Sometimes major advances in a field come from outside the field! In this case, a thesis out of Harvard—from the Robotics program, not medicine—looked at the use of hypnosis to help stroke patients regain mobility, even years after a stroke. It turns out that hypnosis helps and warrants further study!
The wife of a stroke patient and military veteran did a lot of research online on anything that might help her husband regain his mobility on his right side. She came across a thesis at Harvard that reported on the research on six patients and how hypnosis helped them improve mobility.
She contacted me and asked if I could try hypnotherapy with her husband who was three years out after having his stroke that left his right side paralyzed.
Once he agreed, of course I said, YES!
A thesis from the Harvard robotics program discusses successful results of using hypnosis to improve mobility after a stroke—more than six months out. This study indicates that neuro-rehabilitation using hypnosis needs further study because it helped Improve mobility in the six patients they studied.
With my background in hypnotherapy, medical physiology and anatomy, I knew it was possible to craft a plan to help this man.
This stroke patient, now three years after his stroke, still had all the anatomical connections for mobility to be possible, according to his neurologist. All that was missing was his brain's ability to communicate with his body. With all the necessary anatomy intact, it was just a matter of helping the brain to learn how to tell his body to move.
After seven months of hypnotherapy sessions, my stroke client is now able to do things he could not do before our work together: kick a ball with his right foot, pedal the elliptical machine with his right foot, stand taller and longer without sagging, roll over in a controlled movement, feel and use three previously numb/paralyzed fingers on his right hand, use his right arm to support himself, and more. His PTs and neurologist are very pleased, and so is he!
About six months into hypnotherapy, the wife's research lead them to add Lion's Mane Mushroom, clinically proven to aid in memory and neurological health, to his regimen. He is now able to read for the first time in three years since the stroke. We have worked on confidence, forgiveness, and a great deal of specific suggestions for building mind-body connections and mobility. Although he is not walking yet, he has made more progress in these seven months than in the last three years.
In the United States, it is common practice for American physicians to tell stroke patients not to expect any more improvements after six months of therapy. In Europe, stroke survivors continue with therapy for six, eight or more years after a stroke, and they continue to make improvements.
The reason for this is the brain's "plasticity," the technical term for the brain's innate ability to take over the functions of a part of the brain that is injured. The process takes time but it does happen!