Dying patients frequently experience altered states of consciousness toward the end of life. Unfortunately, the vocabulary we have to discuss such states is limited. Delirium is a word often used. However, the word delirium has a completely negative connotation, whereas some altered states are pleasant, even ecstatic. Altered states are nothing unusual in and of themselves. Whenever we dream we experience an "altered state," compared to wakeful consciousness. We have come to accept this as normal. In dying patients at certain times altered states may also be normal. As we shall see, the issue often is not so much what is "normal" as whether suffering is associated with the altered state. Such patients describe remarkably consistent phenomenology including a white light, being in a tunnel, serenity, deceased loved ones, life review and, in some cases, floating out of the body (out-of-body experiences - OBEs). Comparable experiences have been reported in various types of meditative and altered states, traumatic psychological events, or seemingly without cause. This work studies a scientific review of the modified states of consciousness at the end of life, and the benefits that the patients can have using self-hypnosis and meditative states, to improve serenity and peace at the end of life.
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