Many people misunderstand therapeutic hypnosis because of the way hypnosis has been portrayed in books, movies, television and by stage hypnotists. Medical Hypnosis is very different from those portrayals. In fact, using hypnosis the way it is sometimes presented in popular media would be a violation of a therapists ethical standards.
Hypnosis is a very natural state that we all enter at various times. In hypnosis your attention is focused in one area, closing out other stimulation. It is similar to day dreaming or being so completely engrossed in a book or TV program that you may ignore someone speaking in the same room. That is basically what hypnosis is. Here is another example. Just before falling asleep every night, we pass through a phase that is very similar to hypnosis.
In that state, we are able to give ourselves suggestions. For example, you may have at wanted get up at a different time than usual. You may have reminded yourself just before falling asleep to wake early, and then found you had awakened up ten minutes before the alarm. In that situation, you gave yourself the idea to wake up. That idea is called a post hypnotic suggestion and is similar to how hypnosis works.
Hypnosis is a state of consciousness. It can be measured using an EEG, an instrument that read brain wave activity.
What Does Hypnosis Feel Like?
In general, therapeutic hypnosis is a pleasant feeling of relaxation. Many people expect to feel something special or different when in hypnosis, even though it is a normal state. Hypnosis is a state in which the mind is highly absorbed or focused. We have all been in this state many times before. Sometimes it seems so normal to a person that he/she denies being in hypnosis. One can hear sounds going on around and sometimes one's mind wanders. Each person's experience is different and will vary from time to time. Most people feel very relaxed and comfortable and so, have little desire to move or open their eyes, although this is totally possible.
Beta - Waking conscious state, alert 14-30 Hz
Alpha - Daydreaming, creative, relaxed, 8-13 Hz
Theta - Dreaming, hypnotic, meditative, 4-7 Hz
subconscious, athletic "in the zone"
Delta - Unconscious, asleep, deep sleep 0.5-6 Hz
It can be recognized as a state of relaxed, focused attention. The alpha and theta waves that are measurable during hypnosis are also found during meditation. Bringing your mind to this state is something that can be learned and practiced. Medical science has proven that there are many health benefits to be gained from this state.
The word sleep sometimes is used to describe the hypnotic trance state. However, a person in hypnosis is far from being asleep. When in hypnosis people are aware of their surroundings in a detached sort of way. Conscious, critical thinking is more or less temporarily suspended and yet available at a moments notice to cope with an emergency if one was to come up. Because of this relative inner quiet, people are more receptive to positive suggestions. The mind is concentrated on the suggestions and pays little attention to other things.
WHAT IS IT USED TO TREAT?
Modern hypnotherapy is widely accepted for the treatment of anxiety, stress, subclinical depression, insomnia, and pain as well as to control certain habit disorders and irrational fears.