Hypnotherapy to Promote Fertility
by Jim Schwartz, BCH
Originally published in the Bellies, Birth and Babies publication, Winter 2004
When most people think of hypnotherapy, they think of losing weight, smoking cessation or issues such as overcoming fears and phobias, but few people are aware of how hypnotherapy is being used for promoting fertility.
Several thousand years ago, the Chinese observed that women who had difficulty conceiving often had an underlying emotional issue that was preventing conception. This concept is once again receiving serious consideration as infertility has become more prevalent in our society.
Christiane Northrup in her book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, talked about the mind/body connection—the importance of a healthy mind as well as a healthy body—and how it can impact fertility. Northrup wrote: “Regardless of what you’ve been told about your fertility, you need to know that your ability to conceive is profoundly influenced by the complex interaction among psychosocial, psychological, and emotional factors, and that you can consciously work with this to enhance your ability to have a baby.”
Is the mind really strong enough to interfere with conception? That question has been the focus of several recent infertility studies. Dr Elizabeth Muir, a clinical psychologist based in London, who specializes in treating infertility, conducted a study where hypnotherapy was added to the fertility program for women with unexplained infertility. Muir says, “Hypnotherapy works on the premise that the conscious and subconscious minds may be at odds with each other. I believe that while a woman might consciously want a baby, her subconscious may be stopping her from getting pregnant. Most women I see have psychosomatic infertility related to conflicts or unresolved issues about having a baby.” The results of Muir’s study were that forty-five percent of the women with unexplained infertility were able to conceive.
In her research, Dr. Muir discussed how hypnotherapy affects the hypothalamus gland. The hypothalamus gland is a tiny region of the forebrain that sends out the signals which control the flow of hormones in the body. Muir found that this gland was sensitive to stress and acted as a bridge between the emotional and the physical. She discovered that hypnotherapy could be used to reduce stress which in turn would allow the hypothalamus gland to trigger the hormone production that was conducive to successful reproduction.
Other studies regarding the mind/body connection to fertility have been conducted in recent years. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association found that 42 percent of the 132 infertile women in a mind/body program conceived within six months of completing the program. A third study published in the journal, Fertility and Sterility, found that found that 55 percent of the previously infertile women in a mind/body program conceived, compared with 20 percent of the control group.
So what kinds of fears or issues or roadblocks might keep a woman from conceiving? There may be subconscious issues around pregnancy, labor, childbirth, hospitals, medical treatments, motherhood, loss of independence, questions about their husband’s ability to be a good father, unresolved dysfunctional patterns from a woman’s own childhood, worries about balancing a family and a career or simply the fear of failure to conceive under the financial and psychological pressure that often comes with medical reproductive procedures.
For the couple experiencing infertility issues, hypnotherapy is a powerful tool that can bring to light and help resolve subconscious material that might be preventing a successful pregnancy. In three to four sessions, hypnotherapy helps the individual explore the mental and emotional elements that are often overlooked when trying to achieve a healthy conception.
Jim Schwartz is an NGH certified hypnotherapist and Director of the Rocky Mountain Hypnotherapy Center. Jim and his wife Julie, an Acupuncturist, run a healing center located in Lakewood where they specialize in hypnotherapy and acupuncture to promote fertility. You can contact Jim at (303) 987-1604 or www.rmhypnotherapy.com.