Tag Archives: Does Hypnosis Work

‘Hypnotherapy Should Become Mainstream’ – BBC News (Short Video)




How Hypnosis Alters Brain Activity – Top University Study.


Expert psychiatrists in the U.S. have shown that the effects of hypnosis can be measured scientifically (ie empirically measured).

A researcher from Stanford University in the United States, David Spiegel, took neuro-images (pictures of brain activity produced from brain scans) of individuals who had been hypnotized in an experiment which analyzed the effects of hypnosis on the physical brain.

In the experiment, the hypnotized individuals (who were all volunteers) were instructed by the experimenter to gaze at various objects. The objects were black and white ; however, the volunteers who had been hypnotized were given the hypnotic suggestion that the black and white objects they were gazing at were coloured (or ‘colored’, to use the American spelling of the word!)

Whilst the individuals were looking at the objects, having been given this hypnotic suggestion, the researchers took scans of their brain activity in order to produce the vital neuro-images which would show what was going on physically in their brains. The neuro-images (or brain scans) revealed that the areas of the brain which registered and processed colour (or color) were activated and had increased blood flow. In other words, the effect of the hypnotic suggestion on the volunteers’ brains led to them ‘seeing’ colours/colors even though the objects were only black and white. It can be inferred from this that hypnotic suggestion can literally change how the brain works.

Daniel Spiegel, the lead researcher in this impressive study, said :

‘This is scientific evidence that something happens in the brain when people are hypnotized that does not happen under normal circumstances…there are tremendous medical implications for people being able to use hypnosis for such things as managing their own pain and anxiety…

hypnosis neuro-imaging

Effect of hypnosis on brain is shown in this neuro-image


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


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