I’ve read a few credible accounts by doctors and patients where women under hypnosis but on no other medications went through childbirth and felt no pain. I understand that hypnosis is merely a deeply relaxed, suggestible state. What I don’t understand is how merely being deeply relaxed and suggestible can block pain, particularly the agonizing pain of labor.
What happens physiologically? Does the deeply-relaxed brain release chemicals that work as natural anesthetics? Or does the suggestion do this? After all, if you’re deep into stage four sleep and someone stabs you, you’re going to wake up, right? And if it’s the suggestion itself that does the trick, how and why would the brain respond by releasing whatever chemicals block the pain?
Or is there no chemical reaction whatsoever, in which case, what the hell happens???
Is this merely a version of the placebo effect? Hmm. I guess I don’t understand the physiology of that, either.