“Hypnosis. What comes to mind when you hear the word? A caped magician swaying a pocket watch before his subject’s eyes? Someone barking like a dog? What should come to mind is this: A smoker chucking the cigarettes forever; a dieter finally losing those persistent pounds; a woman giving birth without drugs or severe pain. Welcome to the real world of hypnosis.”
The Capital (Annapolis, MD)
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy that uses hypnosis. We’ve all heard about hypnosis, and seen the footage of people seeming to be completely under the therapist’s control. We should come to realise that not everybody who claims to hypnotise is a true hypnotherapist, especially if you’re witnessing a live show. That’s often all it is. Just a show.
What is hypnosis?
“The purpose of hypnosis as a therapeutic technique is to help you understand and gain more control over your behaviour emotions or physical well-being.’’ (The Mayo Clinic).
The technical definition of hypnosis is the induction of a state of consciousness in which a person becomes highly responsive to suggestion or direction. The deeper the hypnotic state, the more responsive they are. It’s use in therapy can be extremely effective in recovering suppressed memories and allowing modification in behaviours. This can make hypnosis a valuable technique for treating a wide range of psychological and medical conditions. If you trust in your hypnotherapist, you will likely have a successful treatment.
According to one of America’s leading psychiatrists, David Spiegel, hypnosis has an impact on the brain which can be measured scientifically. In a study using volunteers who underwent hypnosis, their brains were scanned whilst they looked at certain objects. They were told these objects were colourful, and the scans showed blood rushing to the areas of the brain used to register colour. The reality was, they were looking at colourless objects.
“This is scientific evidence that something happens in the brain when people are hypnotised that doesn’t happen ordinarily,” Mr Spiegel told delegates of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Common uses for hypnosis
People turn to hypnosis for literally any ailment they have. People are ever hopeful, and this hope and strong will that they already possess, plays a big part in achieving their goals. Your ability to be hypnotised relies strongly on yourself. The experience can be inhibited by fears, concerns or a degree of disbelief. Contrary to some depictions of hypnosis, you do not lose voluntary control of your actions and forget what transpired when it’s over. Unless amnesia has specifically been suggested, you remain aware of who you are, where you are and have full recollection of what occurred during the session. By debunking the misconceptions of hypnosis, we can realise the potential of a truly effective treatment.
Hypnosis is most commonly used for:
- Addictions to alcohol, drugs and smoking.
- Depression, anxiety, phobias and pain management.
- Gastro-intestinal and skin disorders.
- Learning, memory and stress management.
- Weight loss, sports performance and eating disorders.
- Fertility issues and sexual problems.
- Various medical uses*
*Reports show that well over 50% of physicians refer patients for complimentary therapies. It’s often used post and pre surgery, with cancer patients for the side effects of chemotherapy, patients battling high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, insomnia and IBS.
Where does hypnotherapy come from?
It can actually be dated as far back as 3,000 B.C in Egypt, where the priests considered the healing method of ‘incubation’ or ‘temple sleep’ to have special healing powers. It’s a practice which has been adopted world wide through the ages by the likes of healers, priests, spiritual leaders, witchdoctors, persian magi, wise women, tribal doctors, hindu fakirs, Indian yogi and philosophers.
The term ‘hypnosis’ is derived from the Greek work ‘hypnos’ meaning ‘sleep.’ The Greeks and Romans used The Aesculapian Sleep Temples for putting people into a trance-like sleep for healing purposes. The Hebrews would use a technique called Kavanah in which they would go into a pleasant meditative state through breathing exercises and certain chanting, which is very similar to what we now know as self hypnosis.
“The word hypnosis comes from the Greek word for sleep, but actually, you are not asleep, you are focused and have more self-control. Researchers have done EEGs of persons in trances that showed their brains were highly alert and focused.” (Dr. L. Dean Hoover psychiatrist)
More recently, in the late 1950s, the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association officially recognised hypnotherapy as a valid medical procedure. In 1996, it’s use for chronic pain was approved by the National Institute of Health, they recommend it to this day.
Want to learn more about hypnotherapy? You can gain a practitioner level qualification that is recognised globally with the School of Natural Health Sciences (SNHS). View our foundation Hypnotherapy Course here.
Experience a stress-free approach to learning from the comfort of your own home! SNHS offers over 50 holistic courses including Hypnotherapy, Medical Hypnotherapy, Dream Therapy and Past Life Therapy. Take a look at all the courses on offer.