Helped by Hypnosis

When I first started this blog about my recovery from cancer,  it was my intention to provide any information that might be helpful to others making the same journey.

So I thought I should spread the word about a tremendously supportive and helpful resource that I came across soon after I started treatment. This was a series of hypnosis cds on dealing with cancer diagnosis and treatment developed by David Allen, a therapist specialising in spiritual regression and behavioural change.

My first contact with David was when I reviewed his book about overcoming alcohol addiction called ‘The Sophisticated Alcoholic’. During our communications David mentioned that he had produced the cds when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2008. She spent much of the following year in intensive treatment that hospitalised her four times and required three blood transfusions. David said that she had clearly benefited from the hypnosis processes and thankfully had now recovered. He said that he felt the need to give something back and had made the CD’s available to download from his website ( ) completely free of charge.

At the time I was finding the side effects of the chemotherapy quite debilitating and wasted no time in downloading several of the hypnotic tracks onto my MP3 player. I was desperate to try anything that would make me feel better.

The first one I listened to was about dealing with nausea as this was initially the most uncomfortable side effect of my chemo. As with all the cds, it used hypnosis techniques to create a relaxed state before explaining how to accept the feeling and to “turn it down”. In my case, I never found any total solution to controlling feelings of nausea but this recording did help me cope with it a little better. Sometimes I was so wired with the chemo that it was a relief to put on my earphones during the small hours and listen to David telling me that it was all going to be ok. Although, at the height of the chemo I couldn’t always lapse into a hypnotic state, it was reassuring to hear David’s calm and comforting voice that always made me feel more relaxed.

The other recordings I used to listen to in the first few days after chemo were ‘Limiting Cell Damage” and “Helping Cell Recovery”. The first focused on reducing the unwelcome side effects while the latter concentrated on promoting faster recovery from them. Unfortunately I came to these too late to stop my hair falling out but I did seem to suffer less from the side effects than many other patients in the chemo unit.

With hindsight I should probably have used the hypnotic recordings for the entire period of chemo rather than feeling I no longer needed then when I went onto a regime that had less severe side effects. Thinking back, this could well have been useful in helping my red cell count recover. This became a significant problem in the later stages and actually delayed the chemo at one point.

The cd that I found invaluable was “Needles and Pins”. From the moment I was diagnosed it seemed that everyone wants to stick needles in me. There are drains, injections, cannulars and internal lines and as David says, his wife went from never needing any kind of treatment to being a pincushion for everyone in sight. There is the added problem that with such continuous use, veins become tired and more difficult to find and I found this part of the process eventually became quite stressful. The audio uses hypnosis to helps people to effectively turn down or turn off sensation in localised areas, in effect, controlling pain and discomfort. For me, being able to do this really reduced the anxiety associated with all these minor but, nevertheless uncomfortable procedures.

There are other cds in the set that I didn’t personally need but am sure would be equally helpful. There is an audio on dealing positively with the period between diagnosis and biopsy results. Unfortunately I came across this far to late to help in my case but I would definitely have welcomed some help in getting through those anxious few days after being told I had cancer.

I was fortunate not to need a mastectomy but I can imagine that losing a breast can be a devastating experience. In the audio entitled “Losing a breast”, David helps women to discover, or perhaps re-discover who they really are and what is really important about their essence as a human being.

Finally, there is an audio on dealing with a terminal prognosis in which David draws on his experience of people’s understanding of their spiritual self. For the moment I am feeling far too positive to go there but I will certainly be back on David Allen’s site if the situation changes.

I personally would like to say a big thank you to David for these cds as they made me feel so much better at the lowest points of treatment and they were an important piece of the armoury I built up to defend myself against the physical and emotional trauma of cancer. The fact that David has made them available at no charge is also extremely generous and I for one will always be very grateful to him. 

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