John Teleska, M.Ed., NBCCH

Integrative Medicine Department, Clifton Springs Hospital &
Private Practice, Pittsford, NY (near Rochester)

Hypnosis for Pain Relief

About John Teleska's practice

About John Teleska

Interview w/ Teleska

Teleska's hypno blog

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Endorsements by colleagues

About hypnotherapy

What is hypnosis?

"Unconscious" means...?

What's it good for?

What will I experience?

How many sessions?

About hypnotic ability

Hypnosis for...

...relief from anxiety
       fears, and phobias

...pain relief

...migraine relief

...birth & comfort

...recovering from trauma
       (including sexual abuse)

...people with cancer

Evidence-based medical uses of hypnosis

Articles by John Teleska

Hypnotic interaction

Engaging hypnotic ability

Modern hypnotherapy

Client comments

Client stories

Selected bibliographies

Uses of hypnosis

Ericksonian hypnotherapy

Pain relief

Relief from migraines

Hypnosis and birth

About Milton Erickson

John Teleska's Music Site

“The pain didn’t decrease, it just felt better. It wasn’t on top of me. I’ve been more focused. I’m getting a sense of what to do with self-hypnosis.”

—B., learning to use self-hypnosis for pain relief

Short-term -vs- long-term (chronic) pain
I know from studies (see references, below) and experience that hypnotherapy is useful support for people learning to gain relief from recurrent pain and pain associated with birth, migraine headache, and post surgical recovery.

Unfortunately, it is also my experience that hypnotherapy is not useful in for an overwhelming majority of people with long-standing chronic pain, excruitiating chronic pain, or for people using opioids for chronic pain relief. Accordingly, I no longer accept such cases.

Learning self-hypnosis as a tool
Part of the work with clients seeking relief from pain is teaching them self hypnosis. In the course of their learning, I make a number of suggestions to their unconscious for how they might accomplish this. How each person actually goes about it is as surprising to me as it is satisfying to them.

The comments above and that follow are from clients who have learned to use their own version of self-hypnosis to regulate their pain and be more comfortable.

Recurrent pain relief

“Whenever the leg pain comes, I close my eyes, and go to a warm beach and stand in the waves up to my ankles. The pain drains away and then I feel better.”

—S., using self-hypnosis and her vivid imagination for relief of recurrent leg pain

“I don't know how to explain this... the pain is just as intense but it's 20 feet behind me... but now I have to consciously think about it to feel it.”

—R., using self-hypnosis to manage back pain

“When the pain starts up, I go to someplace else in my past when I really felt good, and my body remembers how to feel good. That’s it. Then I feel good.”

—J., using self-hypnosis to let his body remember how to feel good

Headache and migraine pain relief (more)

“First I make my lips numb like they feel at the dentist’s; then I touch them with my fingers and rub it on my forehead to make the headache pain go away.”

—E., describing her version of self-hypnosis for relief from headache

“I no longer worry about when the next headache will come. And if I start to get one, just relaxing usually gets rid of it; if not, I take medication, which is more effective than it was before these sessions."

—L., using self-hypnosis to relax and get rid of a migraine headache

Sometimes a shift happens during the session
...and, without further conscious effort on the client’s part, their subsequent experience is more comfortable. That was the case for these next two clients.

Surgical comfort

“It worked! I really thought the whole thing would be pretty horrible. And you said, “Would it be okay if you woke up in the recovery room and everything is fine?” and I took that right in. I was comfortable the night before, going to the hospital, going into surgery, waking up, just being there, coming home… and I haven’t had much pain at all.”

—J., after we worked together two sessions before her surgery

Birth comfort (more)

“When contractions came I just went with them. I had the sense that my body was talking to me and I was listening.”

—K., after we worked several sessions on behalf of a comfortable, healthy birth

“One of the top three easiest and shortest births I’ve experienced.”

——Sherry Sugrue Smith, doula & birth counselor referring to K., above

Bibliography: Hypnosis for pain relief


Barber, J. ed. (1996). Hypnosis and suggestion in the treatment of pain: A clinical guide., W. W. Norton Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110.


Brown, D. C., Hammond, D. C. (2007). Evidence-based clinical hypnosis for obstetrics, labor and delivery, and preterm labor. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 55(3), 355-371.


Fredericks, L. (2001). The use of hypnosis in surgery and anesthesiology., Charles C. Thomas, Publisher, Ltd., 2600 FIrst South Street, Springfield, IL 62704.


Hammond, D. C. (2007). Review of the efficacy of clinical hypnosis with headaches and migraines. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 55(2), 207-219.


Hilgard, E., Hilgard, J. (1994). Hypnosis in the relief of pain, Bruner/Mazel, Inc., 47 Runway Road, Suite G, Levittown, PA 19057.


Montogomery, G., et al. (2002). The effectiveness of adjunctive hypnosis with surgical patients: A meta-analysis. Anesthesia & Analgesia, 94, 1639-45.

 Contact information

John Teleska, M.Ed.
(585) 264-9497

 Office Locations

38 Parkridge Drive
Pittsford, NY 14534
SE of Rochester by Powder Mill Park near Bushnell’s Basin exit 27 of I-490
Integrative Medicine Department
Clifton Springs Hospital
2 Coulter Road
Clifton Springs, NY 14432
between Canandaigua and Geneva,
New York

Copyright © 2016 by John Teleska. All rights reserved. Updated 10/24/16.