When was the last time you were in hypnosis? If you’ve never been to a hypnotherapist, you might be tempted to answer, “Never.” But it’s a bit of a trick question. The answer really depends on how you define hypnosis.
I think of hypnosis as a state of extreme focus of the subconscious mind. Or, basically, a daydream state. When was the last time you got lost in thought? Absorbed in a book? Missed your exit on the freeway because you were thinking of what you could have said in an argument?
From a scientific standpoint, there is evidence that the state of hypnosis corresponds with specific brainwave frequencies. Most people move through the Alpha and Theta brain waves just as they fall asleep and often as they wake up. These are times we’re wide open to suggestion. Ever wonder why infomercials are on so late? Our suggestibility is also a good reason not to watch negative news at bedtime. Better to spend a moment imagining the best day ever ahead of you or being grateful for the good day you’ve had.
The history of hypnosis
Humans have used altered states throughout the ages. Ancient Greeks had sleep temples, Eastern gurus teach meditation, faith healers mesmerize their flock and lovers have been entranced since time began. Hypnotists use a variety of techniques known as inductions to guide people into their own rich inner world.
Famous hypnotists from the past include Franz Anton Mesmer, who in the mid 1700s had a theory that magnets could redirect energy inside people. When he got the same effects without the magnets, Mesmer came to believe his own power or “animal magnetism” could heal as he passed his hands over people. His method was so successfully spreading through France that a panel of the great Academie Francais was convened, including guest investigator Benjamin Franklin. They discredited Mesmer by declaring his method involved mere suggestion. Now that we understand more about the efficacy of placebo, “mere” suggestion seems impressive. It was Scottish physician James Braid who revitalized hypnosis some years later by using the power of suggestion. He called his work “neuro-hypnosis” or sleep of the nerves. Even though it’s not exactly sleep, the name stuck.
Modern hypnotherapy is blossoming.
Our understanding is growing thanks to amazing technology that allows us to see the brain at work. Every day we learn more about the complex relationship between mind and body, the exquisite mixture of thought, environment, hormones, neurotransmitters and enzymes that create our human experience.
While the conscious mind may not control our blood pressure (the more you think “Pressure down!” at the doctor’s office, in fact, the more it might rise), our subconscious mind does affect that system. Hypnosis works in many ways, and there are many styles of hypnosis. Much of its success comes from simple relaxation and the use of post-hypnotic suggestions (ideas accepted by our imaginations while we’re open and receptive). Hypnosis has proven suggessful for:
Migraines, Pain Relief, Surgery Preparation and Recovery, IBS, TMJ, Insomnia, Anxiety, Sports Performance, Chemotherapy Enhancement; Childbirth, Test Anxiety, Fertility, and so on.
Free Hypnosis Consultation
If you’re ready to learn how you can improve your quality of life with hypnosis, contact clinical hypnotherapist Stephanie Voss at (323) 478-1920 to discover how effective hypnotherapy can be to help people stop bad habits, promote healing, perform better, and improve outlook on life.