Life In Berlin: Dental Hypnosis In Berlin

May 18, 2016

A London dentist preparing a patient for dental work through hypnosis in 1954. The practice of hypnotising patients before surgical or dental work has been around since the mid-1800s.
A London dentist preparing a patient for dental work through hypnosis in 1954. The practice of hypnotising patients before surgical or dental work has been around since the mid-1800s.
Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

When most people hear the word hypnosis, they think of those variety shows, in which a hypnotist gets people to do very embarrassing things.

But what if you could use its obvious power for something greater than just entertainment? What if you could use it to help people overcome fears? Like the fear of dentists.

“Are you in any way afraid?” I ask Gerd Rieger. He’s come to the dental practice of Dr. Elisabeth von Mezynski in Berlin to get a new crown fitted. Unlike in a regular dentist’s practice, in addition to anesthetic she uses hypnosis.

“Yes, a little afraid of pain.”

The consultation begins with Dr. von Mezynski lulling him into a trance, getting him to concentrate on his inner world.

“…use your breathing and concentration to begin to go inside yourself,” Dr. von Mezynski instructs Rieger.

Once he’s in the trance, she gets him to lift his left hand. She instructs him to move it only if he feels pain. It’s like a little pain barometer.

“Your left hand is looking after you,” Dr. von Mezynski tells him.

And then she goes about her dentist work, seemingly with no restraint, pulling, scraping and even giving Gerd instructions, like to open his mouth a little wider, which he then follows.

“So I’m aware that she’s speaking to me now, but on the other hand, in my thoughts, I’m away,” Rieger tells me in the chair.

And then, after about 30 minutes, it’s over. She counts back from 3 and wakes him up.

“Three, two, one,” Dr. von Mezynski tells Rieger. “Open your eyes. Wide awake. Feel free to move your left hand. Did you feel anything?”

“Pain?” Rieger replies. “Yes.”

Afterwards, he confirms that he did actually feel pain, but he says he just reinterpreted the pain in his dream world, so it never became conscious in this world.

“I didn’t want to feel the pain, so I found a way to reframe it as a color, in this case, and then I went back,” Rieger tells me.

So the pain was there, but according to Dr. von Mezynski, his brain chose to re-categorize it:

“Pain signals do arrive in the brain, but they get changed on a neurological level so that we barely feel the pain, if at all.”

It’s because of these incredible results with pain that many people like Gerd visit the over 150 dentists who offer hypnosis in the city. And Berlin is not alone in its enthusiasm for the ancient practice.

“Germany has the highest percentage of hypnosis dentists throughout Europe,” says Dr Albrecht Schmierer, founder of the German Society of Dental Hypnosis. He says around 20 percent of German dentists already offer hypnosis as an option.

As it gets accepted by more of the medical mainstream, perhaps one day hypnosis will be taken just as seriously as laughing gas.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s