Surprising Facts About the Science of Hypnotherapy
Thanks in part to television and Vegas-style stage shows, hypnotherapy and hypnosis is the least understood form of therapy. We have listed some surprising facts about the science of hypnosis to dispel some of the most common myths.
Stage and clinical hypnosis are different
Most when they hear the word hypnosis think of magic and stage shows. Typically this takes the form of a performer seemingly choosing random audience members to be put to sleep. These participants are then made to do funny and often embarrassing things to make the audience laugh. As entertaining as this may be, this is not clinical hypnosis. The latter is an official form of therapy that helps individuals overcome various ailments through a relaxed state and positive suggestion.
Hypnotherapy is a form of medical treatment.
Hypnotherapy, also known as hypnosis, has been an accepted form of medical treatment since the 50s. Each year the number of individuals seeking treatment to find a healthy way of controlling fears, breaking habits and managing negative behaviours have increased. Hypnotherapists support clients in achieving their goals through accessing their subconscious mind; something many of us do daily without even realising it.
You are awake during hypnosis.
Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is a natural state of mind and not a form of sleep. Scientists have proven that clients remain fully awake and in complete control of their actions.
The average person experiences hypnosis every day
You are likely to experience the hypnotic state at least twice a day. Everyday experiences include driving, especially repetitive or long-distance journeys, arriving but not recalling the actual journey. Being engrossed in a book or binge-watching a series and not realising how much time has passed.
It has been around since the 18th century.
Franz Mesmer, an Austrian physician, is typically credited with bringing hypnosis to public attention in the 1700s. Mesmer likely learned from earlier societies and spent his career studying the effects of hypnosis on the human mind. Interestingly, Mesmer referred to hypnosis as animal magnetism or mesmerism. You can still hear the use of the latter in statements such as “I was completely mesmerised”.
Hypnosis can be used as anaesthesia.
Many studies have been conducted into the effectiveness of hypnosis for pain management. EEG results have shown hypnosis removes emotional experiences connected to pain while still allowing the sensory sensation. The patient can feel the actions, but the brain is unable to recognise the pain signals. It is becoming more common for women to use hypnotherapy through labour and birth.
Under hypnosis, you remain in control.
Contrary to belief, those in a relaxed state of hypnosis stay in complete control. Throughout the session, clients can hear, comprehend and later recall what happened during the entirety of that session. There should be no concerns about being embarrassed, being tricked or being made to an act upon hearing a set word.
Helping you to overcome an array of disorders
There are many reasons for which a person may seek the help of a hypnotherapist. These can include overcoming fear, phobia or trauma, negative memories, insomnia, smoking, weight management, addictions, depression, anger and anxiety, to name a few. Parents of ADHD children are finding that the drug-free benefits of hypnotherapy have positive effects on children’s temperaments. Britain’s Paediatrics Child Health has commented that hypnotherapy allows the child to gain control, along with self-esteem and competence, which ultimately reduces their stress levels.
Your brain works functions differently under hypnosis.
Hypnosis allows the bypass of the conscious to the subconscious turning off the desire to ask questions or note the surroundings. Instead, the brain becomes hyperaware, a state of full control without consciously thinking about it. When applied to driving to work, you know the route so well that you do not have to consciously think of each turn you need to take to arrive at your destination—thus allowing your mind to think of other things such as planning your evening meal while remaining in full control of the car and arriving at your desired destination.
How hypnosis feels
As with most things, experiences differ. Some describe it as falling asleep with the television on, some report feeling heavy and others feel refreshed. Some say they feel they are floating or that a significant weight has been lifted. As this is a subjective experience, it makes sense that no two persons will describe it the same way.