What is Self Hypnosis?
If self hypnosis is new territory for you, it may help to understand what's really going on in your mind while you're in hypnosis.
Hypnosis is the act of sending your brain into a relaxed trance. It makes you more suggestible than normal. It is not unnatural, evil, or mind control!
Hypnosis gets a lot of dubious press - most people are familiar with stage hypnotists, who often make fun of very suggestible people in a trance state. They convince their victims to perform embarrassing tricks such as flapping around like a chicken or humping a chair.
In the real world, hypnosis has much more productive uses in therapy and personal development. It gives you the ability to talk to your inner self and program your unconscious mind. So let's dispel a few myths about hypnosis
What Are Common Hypnosis "Scams"?
Because hypnosis has the power to alter important aspects of your life, it is vital for you to protect yourself from the "quacks" that are unfortunately so abundant in the field of hypnosis.
The best thing you can do is educate yourself on hypnosis and its legitimate uses so no one can mislead for a sale.
Here are a few tips to start with:
Researchers have edged closer to understanding what causes the hypnotic state in the first place. It seems that hypnotic induction turns something like a dimmer switch in the brain’s frontal lobes. These regions are thought to generate “higher-order thoughts” – reflective awareness of your own wants and needs and motives. Take that away, it seems, and you begin to do and feel things without realising why. That might explain why students tanked up on alcoholic drinks – the equivalent to two pints of beer – score much higher on the standard hypnotisability tests; alcohol is known to dampen frontal lobe activity, says Zoltan Dienes at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK.
Along these lines, much of the work so far has been devoted to studying whether hypnotic suggestion could be used in place of painkillers. Randomised controlled trials have also investigated whether hypnosis could reduce stress, help cancer patients with their fatigue during chemotherapy, treat irritable bowel syndrome, and even boost students’ learning of new skills.
Around the year 2000, however, the research began to take a more macabre turn: rather than taking the ill and making them better, psychologists used it to plant delusions in the minds of the healthy. Like Gilles de la Tourette’s studies a hundred years before, one of the first investigations was inspired by a patient suffering from ‘hysterical paralysis’ – the sensation that she could not move her left leg, even though there was no physical disability. To see if they could recreate the disorder, researchers hypnotised a subject to feel the same sensations, and placed him in a brain scanner. The results – published in the medical journal The Lancet – revealed exactly the same pattern of activity in his brain as the hysterical patient, strongly supporting the possibility that hypnosis could be used to test hypotheses about real mental conditions.
Since then, psychologists have used it to conjure many other types of delusion, including erotomania, Capgras syndrome – the sensation that your loved ones have been replaced by a doppelganger – and mirror misidentification, in which people fail to recognise their own reflections. “Patients may cover up all the mirrors in their house because they think the stranger is following them around,” explains Cox, who carried out many of the studies. Hypnosis, she says, can produce almost identical symptoms. “Both are compellingly real, believed with conviction, and resistant to rational counterargument.” It is completely reversible, the researchers reassure me – all subjects leave the labs free of delusion.