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Why does hypnosis work? Thoughts are like magnets- they attract situations and people that reflect what you are thinking. If you are centered in peace and think thoughts that are kind and loving, you will attract the same kind of ideas and feelings back to you. Can you imagine if everyone thought of love and not hatred, of abundance instead of greed? Your thoughts have the power to create good in the world.
Although popular entertainment and cartoon television have a very nonsensical and frivolous approach to the ideas of hypnotherapy, this form of psycho-analytic treatment has a profound potential for improving overall health and well-being. In fact, hypnosis is used by millions of individuals for a variety of different reasons, and a plethora of scientific research studies have been conducted to show that this practice can produce very favorable outcomes. There is nothing magical or mystical about hypnosis. It is a state of consciousness that is entered naturally, but is not usually called hypnosis or trance. It is simply called a daydream.
So what exactly is hypnotherapy?
The act of hypnosis is a very focused form of psychotherapy that targets relaxation, inner concentration, attention, and various changes in attitude, thoughts, behavior, or emotion. Hypnosis involves a state of heightened openness to suggestion. It is a practice that incorporates a variety of different techniques in order to promote confidence, peace, motivation, and overall wellness.
The five main characteristics of hypnosis are:
What is the history behind hypnosis?
The concept of hypnosis has been around for thousands of years, and much like meditation or focused breathing exercises, the healing capabilities surrounding hypnotherapy date back to the early 18th century. In this time period, Franz Mesmer became one of the most well-known hypnosis practitioners, and he developed a reputation for charisma and mystical performance. The idea of hypnotism was not always socially welcomed with enthusiasm by the majority of society, but the success stories and intrigue were enough to keep this practice thriving well into the present.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that scientists and doctors began to explore the potential physical healing possibilities behind hypnosis, and later in the 20th century, this practice would continue to grow and evolve as specific styles and hypnosis techniques were perfected.
Today, hypnosis is still heavily studied in scientific and medical laboratories. Advances in technology have allowed neuroscientists to visualize the physical and anatomical responses to hypnotherapy. Improvements in the ways that clinical professionals record data and patient history have also allowed research professionals to quantify the benefits of hypnosis methods. Modern medicine has allowed these experts to determine that hypnotherapy is a very valid and useful form of effective treatment.
Will self-hypnosis help me? What types of problems does it target?
Hypnotherapy can be used to address a myriad of different complications, problems, habits, and addictions. It is also a great method for improving mindset, attitude, and one’s general outlook on life.
Studies show that hypnosis has been up to three times more effective than a chemical skin patch for patients who are quitting smoking. In fact, a combination of studies and surveys showed that seeking this type of psychotherapeutic support can improve your chances of successfully quitting by as much as 30%.
In addition to nicotine addiction, hypnotherapy can also be used for alcoholics or drug abusers who are seeking support and assistance with their liberation from these dependencies. Some studies have even reported up to a 77% success rate!
Hypnosis is commonly used as a medical regimen to reduce and eliminate chronic pain. Not only does it relieve stress and muscle tension that can trigger painful stimulus, but surgery patients who received hypnosis reported a reduction in pain intensity and some actually improved faster than patients who were not receiving hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy has been proven a successful treatment for preventing migraines, and has significantly improved the energy level and attitudes of breast cancer patients undergoing radiation treatments. Some hospitals utilize the benefits of hypnosis for preoperative treatment because studies have shown that it effectively reduces anxiety and decreases the need for additional medications during surgery.
There is a barrage of research studies showing that hypnosis significantly improves the outcome for individuals on a weight loss plan. Not only does hypnotherapy improve the amount of total loss, but it improves the likelihood for long term weight management.
Hypnosis has benefited patients who suffer from sleep disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, social interaction disorders, and various other types of anxiety.
For many individuals, hypnosis is simply used as a tool for stress relief and mental clarity. According to researchers, hypnotherapy significantly improved self-esteem and feelings of serenity. It also reduced feelings of impulsivity and anger. Hypnosis is a great tool for building self-confidence, improving your overall attitude, and changing your pessimistic outlook into one that is more optimistic and motivated.
What are the benefits of hypnotherapy compared to other traditional treatments?
Perhaps the most attractive feature of hypnotherapy is the fact that it is completely noninvasive. Patients do not have to take medication, be put to sleep, or even be physically touched. There are no needles, no blood draws, and no tests.
Hypnotherapy is customizable to meet your individual needs and with such a variety of styles and techniques that have developed, there are many options for patients to try.
Every thought or idea produces a physical response. Thoughts and ideas with strong emotional content produce physical responses in the body characteristic of the emotion. It has been clearly established that even the body's natural resistance to disease can be affected by a person's thoughts and emotions. To adapt successfully to the stresses of life and eliminate or change chronic negative physical reactions, we must first learn to change our thought patterns. We must learn to view situations positively. We must learn to change fixed, negative ideas into strong, positive attitudes. Your mind is not an abstract island with a remote relationship to your body. They are inexorably linked. When you think about a happy memory, your subconscious mind instructs your body to reproduce the physiological state associated with happiness, including the excretion of the feel-good hormones called endorphins. When you watch an action movie your heart races along with the hero's. We must find a way to supply ourselves with healthful, uplifting thoughts to counteract the negative ones.
What is imagined or expected tends to be realized. When the subconscious mind perceives a goal, it automatically strives to achieve that goal. The individual who strongly believes in attaining a goal subconsciously strives to bring about favorable circumstances leading to this result. Expect good things, and good things will occur. Ideas we expose ourselves to on a regular basis shape who and what we are and what we believe about ourselves.
New habit patterns can be formed with visualized images. The human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an actual experience and one that is vividly imagined. Habit patterns can be modified, and even reversed, simply by practicing or acting out the new response or behavior in the imagination.
Does hypnotizing always work?
No. Hypnosis is not successful for every patient and it doesn’t always work on the first try. According to hypnosis experts, each person has a unique level of ‘hypnotizability’ which means that they might respond very differently to a typical treatment session. Hypnosis is an effective way to communicate with your inner mind to elicit positive change.
You cannot simply induce hypnosis on yourself quickly, state a couple of suggestions, and expect major changes to take place. Emily Coue stated it best during the early 1900s: "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better." The subconscious does have a natural tendency to resist change because of its programming from the conscious mind. There is an attitude of acceptance for change at the subconscious level. This is the window of possibility, the amount of change that the subconscious will find acceptable at any given time. Once the change you want is in place, the subconscious now accepts more changes and you can start working on the next level within your range of goals. In this manner, you work your way up to the next level of your goal mountain one plateau at a time rather than try to soar to the top all at once. Think of it in terms of degrees of change. Your hypnotic suggestions should be directed toward raising the limits that your subconscious mind finds acceptable and the behaviors that lead to your goals.
It is through hypnotic suggestions that you specify your goals and direct the subconscious to the achievement of those goals. The subconscious mind does not know the difference between reality and imagination. This is because the subconscious mind is limited to deductive logic -the process of reasoning from the general to the specific. A useful suggestion repeated often enough and long enough will be accepted by the subconscious mind as true.
What does a typical hypnotherapy session look like?
Before the session can begin, you and your hypnotists need to establish the purpose of your visit and your outcome expectations. Whether you are seeking hypnosis to treat a problem or you simply want to improve your mental purity will make a big difference on the ways that your therapist will approach your session.
Hypnosis includes a variety of different stages. Some participants report feeling incredibly relaxed yet are still awake and able to comprehend what they see and hear. Most hypnosis includes a trance phase where patients are receptive to the specific treatment and purposeful practice of the hypnotist, but usually cannot recall the specific dialogue that takes place. Transitioning out of this trance allows the patient to slowly recollect and reorient into a conscious state.
Depending on the nature of your situation, your therapy session might include a variety of breathing exercises, mental depictions, guided thoughts, and various other relaxation techniques that are performed to bring both your mind and body to a place where it is open and receptive to hypnosis.
Your therapist may ask several questions concerning your emotions and feelings and consequently develop phrases that are designed to help you accept and release certain feelings. They might practice affirmative techniques of positive thinking or a technique called Neural Linguistic Programming which implements guided eye movements that are targeted at reducing discomfort and emotional instability.
The techniques used by your hypnotist will depend on your receptiveness to hypnosis and the situation for which you seek treatment.