How Hypnosis Actually Works- A Television Interview
When one thinks of hypnosis, you may conjure up images of a magician performing an act, and controlling the mind of a member of the audience, and making him do silly things. Interestingly, hypnosis is quite different from what you may see on television shows or read about in books.
The term hypnosis was first introduced by the Scottish surgeon James Braid who spent a lot of time conducting and documenting this state. Some of the key findings that he revealed included the fact that in this trance like state the subject under hypnosis shows remarkable sensory awareness. He used this feature to make a clear distinction between a person under hypnosis, and one who is asleep.
The word hypnosis comes from the Greek words, ‘hypnos’ and ‘osis’, and literally means, ‘the coming on of sleep’. However unlike the etymology of the word, and what most people think of it, people under hypnosis are not sleepy, nor are they under the control of another person. In fact, they are in a hyper-attentive state, and are quite relaxed. They are also highly susceptible to suggestion and their imagination is heightened. The American Psychological Association defines this state as a ‘cooperative interaction’ between a participant and a hypnotist. In this condition the participant is very responsive to the suggestions made by the hypnotist.
How Does Hypnosis Work?
The human mind works at many different levels. We are aware of the conscious mind, but the unconscious mind is at work even when we are not aware of it. A lot of things that we do and consider as reflex are actually the work of the unconscious mind. For instance, when you are driving you are not aware of number things you may do as you travel down the road and negotiate your way through traffic.
The subconscious mind does most of the thinking and decision making. Hypnosis merely puts this portion of your mind at the forefront, and the conscious mind is allowed to rest for a while. Hypnotists use focusing and relaxation techniques to help a person attain this trance like state. While the conscious mind tends to inhibit a person’s thinking and decisions, the unconscious mind is full of imagination and impulse. This is also why experts find that children are easier to hypnotize as they don’t try to control their minds as much as adults do.
When a person is under hypnosis he or she listens and responds to the subconscious mind and pays little or no attention to the conscious mind. This is also why, when it is suggested, they are willing to try silly antics.
Use of Hypnosis
Hypnosis can be used for more that performances and parlor games. Scientists and researchers have found that it is useful and effective with patients who suffer from chronic pain such as in conditions like arthritis. It can be used to deal with labor pains during child birth. Research indicates that it can also help reduce the symptoms of dementia. The subconscious is a depository of memories, and hypnosis can be used to remember events that a person may believe he or she has forgotten.