint ice cream melting there and dissolving the pain, or warm tea soothing it -- whatever makes sense to you," suggests MacIsaac. If your eyes are itchy, you might visualize an eye wash flowing over the eyes, washing away all itchiness and letting your discomfort dissolve easily and effortlessly.
2. Breathe and relax. Once you choose your imagery, take three deep breaths -- in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathing deeply, count backwards from 10. Pause at each number to tell yourself that you are becoming more and more deeply relaxed, more and more peaceful. Then focus completely on your chosen imagery and on letting your symptoms be released. If you have a hard time seeing the image in your mind, try to sense or feel it, says MacIsaac.
3. Affirm your image. While focusing on your image, say an affirmation such as "I let go of all allergy symptoms in my body and feel healthy in every way. My throat and eyes are returning to normal," says MacIsaac.
4. Repeat. Repeat the suggestions to your self as many times as you need to. Then count your self up from 1 to 5, feeling refreshed, relaxed, and relieved of symptoms.
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