What is hypnosis or hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis, also called hypnotherapy, is a state of deep relaxation and focused concentration. It’s a type of mind-body medicine.
A trained and certified hypnotist or hypnotherapist guides you into this deep state of focus and relaxation with verbal cues, repetition and imagery. When you’re under hypnosis, this intense level of concentration and focus allows you to ignore ordinary distractions and be more open to guided suggestions to make changes to improve your health.
How does hypnosis work?
Hypnotherapy is a technique whereby a qualified practitioner uses guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of awareness that is sometimes called a trance. The person’s attention is so focused while in this state that anything going on around the person is temporarily blocked out or ignored. In this naturally occurring state, a person may focus their attention, on specific thoughts or tasks to allow the subconscious mind to be more open to discussion and suggestion. It can improve the success of other treatments for many conditions. It can aid with healing, unblocking negative limitations or reframing past experiences or beliefs.
A deep state of focus and relaxation that’s achieved with hypnosis:
• Your conscious mind is quieted.
• You’re able to tap into the part of your brain where your thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, sensations, emotions, memory and behaviours originate.
• In this state, you’re more open to gentle guidance from your hypnotherapist to help you modify or replace the unconscious thoughts that are driving your current behaviour.
What brain waves state is your brain during Hypnotherapy?
During Hypnotherapy your brain is experiencing Theta (4-7.5Hz) wavelengths. Theta waves are present during hypnosis, deep meditation and light sleep, including the all-important REM dream state. It is the realm of your subconsciousness. Hypnosis has been most closely linked to power in the theta band and changes in gamma activity. These oscillations are thought to play a critical role in both the recording and recall of declarative memory and emotional limbic circuits
Can hypnosis rewire the brain?
The use of hypnotherapy can strengthen neural pathways and speed up the healing of the mind, body, emotions, and spirit. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganise itself by forming new neural connections throughout life, and in cases of injury and disease, the neurons adjust their activity in response to the new situation or change in their environment.
Phobic patients showed a significantly reduced response in the fear circuitry structures of their left amygdala and bilaterally in their anterior cingulate cortex, insula and hippocampus. Although research is ongoing, this study strongly suggests that it is possible to rewire the brain through hypnosis.
Myth: Hypnosis isn’t real. It’s a form of entertainment.
- Hypnosis isn’t a stage act or some magical act. Clinical hypnosis is a type of medical therapy that’s often used as part of a treatment plan that includes traditional medical approaches.
Myth: You lose consciousness or have amnesia when you’re hypnotized.
- Most people remember everything that happens during hypnosis. You remain aware of who you are, and where you are and remember what happened during a hypnosis session.
Myth: You’re under the control of your hypnotherapist when you’re hypnotized.
- Your hypnotist or hypnotherapist guides hypnosis, but hypnosis is something you do for yourself. You can’t be made to do anything against your will. You won’t reveal any information that you wished to remain secret. You don’t lose control over your behaviour. Hypnosis makes it easier to experience suggestions but doesn’t force you to have certain experiences.
Myth: Hypnosis is nothing more than deep sleep.
- Hypnosis isn’t sleeping. There are some deeper forms of hypnosis that could make you appear to be asleep because your body is very still and quiet, but you aren’t asleep.
What conditions is hypnosis helpful in treating?
Hypnotherapy may help treat any number of medical conditions in which psychological factors influence physical symptoms. Common mental health uses include:
- Stress and anxiety, especially before medical or dental procedures; panic attacks; and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).
- Behaviour control issues, including giving up smoking, losing weight and enuresis (bedwetting).
- Gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Pain control, including after surgery, childbirth, cancer, fibromyalgia, burns and headaches (migraine and tension).
- Side effects of cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatment, including nausea and vomiting.
What typically happens during a hypnotic session?
There are four stages of hypnosis: induction, deepener, suggestions and emergence.
During this stage, you begin to relax, focus your attention and ignore distractions. Your hypnotherapist will guide you through this stage with specific techniques such as controlled breathing (breathing in over a count of seven, then breathing out over a count of 11), or progressive muscle relaxation (tensing muscles as you breathe in and relaxing muscles as you breathe out, then repeating in a certain order of muscle groups throughout your body) or focusing on a visual image.
This stage continues the first stage, taking your relaxation and focus to a deeper level. This step often involves counting down or using similar descending imagery such as walking down stairs or slowly sinking deeper and deeper into a comfortable bed. These first two stages are aimed at easing your openness to suggestions.
This is the stage for actual change in experience, behaviour or perception. Your hypnotherapist will use imagery and carefully chosen language. The suggestions are usually symptom-focused (to resolve a symptom) or exploratory (to explore experiences associated with the start of symptoms). Suggested changes may be in perception, sensation, emotion, memory, thought or behaviour.
During this stage, you come out of hypnosis. Your hypnotist may use reverse deepeners, such as giving you the suggestions that you’re climbing up stairs or counting up.
I am a Certified (non-medical) Hypnotherapist & Certified NLP Life Coach. Hypnotherapy is seen as a form of “complementary medicine” & is offered at EverJOURNEY Coaching & Wellness as a form of healing and not medicine. I hereby confirm that I am not a registered Health Professional, nor a medical doctor and do not treat, diagnose or prescribe medication. Please consult a health professional should you need medical assistance.