Hypnotherapy for arthritis article Steven Harold


by Steven Harold

Almost two years ago I attended a course run by hypnotherapist John Howard. It was a one day course called Holistic Hypnotherapy. I already had the usual bag of hypnotherapy tools for helping clients in physical discomfort but I was intrigued. The mail shot I received suggested direct physical healing with hypnotherapy was possible.

On the day of the course John did many demonstrations, but since none of us had arrived with arthritis, he showed the effectiveness of one particular technique on a woman who was suffering from a headache (because of over indulgence the night before !). She reported the easing of the headache within a few minutes.

I personally, was more interested in the healing of conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, strokes, cancer, burns and scalds to name but a few. As I was to discover, the technique basically involves using the client’s imagination to change the imagined, colour, texture, appearance etc of any part of the body, so that it complies with the client’s idea of restored health.

The technique as applicable to arthritis is as follows:-

1) Explain the outline of the technique to the client.
2) Find out which part of the client is the most painful / uncomfortable joint (EG. left hand) and get an approximation of the level of the discomfort in that joint on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being no discomfort at all and 10 being the worst. (NB. it is important to record the level of their discomfort on the day of the treatment)
3) Assure the clients that it does not matter whether they believe in the technique or not. Just ask them to go along with your instructions and that the only resource they need is their imagination.
4) Achieve a light to medium trance. They will go deeper naturally as the technique progresses.
5) Thank the subconscious for looking after the client. Set up a communication system with the subconscious mind such as looking for ideomotor responses. Question the subconscious to discover if the arthritis has an emotional cause or a purely physical cause.
6) If the subconscious indicates a purely physical cause then you can proceed with the next step. If there is an underlying emotional cause, then that needs to be resolved by hypnoanalysis or any other appropriate techniques before continuing.
7) If the client’s permission has been granted, the hypnotherapist should hold the affected joint (in this example, the client’s left hand) between the hands. (You can still use this technique even if you are unable to touch the client for any reason)
8) Ask the client to imagine that they have x ray vision and that they are going to perform an internal examination of the affected hand and to report back when they have had a good look around. Don’t expect an immediate response!
9) Now begins a series of questions and suggestions for healing, regarding every part of the area under examination.
a) Hypno: ‘What colour is the bone ?’ Client: ‘Creamy brown’
b) Hypno: ‘Is that the correct colour ?’ Client: ‘No, it should be white’
c) Hypno: ‘How can we change the colour ? Client: ‘I don’t know’
d) Hypno: ‘Could we use some cream to rub into the bone or some magic paint to change the colour ?’ Client: ‘We could paint it white’
e) Hypno: ‘Okay, go ahead and paint the bone and tell me when it is done’ Client: ‘It is done now’
f) Hypno: ‘How is the colour now ?’ Client: ‘It is completely white’
g) Hypno: ‘What condition is the bone in ? Client: ‘It looks a little pitted’
h) Hypno: ‘How can we change that?’ Client: ‘We could fill in the holes and smooth it down’
i) Hypno: ‘How will you smooth it down’ Client: ‘ I could use some sand paper’
j) Hypno: Okay, go ahead and tell me when it is done

10) This type of encouragement continues until every part of the hand has been looked at. Get the client to look at blood vessels, muscle, tendons, nerves etc.,
11) If the client can not think of a solution, the hypnotherapist can suggest ideas. 

12) Lastly, the hypnotherapist should inquire whether the area is lubricated sufficiently. Even if the client says that it is okay, the hypnotherapist should still go through a process to make sure of that. This can take the form of looking for a pipe that delivers lubricant to the area. The questions should check on quality of lubricant and quantity.
13) Before the client is brought out of hypnosis, you should get them to imagine moving the joint just like a well oiled, and superbly engineered part… smoothly, easily, gently, gliding, easing, releasing movement etc.,
14) Once out of hypnosis you ask the client to move it for real and to become aware of any difference.

I wanted to test this technique before I felt confident about it. I therefore decided to carry out some private research. I approached a local newspaper and they printed an article which requested volunteers for a hypnotherapy / arthritis research program. I received 20 responses. I devised a measure to record the usability and comfort of a joint before and after each session test. The measure was a scale of 1 to 10 with ‘1’ representing free and easy movement and ’10’ being extremely difficult , little or no movement.

The results I received were stunning. One person, who had arrived the first week with a walking stick didn’t feel the need for it the next time he came. Other people had commented on his increased mobility, and he was extremely pleased with the results. Another volunteer was seen, after she had left the practice, waving her previously painful hand in the air without any care or discomfort.

I supported the treatment I gave each client with a self hypnosis tape that repeated the technique so that they could work on any other joints themselves. For those people who I was not able to see as part of the project, I supplied a copy of the arthritis self hypnosis tape as I still wanted to help them in some way. As part of my follow up procedure I discovered that those who were given the tape only, did not enjoy anywhere near the success of those who I had been able to see personally.

I am unable to give a clear conclusion about the long term benefits of this method (by itself) because

a) I encouraged all my clients to seek additional help to maintain and improve their condition. by this I mean particularly looking at their diet and to this end suggested that they invest in Margaret Hill’s book, ‘Curing Arthritis the drug free way’
b) it has only been 2 years since my first treatments with this method

The technique is quite transferable between different ailments, with few modifications. More details are explained in John Howard’s book, ‘The Simple Secrets of the Power to Heal’. If anyone wants more information about my experience or support with this technique my email address is :-


In support of the transferable nature of John’s methods I was reminded of my colleague, George Topping’s experience with a client who is HIV positive. The client had a problem with his vocal chords and was constantly speaking with a hoarse, husky voice. The client’s doctor informed him that he would never recover the use of some of his vocal chords. George applied the principles of John’s technique to the clients voice box and has had such effective results that the client has now joined us in the therapy world.

We all may, at times, fall into the trap of making processes unnecessarily complicated. The belief being that in order for a technique to be effective there must be many and varying stages to it. I was reminded of the mnemonic KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid !). I believe that it certainly applies to this method.

Contact: Linda Alexander, Glasgow and East Renfrewshire on 0141 632 1440 and 07875 493 358, also linda.alexander@talktalk.net

Return to About Hypnotherapy