Hypnosis has a sense of mystery about it, with many asking "Is it real?"
"Does it work?"
"Can anyone be hypnotised?"
These are just a few of the many questions we get about the subject. Let’s demystify it for you.
But first, hear what Stamford University says about hypnosis:
Hypnosis can change how we see the world. By using PET scans to monitor neural activity, researchers demonstrated that the brain processes visual input differently under hypnosis, allowing subjects to "see" colour when they are actually staring at a black-and-white image.
By bolstering the idea that hypnosis transforms perception, the study supports the use of the technique to improve athletic and intellectual performance and even to "think away" pain.
"They are not just suffering in silence, they are able to change their perception of pain."
What is hypnosis or hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis is an experience of profound relaxation and peace, in an environment of privacy, safety, confidentiality and comfort. You are the person always in control, you are not asleep, just in a state of complete relaxation and therefore will be able to hear everything that goes on in the session.
So how does hypnosis work?
When you are in a total state of relaxation, called the Alpha state, your unconscious mind is at its most suggestible and the conscious mind is no longer guarding the door, stopping suggestions from getting through. This means that during hypnotherapy, we can talk directly with your unconscious mind. This is the part of your brain that stores all your memories, habits, behaviours and also the part that creates change.
We can be very specific on what suggestions we give to your unconscious mind, so you can create change that lasts easily and in a way that is so relaxing.
How long has hypnotherapy been around?
Hypnotherapy has been used for years. The first known time of it being used was by the mentor of Franz Mesmer, Johann Joseph Gassmer (1727-1779) This is where the term “mesmerized,” comes from.
Since 1958, when the American Medical Association (AMA) declared hypnosis an acceptable treatment, thousands of patients have undergone surgery with no anaesthetic other than hypnosis.
If it can eliminate the pain of surgery, then imagine what else it can do?
What can hypnosis help with?
If you have something that you want to change, then hypnosis can help.
Hypnosis is like we are connecting with the part of you that runs your programming. So like a IT expert can fix a bug in your computer, a hypnotist can fix a bug in your neurology.
The only prerequisite is that you know what you want to change. Some examples could include fears or phobias, panic attacks, depression, anxiety or pain.
What is the difference between stage and therapeutic hypnosis?
"If you watch hypnosis on TV, the subject always ends up clucking like a chicken, being naked or assassinating a president."
says Eric Willmarth, PhD, founder of Michigan Behavioural Consultants and past president of APA Div. 30 (Society of Psychological Hypnosis).
Even though stage hypnotists and TV shows have damaged the public image of hypnosis, a growing body of scientific research supports its benefits in treating a wide range of conditions, including pain, depression, anxiety and phobias.
"Hypnosis works and the empirical support is unequivocal in that regard. It really does help people."
says Michael Yapko, PhD, a psychologist and fellow of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
How is hypnotherapy used in surgery and to help heal from disease?
Hypnosis has been used for centuries for pain control, including during the Civil War when Army surgeons hypnotised injured soldiers before amputations. Recent studies have confirmed its effectiveness as a tool to reduce pain.
Among the leading researchers in the field is Guy H. Montgomery, PhD, a psychologist who has conducted extensive research on hypnosis and pain management at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he is director of the Integrative Behavioural Medicine Program.
In one study, Montgomery and colleagues tested the effectiveness of a 15-minute pre-surgery hypnosis session versus an empathic listening session in a clinical trial with 200 breast cancer patients. In a 2007 article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Vol. 99, No. 17), the team reported that patients who received hypnosis reported less post-surgical pain, nausea, fatigue and discomfort. The study also found that the hospital saved $772 per patient in the hypnosis group, mainly due to reduced surgical time.
Patients who were hypnotised required less of the analgesic lidocaine and the sedative propofol during surgery. He remarks:
"Hypnosis helps patients to reduce their distress and have positive expectations about the outcomes of surgery. I don’t think there is any magic or mind control."
Can anyone be hypnotised?
Not everyone can be hypnotised. The brains of people who can be easily hypnotised are different than the brains of people who can't be hypnotised, according to new research from the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Hypnosis is a trance-like state in which a person has a heightened focus and concentration. The more open-minded and empathic a person, the more likely they are to be a good hypnosis subject. A good hypnotist will always check to ensure that you are going to respond to hypnosis before booking the session with you.
Can you do hypnotherapy sessions online?
You can experience hypnosis in your own home. We regularly run hypnotherapy sessions with the help of the internet. We can also create hypnosis recordings for clients to listen to a prescribed amount of times. This is a great way of creating lasting change without having to visit a hypnotherapist in person.
How to book a hypnotherapy session
If you're interested in experiencing hypnosis for yourself, connect with one of our coaches below. They are all qualified Masters of Hypnotherapy. Their certificates are Board Approved and Designated with the American Board of Hypnotherapy, so know you are in good hands.
You will then be sent a questionnaire asking about what you want from your session and more information to help our coach create a productive hypnosis session for you. Dr Amanda Foo-Ryland has a Doctorate in Clinical Hypnosis and all our coaches have been trained by Amanda and Sarah.