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What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a process that involves bypassing the critical thinking faculties of the person being hypnotized in order to establish a type of selective perception and thinking. When this state of consciousness is achieved, the person becomes more sensitive to suggestions and can work toward improving his or her well-being.

The Uses of Hypnosis

Hypnosis can be used for a number of purposes. In recent years, hypnosis has gained a great deal of popularity as a method for helping a person to quit smoking. In reality, hypnosis can be used for more than just this purpose. In fact, it can help a person overcome nearly any type of addiction, including an addiction to gambling, addictions to food, sexual addictions and more.

Hypnosis has also been gaining a great deal of recognition from the medical community as an effective method for alleviating pain and for reducing the amount of healing time necessary following surgery or injury. Numerous studies have been conducted into the effectiveness of hypnosis for these purposes, all of which have demonstrated a significant decrease in pain and decrease in healing time for those using hypnosis.

Those suffering from infertility have also benefited from hypnosis. This is partly due to the fact that hypnosis has been shown to be an effective method for treating depression, which often serves as a barrier in conception, but also because it can help the woman reduce her level of stress and muscle contractions. When it comes to in vitro fertilization, women undergoing hypnosis have been more successful at calming the uterus and making conception more successful.

History of Hypnosis

Hypnosis has a long and interesting history. In fact, cases of hypnosis being used to help cure disorders date back to the 1700s. Franz Anton Mesmer from Austria is the first recognized practitioner of hypnosis. As a physician, he attempted to use hypnosis to help cure the illnesses from which his patients suffered. Although he was later discredited, he had successfully gained a strong group of followers.

James Braid from Scotland is credited with actually coining the term “hypnosis” and used the practice as a form of surgical anesthetic. Since these times, hypnosis has continued to be used for various purposes around the world.

Types of Hypnosis

There are actually a number of different hypnosis therapies. These include:

• Alpha- and Theta-state Theories. With this theory, brain wave patterns are identified and their changes during the hypnotic state are monitored. The alpha state, which is referred to as the reflexed/reflecting state, is the state in which the brainwaves are in the necessary place for accepting suggestions. During this state, the hypnotized person can work on issues such as managing weight, stopping smoking, and overcoming fears.

• Social Constructionism and Role Playing Theory. With this theory, the belief is that the person being hypnotized doesn’t actually enter a hypnotic trance. Rather, the person is simply playing the role that he or she thinks is expected. This is largely dependent upon the relationship the hypnotist has established with the patient. Rather than being “hypnosis” as it has come to be known, the patient is actually exhibiting learned social behavior.

• Dissociation and Neodissociation Theories. With this theory, it is believed that certain areas of the patient’s behavioral control are split from that person’s ordinary awareness. As a result, the person responds automatically to the suggestions made by the hypnotherapist.

• Neuropsychological Theory of Hypnosis. This theory also focuses on brain activity, but is concerned with shifts in brain activity from the front to the back of the brain rather than in brain patterns.

• Hypnosis as a Conditioned Response that Leads to Sleep. In accordance with this theory, hypnosis is believed to be a form of partial sleep. Although there has been a number of research conducted into hypnosis that has demonstrated that the body remains in a state that more closely resembles wakefulness, some practitioners do still believe that hypnosis is similar to sleep.

• Hyper-suggestibility Theory. This theory is based on the idea that the person being hypnotized focuses his or her attention on a certain stimulus and this attention becomes magnified as the hypnotized person gradually begins to accept what the hypnotist is saying. Through this intense level of concentration, the hypnotized person is able to filter out those things that are unimportant.

• Informational Theory. With this theory, the brain is viewed as a form of computer. As such, it adjusts to feedback in order to increase its signal-to-noise ratio. This leads to the optimum level of functioning and increases the person’s level of receptability. Therefore, the hypnotists main objective is to reduce the interference of the brain and to increase the brains ability to receive messages.

• Systems Theory. With this theory, the nervous system is either enhanced or depressed. This allows the body to take the nervous system and develop interacting subsystems. As such, this theory focuses on the activity of these subsystems as well as how they interact.

Regardless of the exact reasoning behind the success of hypnosis, the fact remains that it has been proven over and over again that it is a successful method of treating a number of disorders.

Engaging in Hypnosis

In order to engage in hypnosis, you may choose to seek out the services of a professional hypnotherapist. It is important to find a hypnotherapist that is licensed in this field of hypnosis in order to guarantee the best possible results. Also, by using the services of a person that is not licensed, you might receive therapy that does more harm than good.

You may also consider the possibility of performing self hypnosis. You might visit a professional hypnotherapist so you can be taught how to conduct self hypnosis sessions. Or, you might purchase Hypnosis CDs or download information and audio from the Internet that will help you learn how to hypnotize yourself and take advantage of the powers of your own brain. In this way, the possibilities of how you can change your life for the better will become truly limitless.