RALEIGH — If you have a headache or some other pain in your body, chances are you will take an aspirin. Some people are now finding a drug-free way to rid themselves of bigger pain.
Brooklyn and Mike Winters have happy memories from the day their son, Barret, was born, even though Brooklyn went through 24 hours of hard labor.
"It was a very pleasant experience. I think as pleasant as you can imagine," she says.
The Winters credit a technique called hypnobirthing. Hypnosis is used to help a mother get through childbirth without medication for pain.
Mike helped his wife reach a hypnotic state through visualization. Brooklyn's husband says the nurses compared her experience to another mother-to-be down the hall.
"Her contractions were basically small plateaus that would drop very quickly and she said this woman had been screaming for her epidural," he says. "They said now I want you to look at Brooklyn's, and Brooklyn's were peaking so high that she was peaking off the charts and she was sitting as quiet as a mouse on the bed."
Ilyse Smith, a certified hypnotherapist, says hypnosis used along with traditional medicine has helped a lot of people overcome pain.
"I'll have them imagine a liquid anesthesia moving through their body," she says.
Others imagine pain as an object such as ball. Through hypnosis, you gradually decrease its size. The key is becoming relaxed enough to let your mind take over.
Smith is one of a handful of hynobirthing therapists in North Carolina. She also uses hypnosis to help people quit smoking, change eating habits and decrease stress.
Smith also stresses that hypnosis should only be used along with traditional medication when dealing with serious illnesses.