The term 'hypnosis' comes from the Greek word hypnos, meaning 'sleep'. Hypnotherapists
use exercises that bring about deep relaxation and an altered state of consciousness, also
known as a trance. A person in a deeply focused state is unusually responsive to an idea or
image, but this does not mean that a hypnotist can control person's mind and free will. On
the contrary, hypnosis can actually teach people how to master their own states of
awareness. By doing so they can affect their own bodily functions and psychological
How does hypnosis work?
When something happens to us, we remember it and learn a particular behavior in response
to what happened. Each time something similar happens, our physical and emotional
reactions attached to the memory are repeated. In some cases these reactions are unhealthy.
in some forms of hypnotherapy, a trained therapist guides you to remember the event that
led to the first reaction, separate the memory from the learned behavior, and replaxe
unhealthy behaiors with new, healthier ones.
During hypnosis, your body relaxes and your thoughts become more focused. Like other
relaxation techniques, hypnosis lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and changes certain
types of brain wave activity. In this relaxed state, you will feel at ease physically yet fully
awake mentally and may be highly responsive to suggestion. Your conscious mind becomes
less alert and your subconscious mind becomes more focused. Some people respond better
to hypnotic suggestion than others.
There are several stages of hypnosis:
- Reframing the problem
- Becoming relaxed, then absorbed (deeply engaged in the words or images presented by a
- Dissociating (letting go of critical thoughts)
- Responding (complying with a hypnotherapist's suggestions)
- Returning to usual awareness
- Reflecting on the experience
What illnesses or conditions respond well to hypnosis?
Hypnosis is used in a variety of settings - from emergency rooms to dental offices to
outpatient clinics. Clinical studies suggest that hypnosis may improve immune function,
increase relaxation, decrease stress, and ease pain and feelings of anxiety.
Hypnotherapy can reduce the fear and anxiety that some people feel before medical or
dental procedures. For example, studies show that dental patients who underwent hypnosis
had a significantly higher threshold for ppain than those who were not hypnotized. Hypnosis
may also improve recovery time and reduce anxiety and pain following surgery. Clinical trials
on burn patients suggest that hypnosis decreases pain (enough to replace pain medication)
and speeds healing. Generally, clinical studies show that using hypnosis may reduce your
need for medication, improve your mental and physical condition before an operation, and
reduce the time it takes to recover. Dentists also use hypnotherapy to control gagging and
A hypnotherapist can teach you self regulation skills. For instance, someone with
arthritis may learn to turn down pain like the volume on a radio. Hypnotherapy can also be
used to help manage chronic illness. Self hypnosis can enhance a sense of control, which is
often lacking when someone has a chronic illness.
Clinical studies on children in emergency treatment centers show that hypnotherapy
reduces fear, anxiety, and discomfort.
'The state of hypnosis is actually an ordinary
human experience. It is like just before falling
asleep, getting lost in thought, music, or even a