The subconscious mind holds many aspects of our being.
Our emotions, imagination, deeply seated beliefs, our potential, and automatic physical responses are thought to be governed by this part of our mind.
The decisions we make, our perceptions, and the way we shape our lives are believed to be linked to these subconscious patterns.
What Is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a widely used tool to access the subconscious mind. This practice has evolved and developed over the centuries. Hypnosis initially became popular in the 1880’s and continues to be redefined and adapted based on new theories and techniques.
The practice of hypnotherapy is simply described as therapy under hypnosis. During this process, the conscious mind and the body are in a natural, relaxed state. The subconscious mind is alert and thought to be receptive to suggestion. This ‘communication-education’ process involves receiving messages targeted at the subconscious to create a new reality. Hypnosis allow for re-programming of patterns, behaviours, and ways of reacting to different situations.
Some of common applications for hypnotherapy include:
- Releasing and managing anxiety, stress, depression, or panic
- Improving relaxation
- Developing confidence and/or self-esteem
- Pain management
- Stoping habits such as smoking, drugs, gambling, alcohol, teeth grinding, nail biting, and so forth
- Overcoming sleep disorders such as insomnia
- Helping with weight loss or gain
- Overcoming phobias and fears such as heights, spiders, water, needles, and so forth.
- Improving motivation
- Dealing with grief, loss or mental torment
- Improving cognitive ability such as enhancing memory retention
- Emotional management
- Altering unwanted habitual behaviour
Can Hypnotherapy Improve Male Fertility?
There are many hypnotherapists that would promote the use of this practice for improving fertility for both men and women. This is partly due to the ability to use hypnosis to better manage stress and anxiety.
People struggling with fertility and trying to conceive are more likely to experiences higher levels of stress. For men this can affect sperm quality. Studies have shown that men experiencing excessive stress produce less sperm and poorer quality sperm1.
Stress has a wide range of physiological effects on the male body. Prolonged exposure to stress will lead to a decline in testosterone levels. This can disrupt sperm production and potentially cause erectile dysfunction.
Not only will stress interfere with hormone production and concentration, it will also elevate reactive oxygen species (ROS). High concentrations of ROS causes damage to the sperm membrane and results in DNA fragmentation2 3. The resulting abnormal sperm lowers overall reproductive capacity.
Hypnotherapy and IVF Success
A study focusing on women undergoing IVF treatment has found a positive correlation between hypnotherapy and successful implantation. A group of 185 women participated in the research. Twenty-eight percent of the women hypnotised became pregnant following IVF treatment, compared with 14% of women within the control group4.
The hypnosis was performed at the crucial point of the IVF procedure. This is the stage where the embryos are transferred to the uterus awaiting implantation. Usually considered the most stressful time during IVF treatments, Levitas and colleagues argue that the use of hypnosis helps to alleviate this stress and improve pregnancy rates.
The female body must have the right balance of hormones to support ovulation, fallopian tube function, fertilisation, and egg implantation. By reducing stress levels, the regulation of key fertility hormones including FSH and LH can be better supported. This many increase the success rate of IVF treatments.
There have been no actual studies confirming that hypnotherapy improves male fertility. However, based on the fact that this therapy has ability to reduce stress and anxiety suggests that it may have some benefit. Research has already found a positive link between hypnotherapy and successful IVF treatments in women. With more clinical research and established benefits, it’s possible that hypnotherapy will become a standard technique in the treatment of male sub-fertility.
- Jurewicz J, Hanke W, Sobala W, Merecz D, Radwan M. The Effect of Stress on the Semen Quality. Medycyna pracy. 2010. 61(6): 607-13 ↩
- Aitken RJ, Baker MA. Oxidative Stress, Sperm Survival and Fertility Control. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. 2006. 250(1-2): 66-9 ↩
- Sikka SC. Oxidative Stress and Role of Antioxidants in Normal and Abnormal Sperm Function. Frontiers in Bioscience. 1996. 1: e78-86 ↩
- Levitas E, Parmet A, Lunenfeld E, Bentov Y, Burstein E, Friger M, Potashnik G. Impact of Hypnosis During Embryo Transfer on the Outcome of in Vitro Fertilization-Embryo Transfer: A Case-Control Study. Fertility and Sterility. 2006. 85(5): 1404-8 ↩