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  1. sailing imageAs a young child I was subjected to the type of archaic dentistry which causes nightmares.   The military dentists were of a school which believed it was good practice to remove a woman’s teeth and replace them with dentures without hesitation.  This happened to my poor Mum after she gave birth to me!  I had allegedly absorbed all the calcium from her teeth and they couldn’t ever recover.  They left her with six teeth.  It’s little wonder I may have picked up a little bit of fear through her.  Then there were the curious theories about my ‘wiring’.  I would be given an anaesthetic injection in one part of my mouth, and go numb in another area completely.  The response from dentists back then? 

    “How strange! You must be wired up funny .............  but we’ll go ahead anyway.”

    By the time I was an adult I had a mouth full of metal (we won’t even talk about the amalgam issue here,) and a deeply embedded fear of the dentist.  It was a fear based on experience and the unseen protector in my head would react even to the suggestion of dentistry; the sound of wood being drilled; the smell of mouthwash; anything resembling a dentist’s tools, all sent me into a nervous state.

    Yesterday I had two fillings.  I looked forward to visiting the dentist, felt really calm as I sat in the chair and ENJOYED the hour I spent there.  So what changed?

    Firstly I must credit my dentist.  He is a lovely, calm person who trained in his native South Africa where hypnotherapy was an optional part of his training.  He uses the best technology and materials available to him, employs a fabulous nurse and has taken the time to understand the best way for me to be treated.  For instance he explains the drugs he uses for anaesthetic, the qualities of the filling materials and most importantly he lets me know what to expect when he starts to drill. 

    Another aspect of visiting the dentist which has changed is my mindset.  I know that when I leave the dentist’s surgery I will have a greatly improved smile.  I only have one amalgam filling left so most of my teeth are now white and natural looking.  I also know that I will get to spend a large part of the appointment on the beach, enjoying the warm sand supporting my body as the sun shines down and the sea gently lulls me into a more and more relaxed state.  Using self-hypnosis is not so very different to having a sci-fi style transporter belt.  I decide where I’m going, and I take myself there.

    Clients often ask for recordings of processes we use together, and whilst of course there is a place for them, they are no substitute for managing your own mind in any given moment.  Self-hypnosis offers an opportunity not just to bring about positive changes but also to adapt a process to absolutely any situation, and use outside stimulus and vivid positive memories to create peaceful escapes when you need to.  Here’s what I did in the dentist’s chair yesterday.

    Following the pre-talk and explanations of what was about to happen, the nurse switched on the overhead light and handed me the sunglasses.  I closed my eyes and was immediately transported to a beautiful beach where pain did not exist.  (My personal affirmation is that I feel no pain, only sensation.) I remained there whilst the dentist administered the anaesthetic injections (yes, there were two!)  We then had a little chat about how personal hypnosis is to an individual, (specifically relating to the sound of seagulls and the smell of barbecuing fish.)  Then he started to drill.  Now this particular drill’s function is to break up the old filling into chunks for easy disposal, and it uses copious quantities of water which create a light mist on the face.  So I popped myself on a sailing boat, leaning hard over towards the water which was gently spraying onto my face.  The sound of the suction became a steady breeze and I tuned out the sound of the drill.  It was spectacular and I was enjoying it so much, that the dentist had to raise his voice to bring me back to full awareness!  With all the filling done, the treatment moved on to cleaning.  It was all going well until it came to one particular tooth and I felt a very unpleasant sensation!  So I deepened the self-hypnosis, spread the dentist’s drug induced numbness to the whole of my mouth and relaxed.  I then emerged with bright, shiny clean teeth, and the only pain involved was the bill.

  2. Hypertension (the medical name for high blood pressure) occurs in approximately 1 in 3 people worldwide and only around 10% of cases can be explained by a medical diagnosis.  For many people there are no indicators that they have a problem (it is sometimes referred to as ‘the silent killer’ as it has no symptoms.)  Left untreated, it can result in severe health problems and shortened life expectancy.  Your chances of developing hypertension increase with age, however it can occur at any age particularly if you are overweight, eat excessive quantities of salt or have a generally poor diet.  Lack of physical exercise, alcohol and caffeine consumption, smoking and a family history can all contribute.  It is worth noting that you do not need to be overweight to have high blood pressure.

    What do you do if you find you have high blood pressure?  Firstly, visit your GP who can rule out any of the conditions which medical tests can diagnose.  Having done that and been given the great news that you are one of the 9 out of 10 people who don’t necessarily require medical treatment, it’s time for you to take control! 

    Start with your diet. Check for hidden salt, reduce fatty foods, perhaps eat smaller portions and up your vegetable intake.  There is lots of help and advice available, so don’t be nervous of trying new ways of eating.  Check your alcohol intake and if it exceeds a healthy level, look at ways of reducing it.  You could try drinking a pint of water between each alcoholic drink, or only drinking every other night.  Try replacing the odd cup of coffee with non-caffeine replacements and ditch the cola. Quitting smoking helps, however, one of the main contributing factors in hypertension is stress, so quit only when you are ready to do so.  Safe exercise will also help (check whether your GP has a view on how much you should do to start with.)

    Emotional stress is the big issue.  Even if you feel as though you are fairly laid back, you may carry an underlying element of being constantly on ‘red alert’.  Suppressed anger, fear, loss, bitterness, betrayal and other extreme emotions may build up, creating a heavy, unseen burden which builds our stress levels without us being aware.  There are many ways to relieve stress including exercise and relaxation techniques, and some people benefit from hypnotherapy specifically aimed at releasing some of these repressed stressors.

    Here are my top 10 tips to reduce hypertension

    1.  Eat less salt

    2.  Eat less saturated fat

    3.  Eat more leafy vegetables

    4.  Reduce alcohol intake

    5. Use the stairs instead of the lift

    6. Spend time with nature

    7.  Meditate (there are lots of groups or download a guided meditation track)

    8.  Avoid unnecessarily stressful situations

    9.  Spend time with uplifting people

    10. Seek treatment and training for stress reduction