While NLP can be applied to nearly any type of human activity, from business to social relations, some practitioners use it exclusively to enhance the healing process. Based on the theory that the mind and one's beliefs and emotions have a vast power over what goes on in the body, NLP seeks to assist people in changing their beliefs about their illnesses and consequently about their ability to heal.
NLP proponents argue that helping people discover limiting beliefs about their conditions allows them to direct their thoughts or beliefs in a more positive manner. The redirected thought patterns allow the brain to engage the immune system. In other words, if sick people can discover their negative ideas are about their conditions, they can replace them with positive, healing thoughts that allow them to think, will, or imagine themselves back to health. NLP practitioners say that many sick people identify with their illness. Thus they would not say, "I have this condition of diabetes," but, "I am a diabetic." The disease becomes their identity. The NLP practitioner seeks to help the patient separate from these negative and false identifications. This separation allows the person to regain a balanced identity in which family, social and work relationships and value systems, talents and beliefs are given their appropriate value.
An NLP practitioner guides the patient in reinforcing pleasant memories while diminishing those that are upsetting or negative. In a typical technique, the practitioner instructs the patient to think of a particular experience and to imagine it as a black-and-white photo taken from afar. The patient is then instructed to monitor his or her feelings as the photograph of the same scene changes to an extreme close-up with vibrant, bold colors. This technique allows patients to recapture the positive feelings of a good event and to distance themselves from those that were unpleasant. NLP practitioners closely observe a patient's physical reaction to these mental images and thus help identify both the destructive and helpful thought patterns.
One of the two main health-related techniques of NLP is reframing a past situation or event that may have left a negative imprint and have a negative effect on physical well being. Thoughts of an event such as a car crash cause muscles to tense and create discomfort. By learning to change the internal representations of the event and to relax, a crash victim can become less prone to whiplash or other muscle spasms and pain. The second major technique asks patients to visualize their bodies working in a particular, positive way. If a patient with allergies to dairy foods can project a mental motion picture of herself eating and enjoying cheese, then she can overcome her allergy by overcoming her body's inappropriate activation of the immune system against dairy products. Proponents of NLP say the technique is especially useful in teaching people to deal with phobias and undesirable habits. NLP can bring about lifestyle changes that promote health – changes in diet and exercise patterns for example. Others go as far as to claim that NLP can reimprint the brain and thus trigger the necessary immunological responses to promote healing. Although NLP can be a form of self-care, it is necessary to begin with a practitioner experienced in healing. Not all NLP practitioners are trained in the techniques of the healing process.
[Source: Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, Edition 1, 1999 p2056.]
Excerpts from Alternative Therapies Magazine's Article on NLP
By identifying and removing an individual's limiting beliefs about his of her condition, NLP has been shown to benefit a variety of health conditions and illnesses. Once these beliefs are redirected, the body is better able to utilize its immune system. Dr. David Paul MD a Medical Director is reported to use NLP frequently in his practice. Dr. Paul and his staff have developed a technique that uses language patterns based on NLP in a drug-less technique to reduce the discomfort involved in placing dislocated shoulders. He reported that ninety-five percent of the time the shoulder can be put painlessly back in its socket without the use of morphine, Valium or similar products.
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