I have tried many different treatments in order to help me wear a CPAP mask. I have had 12 sleep studies, tried nearly 20 masks, attended special mask fitting sessions, and even went to a psychotherapist who specializes in helping people tolerate wearing the mask. But none of these treatments were successful – I still could not wear my CPAP mask.
I was desperate for sleep, so when I learned that my physical therapist was also trained in hypnosis I decided to give it a try. (I knew Teresa Sienkiewicz very well and I figured that if she believed in hypnosis and spent her time and money studying it, then I should give it a try.)
I had just one session with Teresa and the results of it far exceeded any expectations I had going into it. My experience of hypnotic trance was actually not what I expected – I thought I was supposed to feel groggy and out of touch, just the way I saw in movies, but as I now understand I was completely wrong. During the session I felt very relaxed and peaceful, but not out of touch. In fact, I felt very alert (my body was extremely comfortable, but my mind was completely alert). Because of that I thought I was not hypnotized and I thought that the session in no way would help me wear my mask. But since I was already there, I decided to make the best of it and enjoy the beautiful sense of calm I was experiencing, even though I thought it would not solve my problem with the CPAP mask. I did enjoyed hearing the positive suggestions that Teresa gave me, and I really enjoyed the feeling of peace and calm in my body when I was sitting in the recliner chair. When the session ended, I thanked Teresa and went home, all the while thinking that the treatment was nice, but unfruitful.
To my surprise, I slept that night with the mask on! I thought it was a fluke, but the same happened next night, then the next night, then the next. That’s when I realized that I was hypnotized during the session. Nothing else could have resulted in such a drastic change (for years I had not been able to use the mask at all).
Teresa gave me a recording of my session and explained to me how to do self-hypnosis. I do self-hypnosis every day, but have listened to the recording only a few times – I feel like I don’t even need to listed to the recording because I have Teresa’s suggestions in my head and I refer back to them not just when I am wearing a sleep apnea mask, but also when I am trying to do other difficult things in my life. I think that self-hypnosis plays a role in my treatment being so successful and in the longevity of the success.
As a patient, I would say that the most important factor was to have complete trust in the hypnotherapist. I trust Teresa, as she truly cares about her patients and you can feel her healing energy when she is completely focused on you. She has a wonderful rapport with her patients. I believe that if she did not have this gift, hypnotherapy might have not been as successful (and its results would have not been as immediate) as it was in my case.