Before I actually know I’m frightened, my gut tightens, my palms itch. Yes, like you, gentle reader, I’m cursed and blessed—each of us is in our own way—with the old mind-body connection.
And now I’ve undergone a change in my life that I want to share with you. It starts with Melissa Tiers, clinical hypnotist extraordinaire, who puts me in her chair, takes my measure and teaches me self-hypnosis, soothing and healing my brain and feelings as if she’s re-wiring me with a new nervous system.
Hypnosis is a whole new way to approach surgeries and business fights and scary encounters with passersby on Central Park South. Yes, I’m jumpy, but hey that guy who walked by at dusk, whispering, “I’m raping you,” used to be hard to think about without a twitching gut sensation. That is, until I learned finger tapping from Melissa Tiers: tap your fingertips six times on the fleshy side of one hand, then on the crown of the head and then on facial and other acupressure points, repeating a simple upbeat sentence or two. Afterward, I yawn and smile (sometimes it takes three tapping series), and presto chango, I calm down and enjoy this, our short time on the surface of this earth, with ease and even élan.
Melissa, the mother of a small child, wears her natural blonde hair in a ponytail, and looks much younger than her years (it’s about her quicksilver empathy and energy).
I’m so lucky she’s not healing stressed folk in Malibu or Burlington. With our levels of tension, we need her here. She’s spunky, smart as a whip and I’m betting possesses surer emotional intuition than Sigmund Freud (he was a man, after all). Melissa is at the top of her field and also gives graduate training seminars to nurses and other healers.
When I mentioned my insomnia, Melissa gave me a self-hypnosis disc by Australian hypnotherapist Irene Colville called “Relax, Calm and Heal,” with altering state background music. It works. I press two buttons on my player and pull up my bedcovers as I listen to splashing water while the Australian woman I will never meet tells me to relax and that I need not rely on the “oughts” and “shoulds” as she coaches me to sleep. She encourages me to inhale imagined air pockets surrounding my entire body. My insomnia’s based on the fact that I can’t seem to turn off my crackling thoughts for bedtime. And I suddenly find TV re-runs of The Honeymooners urgently seductive. But if I cooperate with the kind Australian stranger, I’m out like my bedside light in 10 minutes. It’s self-hypnosis.
An ultra-conservative research doctor recently told me that Duke University is doing hypnosis experiments on patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). And before a recent operation, two polite (and annoying) medical students monitored me as part of a Mount Sinai hospital experiment that proved hypnosis before operations makes patients heal faster.
Melissa spent a lot of time as a musician. Now she’s committed her life to her amazing, generous practice. She’s earned doctoral degrees in clinical hypnotherapy and alternative healing and teaches classes at institutions, including the Beth Israel School of Nursing. She’s intuitive. She’s efficient. She’s a Manhattan treasure. You can contact Melissa Tiers at firstname.lastname@example.org to experience her healing powers, or to take her workshops and certification seminars. n
Susan Braudy is the author and journalist whose last book, Family Circle: The Boudins and the Aristocracy of the Left, was nominated for a Pulitzer by publisher Alfred Knopf.
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