Hypnotherapy helps Kent State student cure migraines

Rachel Hagenbaugh

For one Kent State student, nothing would make his migraines go away until he tried hypnotherapy.

Mason Smith, senior music education major, said he went to a hypnotherapist when he was in middle school. He used to get migraines, and no other medical technique worked. Before he tried hypnotherapy, his headaches were so bad that he’d miss school at least once or twice each week.

He said hypnotherapy mostly involves a lot of meditation. “The idea is to make you relax as much as possible and be open to anything,” Smith said.

In the 1700s, Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer believed that illnesses were cause by magnetic fluids in the body that were out of balance, according to the University Maryland Medical Center. He used magnets and other hypnotic techniques to treat people.

Smith went to a therapist once a week for two months, and the migraines slowed down.  Eventually, he stopped having migraines and didn’t need to see the therapist anymore, but he still uses the techniques he learned there, he said.

When a person is hypnotized, they are put in a trance. While they are very open to what their therapist is saying, the therapist does not have the ability to control the patient’s mind or alter his or her free will, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

If the therapist asked Smith to do something he didn’t want to do, he could “snap out of it.” Therapists want to keep you as comfortable as possible, he said.

To make him relax, Smith said his therapist told him to imagine a peaceful place. Smith said the therapist’s main goal was teaching him how to calm himself down. He learned how to control his breathing and heart rate.

“It’s all a mind power game,” Smith said.

Every once in awhile, Smith said he’ll feel a headache coming and start his breathing and relaxing exercises.

Smith also tried hypnotherapy at the Ohio State Fair.  He said it started out similar to the treatments he had for his migraines.  He’d completely relax and forget his surroundings.

Smith said he couldn’t remember the therapist talking to the other volunteers.  He said he knew where he was and was fully conscious, but couldn’t remember everything the therapist had him do.

He remembered one exercise where he felt like he was underwater.  He said he felt very light, like he was floating.

“It made you feel as if you were sleeping,” Smith said.

Contact Rachel Hagenbaugh at [email protected].