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Did you know that hypnotherapy dates back to the 1700s when it was first conceptualized in the scientific world? Obviously, we can assume that hypnosis predates this time.
However, it wasn’t until the 19th Century that the terms hypnosis and hypnotism were coined. These words were coined by a Scottish surgeon, James Braid, who came up with the two words based on the Greek word Hypnos that means To Sleep.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a heightened state of consciousness, contrary to popular beliefs, which dictate that hypnosis is a heightened state of unconsciousness.
It allows you to experience a heightened but a parallel state of awareness, which means that you will be aware of everything happening around you and also your thoughts throughout.
Hypnosis also allows the mind to glide inwards and to other realities, beyond the immediate surroundings. Hypnosis involves a high level of open-minded thinking, as well as curiosity, and pretty much everyone could be hypnotized.
It’s also quite common for the individual under hypnosis to drift in and out of consciousness, and you may go deep than other times.
But how do you know when hypnosis is working?
The most common indicators of a successful hypnosis session
1. An enhanced state of relaxation
Whether you are going through hypnosis under the guidance of a hypnotherapist or not, hypnosis induces a lower brainwave state that leaves you feeling light. In some cases, the lower brainwave state could also leave you with a pleasant floating sensation.
The hypnotherapists speculate that at this time, the directions/ suggestions communicated to your subconscious mind initiate the necessary changes in behavior which will be felt later on. This is the state that initiates a high state of relaxation.
The other reason for the deep state of relaxation is the creation of a special mental state where people feel relaxed and uninhibited.
It is further presumed that these effects result from your mind tuning out your doubts and worries, or rather, the inactivity of the conscious mind.
Deep hypnosis often means bypassing the critical factor that forms the bridge/ pathway between the conscious and the unconscious mind.
Once the critical factor is bypassed, the subconscious mind becomes highly suggestible, and this is where real hypnosis takes place. Psychiatrist, therefore, theorize that the deep, relaxed, and focused state drive the subdued and calm state of the conscious mind.
Thinking takes a backseat, and though you remain aware of what’s happening, your subconscious mind is the one that is active.
2. Brain Wave Changes in the Brain
The deep state of relaxation experienced during hypnosis is one of the most common body signs of hypnosis, and it’s associated with a slowed heartbeat and respiration.
While these are the most common signs of relaxation for everyone who may or may not be in a hypnotic state, data gathered by researchers shows that there are changes in brain activity during hypnosis.
One of the most notable changes was from data recorded by EEGs or electroencephalographs. This data shows changes in electrical activity during the hypnotherapy.
To be specific, there were changes in the brain waves, depending on the mental state of the individual being tested. Individuals under hypnosis boosted low-frequency waves, similar to the brain waves associated with sleep and dreaming.
At the same time, the EEGs recorded a drop in the activity of the higher-frequency brain waves – characteristics of wakefulness. Although this isn’t a definitive indicator, the recorded brain patterns fit into the hypnosis theory where the conscious mind backs off, and the subconscious mind takes over.
Besides brain wave activity, researchers also note a significant reduction in brain function in the cerebral cortex’s left hemisphere, along with heightened activity in the right hemisphere.
The left hemisphere is the logical control center of your brain, while the right hemisphere controls creativity and imagination. These changes in brain activity fit in with the idea that the impulsive subconscious mind takes over during hypnosis.
Along with the heightened state of relaxation, you might also feel sleepy when undergoing hypnosis. The main reason for the sleepiness is associated with a comfortable and relaxed state that’s created during hypnosis.
Sleepiness is often induced by different hypnotic techniques, including eye fixation/ fixed-gaze induction, progressive imagery and relaxation, and loss of balance.
These techniques are shown to cause a significant change in the brain function and induce a deep state of hypnosis and sleepiness.
Other Indicators of Successful Hypnosis
- Change in habits/ Overcoming addictions– If, for example, you are using hypnosis to overcome an addition for sugar, alcohol, or smoking, you can tell that the procedure worked if you crave any of those things less or if you cannot stand them anymore.
- Less Pain – Hypnosis has been used for pain reduction, prevention, and management for years. And today, individuals dealing with chronic pain are often recommended hypnosis as one of the strategies for pain management. One of the expected signs of a successful hypnotherapy session would, therefore, be characterized by reduced pain and improved quality of life. Research indicates that hypnotherapy could help with different types of pain from arthritis pain, cancer, and the crippling pain from fibromyalgia.
- Enhanced intuition
- Increase in creativity and productivity, as well as an enhanced ability to take on tasks following the removal of the internal mental blocks that were slowing down your progress.
- Deeper sleep – if you’ve been struggling to sleep, you will notice that you sleep a lot better after a few hypnotherapy sessions. You may also start to sleep deeply.
- Alleviation of anxiety and the symptoms of anxiety – with an increasing number of Americans struggling with anxiety, it would appear that one could gain better control over their life and manage anxiety through hypnosis. Hypnosis could also help in the alleviation of depression.
- Feeling more connected with a higher power
- A boost in confidence and self-esteem
- You feel more relaxed
- You become more forgiving
These effects may or may not be experienced immediately after one hypnotherapy session. Also, the process might take a few minutes or close to an hour, depending on your personality and your mental state.
Therefore, while hypnosis is a powerful process that could change a lot about your mental state, you should have reasonable expectations. Overall, hypnosis will help you achieve the results you were looking forward to.