It is largely accepted that many of the theories of motivation and of what has now developed into the profession of coaching flowed from the area of sports. Indeed, the term “coach” has been synonymous with the sporting profession for some time.
Apart from this, the surprising results from laboratory tests on the effects of the mind on the body, confirmed that working with the mind could indeed improve the performance on the field. Athlete’s bodies were hooked up to sensitive measuring equipment that could record the movements of energy through muscles and nerves. What was found was that the equipment recorded the same muscle and nerve responses whether the athlete was actually engaged in physical activity, or, just imagining being engaged in the activity while in the correct frame of mind (in sport parlance this state is known as the “flow-state”, essentially the same as hypnosis).
This was a really amazing and significant finding, in that it demonstrated for the first time that the brain causes neural pathways to be fired regardless of whether the body was engaged in actual physical activity. Therefore, training the mind to run a race, to putt a golf ball or to score a goal will in fact train the body to do just that when engaged in the real activity.
When Wigan Athletic were promoted to the English Soccer Premiership in 2005 many were surprised at how well they performed. This is a team with no experience of top-flight football in their career, with few known players and with little money to invest, and yet they ended the 05 / 06 season ahead of many richer and better-known Premiership teams. It was then reported that the team employed a Hypnotherapist as part of their coaching staff who trained the players to repeat in their minds what they did best on the pitch.
Apart from these types of interventions, the use of coaching and hypnosis can go much further. For example, the clarification, setting and achievement of goals will greatly improve sports performance. For the mind to totally support the body, it must know exactly what the required outcome is! If a golfer has a goal in mind to win the tournament and can see him / herself holding the cup aloft, but also has a goal to hit the longest drives, then his / her mind has a conflict – which is it to focus on? A confused subconscious will ensure a confused result. So working through goals is paramount.
Hypnotherapy is also the best tool to allow the client to access the flow state, that state of mental alertness together with physical relaxation. This is a state where accelerated learning can occur, and where the client can use the subconscious mind in the best possible way, whether it is to develop the right feelings and attitudes when performing, or to visualise goals and outcomes.
The client can also be worked with to give him or her the mental fortitude to cope with the demands of competition, and for dealing with the pressure of performing to the highest levels on a consistent basis. We can also work to help the client work with issues such as self-awareness, and of being in the public eye.
It is also possible to help speed up healing from injury using the deep relaxed state of hypnosis. It has been shown in many clinical trials that hypnosis can facilitate an increase in the speed with which the human body can repair itself.
Indeed there have been a number of recent articles outlining the increasing use of Hypnosis during surgical operations on a worldwide basis – a term has even been coined called Hypno-anaesthesia for this phenomena – as an alternative to the use of drugs. It is based upon the fact that like all reality, pain is actually “created” in the brain, in response to certain signals from the nervous system. That being the case, it stands to reason that the brains reaction to these signals can be modified, and the most effective non-medication means of facilitating this is through Hypnosis.
Obviously, the applications of this phenomena goes far beyond sports injuries, and expends to Childbirth, Cancer, Migraine and other painful conditions.
It has to be made clear that Affirmative Therapy would only use Hypnosis as a means of Pain Management when a full medical examination has been carried out, and it has been deemed safe to do so. Pain is the body’s natural response to damage and can be seen as a natural signal that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. For example, we would not deal with such complaints as Migraine before it is clear that there is no physical underlying causes first.