Hypnosis achieves a heightened state of suggestibility, making it a powerful force for overcoming fears, conquering phobias, and for reaching health, wellness, and professional goals. Hypnosis gives you the staying power to stop smoking, achieve significant weight loss, and resolve many other issues.
During the session, your eyes will be closed and you will feel yourself drifting deep into a relaxed state. For many people, hypnosis feels similar to meditation, or to a flow state. The chattering mind turns off. In a relaxed hypnotic state, you easily, effortlessly, comfortably tap into your subconscious, a source of solutions and intuition.
The word “hypnosis” was coined by Dr. James Braid in 1840 from the Greek word meaning “sleep” because he was convinced that the trance-like state that he employed was akin to sleep. Later, he recognized that hypnosis was not sleep; but the term had already gained common currency.
The form of relaxation experienced under hypnosis is essentially a quieting of the nervous system. Researchers have noticed that hypnosis is accompanied by a dampening of the sympathetic level of arousal. The breath rate decreases, the heartbeat slows, and the systolic blood pressure may drop. Some people experience changes in body temperature, as well as a drop in muscle activity.
Research has also shown that hypnosis typically activates right hemisphere activity. It is possible that reducing the dominance of the left hemisphere might minimize the brain’s filter. Researchers theorize that during hypnosis we experience far more of our brain’s tremendous ability as compared to what is usually blocked by left brain dominance.
fMRI studies of people in hypnosis have also revealed a decrease in the area called the dorsal anterior cingulate, a region of the brain that select which stimuli are deserving of our attention. In hypnosis, you’re so absorbed you’re not worrying about anything else. fMRI researchers also observed reduced connections in parts of the brain that link our actions to conscious awareness. During hypnosis, you can accept suggestions about improved performance without devoting mental resources to being self-conscious about the activity.
Hypnosis has been well-researched and has proven to provide lasting relief from a wide range of issues. Hypnosis is among the most studied interventions in neuroscience – with over 12,000 peer-reviewed clinical research papers that demonstrate its profound, positive effects.
Hypnosis was first used medically in the West in the mid-1800s as an antidote to pain during surgery. Anesthetics had not yet been discovered, and 50% of all surgical patients died from the neurogenic shock of extreme pain. Before hypnosis, surgeons could offer their patients only strong alcohol. Then, with the aid of hypnosis, the Scottish surgeon James Esdaile performed about 3,000 surgeries between 1845 and 1851 without any reported patient pain and with a death rate reduced to 5%. However, at this same time, anesthesia began being used. The comparative ease and speed of administering drugs meant that hypnosis was never again the pain killer of choice for surgeons.
Scientists have continued to study the positive effects of hypnosis for many different types of issues. Peer-reviewed studies have proven that hypnosis can help improve sleep. It can ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Can quell hot flashes. Hypnosis is often employed to relieve anxieties related to other medical procedures, like surgery, visits to the dentist, or even giving birth. Hypnosis eases pain in patients with multiple sclerosis. It reduces fatigue in patients undergoing cancer treatment. It has been shown to have potential for broad clinical application and lasting benefits to stroke survivors. Studies have also shown hypnosis reduces health care costs — patients who use it stay in the hospital for shorter periods and use less medication. Because it is so effective, hypnosis is now available to patients at some of the most respected medical institutions in the country, including Stanford Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, Mount Sinai Medical Center and Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.
Click here to access a brief bibliography of recent clinical studies.
The range of conditions and problems which can be treated or improved using hypnosis is impressively broad. Here are some of them: Anxiety, stress, nerves, panic attacks, phobias, self confidence, self esteem, weight control, stopping smoking, shyness, blushing, stammering, stage fright, performance anxiety, public speaking, driving test nerves, exam nerves, nightmares, bed wetting, nail biting, hair-pulling, bereavement, memory, insomnia, blood pressure (hypertension), assertiveness, pain control, obsessions, compulsions, grief, sexual problems, relationship problems, motivation, concentration, sports performance improvement, business enhancement, and fears such as the fear of flying, sailing, or driving.
Celebrities who have benefitted from hypnosis include Adele, Lenny Kravitz, Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Kim Kardashian, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Ellen Degeneres, Drew Barrymore, Ashton Kutcher, Charlize Theron, Billy Joel, Brittany Spears, Sylvester Stallone, Dolly Parton, Kevin Costner, Bruce Willis, James Earl Jones, Debra Messing, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicholas, Jimmy Connors, and David Beckham.
Within the general population, most people are hypnotizable. Some enter into the trance state almost immediately, while others take a few minutes longer. As long as you wish to enter hypnosis, you will experience success. The best predictors are a propensity to become absorbed in imagery or imagination and a knack for blocking out the surrounding world. If you've ever been deeply absorbed in stories, movies or drama, or if you've ever found yourself lost in a daydream, or were so engaged in an activity that you lost track of time, you've already experience a version of a hypnotic trance.