Tag Archives: Does Hypnosis Work

Hypnosis : Why Some Throw Baby Out With Bath Water

hypnosis

Unfortunately, in the past, hypnosis and hypnotherapy have received a bad press. Why is this? There are, perhaps, three main reasons :

– Stage hypnotists who claim they are using ‘hypnosis’ to induce volunteers from the audience to do absurd, degrading and demeaning things – in fact, such behaviour is more likely to be play acting or due to the pressure to ‘perform’ once on stage (i.e. compliance with the ‘hypnotist’s’ instructions rather than a genuine, hypnotic response).

– The use of hypnosis to ‘regress people into past lives’

– The use of hypnosis by poorly trained therapists to inadvertently instil false memories of abuse into their patients’ minds during attempted retrieval of ‘buried memories of abuse’ (hypnosis should not normally be used to try to unearth ‘buried memories’ from patients’ minds due to the patients’ high state of suggestibility whilst under hypnosis – to read my article about hypnosis and attempted retrieval of ‘buried memories,’ click here).

hypnosis

However, despite the above, it is important not to throw the baby out with the bath water when trying to ascertain the effectiveness of hypnosis and hypnotherapy.

Indeed, both the British and the American Medical Associations now recognize hypnosis and hypnotherapy as a valid treatment for psychological problems (for example, addictions, eating disorders and phobias).

There is also a growing body of scientific evidence to show how powerful the effect of hypnosis can be in bypassing our conscious awareness to have a profound influence on our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and beliefs. For example, individuals can be hypnotized to see black and white images as if they were in colour (click here to read my article about this experiment).

Other research has found individuals can use hypnosis to alter their body temperature and blood flow, as well as reduce their experience of physical pain (Casiglia, University of Padua, Italy).

Such studies suggest that hypnosis may be more than ‘just’ a highly focused and relaxed state and that, when hypnotized, something significant and special is going on in the brain which allows us to achieve things over and above what we can achieve using our non-hypnotized brain.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

How Hypnosis Works : Two Powerful Examples

how hypnosis works

What Is Hypnosis And How Does It Work? :

 

Hypnosis Definition :

Hypnosis can be defined as a state of consciousness (induced either by a hypnotherapist or through self – hypnosis) in which the hypnotized person experiences an increased ability to focus his / her attention and has a heightened capacity to respond to suggestions. 

Below, I provide two, powerful examples that help to illustrate how hypnosis works :

 

I have written in other articles that have been published on this site about how hypnosis can help alleviate many adult psychological problems we may have connected to our experience of childhood trauma, such as anxiety, social anxiety, relationship problems feelings associated with rejection and feelings relating to having felt unloved as a child and aches and pains that have a psychosomatic basis (see below).
In this article I will briefly outline two impressive scientific experiments that demonstrate how hypnosis works and just how powerful the effects of hypnosis can be :

FIRST EXAMPLE OF THE POWER OF HYPNOSIS:

The first experiment was carried out by the researcher of hypnotic phenomenon, Ernest Hilgard, and relates to how people’s perception of pain can be altered.

The experiment involved participants placing their arm in a container filled with ice cold water.

The participants were split into 2 groups as follows:

GROUP 1: These participants had been hypnotized to increase their pain tolerance threshold.

GROUP 2: These participants formed the ‘control’ group (i.e. they had received no hypnosis to help them to withstand pain).

RESULTS OF EXPERIMENT:

It was found that the participants in group 1 (who had received hypnosis) were able to keep their arms submerged in the ice cold water for a significantly longer time period than those in group 2 (who had received no such hypnosis).

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF THESE FINDINGS:

Due to the power of hypnosis to lower our perception of pain, hypnotherapy can be very effectively used, for example, to:

– reduce dental pain

– reduce the pain experienced during childbirth

– help alleviate chronic pain conditions (such as arthritis)

SECOND EXAMPLE OF THE POWER OF HYPNOSIS:

The second experiment of interest involved an examination of how our beliefs can affect our bodily responses in extremely surprising ways.

The experiment focused upon individuals who were allergic to a certain kind of plant leaf. Under hypnosis they were given the posthypnotic suggestion that a leaf the experimenter was shortly going to rub on their hand was from the plant to which they were allergic.

In fact, though, this was intended deception; the leaf was completely harmless to them.

However, when this harmless leaf was rubbed on the back of their hands, because of the posthypnotic suggestion they actually developed an allergic reaction to it in the form of a rash, just as they would have done had the leaf been of the type to which they were actually were allergic.

THE POWER OF THE MIND-BODY CONNECTIION :

Both these experiments, and the applications of hypnotherapy also detailed above, serve to indicate the power of the mind-body connection, and how hypnosis is able to enhance its effect.

 

RELATED ARTICLE : You may also wish to read my previously published article : ‘HOW HYPNOSIS CHANGES THE BRAIN’

 

David Hosier BSc(Hons); MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Is Hypnosis Real?

is hypnosis real?

Is Hypnosis Real?In  the past, scientific studies on the effectiveness of hypnosis had to rely upon the verbal reports of those who had undergone hypnosis – in other words, the researchers relied upon the subjective account the person who had been hypnotized gave of his/her experience (which is not an ideal way of accruing scientific data).

However, due to the great advances in technological innovation, scientific research into the effects of hypnosis can now make use of a completely objective method of investigation into this fascinating phenomenon, by using brain scans to study how hypnosis effects brain activity (this is also known as neuroimaging).

The great importance of these studies is difficult to over-state. Essentially, they have been able to provide evidence that the subjective effects of hypnosis reported by the hypnotized person are objectively verifiable, strongly suggesting that the the answer to the question ‘is hypnosis real?’ is a resounding ‘yes’.

Brain scanning, or neuroimaging, has been used to study the effects of hypnosis in three main broad categories of experiments. I briefly detail these below ;

1) Scans of the brain at rest versus scans of the brain in the hypnotic state

2) Scans of activity in the brain caused by hypnotic suggestion compared to scans of brain activity in response to non-hypnotic suggestions

3) Scans of brain when a person carries out a task under hypnosis compared to scans of the brain when the person carries out the same task in a non-hypnotic state

All 3 types of experiment show marked differences in brain activity between the hypnotized and non-hypnotized states.

Below is a diagram which shows how brain activity is affected by hypnosis. It comes from a scientific study of hypnosis known as ‘The Paralyzed Hand’ experiment. Details of what the experiment involved are given in the diagram, so there is no need for me to repeat them here.

hypnosis neuroimaging

Brain activity and hypnosis


Resources:

For instantly downloadable Hypnosis audios, click here.


David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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