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Hypnosis - the
state between sleeping and waking
|Hypnosis is a
state of consciousness one enters and leaves naturally all the
time during your day-to day experiences. It feels very much like
day dreaming i.e., the state between sleeping and waking.
Hypnosis is a guided fantasy. In this state of relaxation you
are more open to suggestions. In this state (also called alpha)
your brain wave vibration rate slows down, giving you access to
your Subconscious Mind. While your Conscious Mind is still
completely aware of what is going on the whole time, in this
relaxed state of mind, your subconscious mind has the ability to
accept information given to it by the hypnotist.
Hypnosis is a valuable tool for self-empowerment and continuous personal
Hypnosis is a state of heightened suggestibility. We are all influenced by
suggestions. Hypnosis uses this natural human process to change
negative patterns into positive patterns of behavior.
There is nothing mysterious about hypnosis.
There are five components necessary to induce hypnosis.
Motivation - You must want to be Hypnotized
Relaxation - Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation.
Concentration - You will use your ability to concentrate.
Imagination - You will use your vivid imagination.
Suggestion - You will hear and respond to suggestions.
Its application is based solely on the relationship between the conscious
mind and the subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind, having no power to reason, accepts and acts upon any
fact or suggestion given to it by the conscious mind.
As long as there have been human beings, there has been hypnosis. We use
this commonly occurring, and natural state of mind, unknowingly,
all the time. It is just natural for us. For example, if you
have ever watched a television program or a movie and became
really absorbed into the program, you were probably in a trance.
Advertisers understand this. They use television programs to induce a
hypnotic trance and then provide you hypnotic suggestions,
Everyone has already experienced hypnosis, by accident or intentionally.
Another common example of this naturally occurring state of mind is when you
are driving down the road, with your mind focused on some other
task (a day dream perhaps), and next thing you know, you have
passed your next turn.
The hypnotic state is an optimum state for making changes in your life.
During hypnosis you can set aside limiting beliefs that may have been
preventing you from moving toward a more healthy, and happier
In order for you to understand how hypnosis works, it is very important for
you to understand the relationship between your conscious mind
and your subconscious mind.
Since everyone has experienced light levels of hypnosis at different times,
don't be surprised if you don't feel hypnotized. All that is
required to be hypnotized is a motivation to be hypnotized,
concentration, imagination, relaxation, and the willingness to
respond to suggestion. There are ways to check for the depth
level of hypnosis, usually in a one-on-one session.
During hypnosis, you will remain conscious of your surroundings. Some of the
sensations you may experience are:
Tingling in your fingertips or limbs
A sense of numbness or limb distortion
A sense of being light and floating away from your body
A heavy feeling like you are sinking
A sense of energy moving through your body
Feelings of emotions
An increase or decrease in salivation.
When you notice that you are noticing these sensations, do not become
alarmed or you may shock yourself right out of your trance. Just
expect the trance to occur gradually and it will. Suggestions
stay with some individuals indefinitely, others need
reinforcement. The effects of hypnosis are cumulative: The more
the techniques are practiced and posthypnotic suggestions are
brought into play, the more permanent the results become.
Brain-imaging study has shed light on why some people are more susceptible
than others to hypnosis. By hinting at the brain processes
involved, the analysis also suggests that hypnosis - both the
stage and therapeutic varieties - does have genuine effects on
the brain's workings.
Those who are easily hypnotized show different activity in a brain region
called the anterior cingulate gyrus, which is involved in
planning our future actions, reports John Gruzelier of Imperial
College London. In a hypnotic trance, the function of this
region may be impaired, he says, meaning that subjects are more
likely to follow a hypnotist's suggestion: "The hypnotist tells
you to go with the flow, and so you don't evaluate what you're
Open University, UK
This is consistent with the idea that those who are easiest to hypnotize
tend to describe themselves as generally letting go of their
inhibitions quite easily, Gruzelier told the British Association
Festival of Science in Exeter, UK, on Thursday.
Some experts have argued that hypnotism is not a real physiological
phenomenon at all, but rather the result of hypnotists imposing
themselves on their subjects, who may be simply swept along.
Stage hypnotists are often accused of intimidating their
'volunteers' into playing along for the sake of the show.
This effect is certainly part of the picture in performance hypnotism, says
Gruzelier. "Lots of it is due to personality and persuasiveness,
but then that's showbusiness," he told firstname.lastname@example.org. Such
tactics can cause people to ignore the potential of genuine
hypnosis to ease painful diseases, he adds: "Unquestionably,
stage hypnotists give hypnotism a bad name."
"Humans like to comply; they don't like to be embarrassed," agrees Peter
Naish, who studies hypnosis at the Open University in Milton
Keynes, UK. But he insists that underneath the coercion used by
charismatic stage acts, a physiological effect is occurring.
"The evidence really is there; hypnosis is not miraculous," he
Gruzelier studied 24 subjects, half of whom were categorized as succumbing
easily to hypnotism, and half of whom were resistant. He scanned
the volunteers' brains while they tackled a problem called the
Stroop task, a test of mental flexibility that requires subjects
to categorize a list of colours presented in a different colour
- the word 'green' printed in blue, say - depending either on
the name or the actual colour.
Gruzelier tested the subjects before and after they underwent a standard
procedure used by hypnotists to put their subjects into a
trance. In resistant subjects, the anterior cingulate gyrus was
less strongly activated after the procedure than before, showing
that their brains were working less hard as they got better at
planning how to complete the task.
But in hypnotized volunteers, the anterior cingulate, and the regions that
govern it, were more strongly activated when they were in a
trance, showing that they were struggling harder to plot their
actions, Gruzelier reported. He suspects that this impaired
ability to plan for oneself makes people more suggestible.
This process may underlie hypnotists' ability to influence their subjects'
behaviour, be it stopping smoking or barking like a dog whenever
they hear Elvis Presley. Subjects frequently report that they
feel compelled to do something even though they know they don't
really want to.
Gruzelier also suspects that hypnotism may interfere with subjects'
evaluation of future emotions such as embarrassment. A region in
the brain's medio-frontal cortex, close to the anterior
cingulate, governs our perception of how we will feel if we take
a certain course of action, he says. If connections between the
two regions are impaired, stage volunteers might happily act
That may well be the final weapon in the showbiz hypnotist's arsenal, says
Gruzelier. By not only making volunteers suggestible but also
taking away their sense of shame, the possibilities for public
ridicule are immense. "The structure that monitors the emotional
consequences of future actions becomes disconnected," he
suggests. "So you make a fool of yourself."
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