Hypnosis is a form of meditation where an individual is guided into a trance-like state of focused concentration by a hypnotist, or by a self-hypnotism technique. Whereas many believe that once you are hypnotized, you are under the control of the person who hypnotized you, this is actually not the case. Hypnosis is simply a form of focused meditation that is guided by suggestions.
The way hypnosis actually works is still under debate by psychologists and scientists who have studied the way the brain reacts to hypnotic inductions. While there is proof that hypnosis can slow down heart rate and breathing and cause the hypnotized individual to enter into a very relaxed state of mind, the actual occurrences in the brain and body can be different for each person experiencing hypnosis.
From research conducted on hypnotized people, there seems to be a consistent change of activity in the brain. Measurements of the electrical activity in the brain, or electroencephalographs (EEGs), show that brains produce different brain waves dependent on what mental state the brain is in. In many cases, a person that is hypnotized will have lower frequency waves, similar to what happens when a person is sleeping or dreaming. This means that the hypnotized person will also have a drop in higher frequency waves, which are associated with wakefulness and thinking. While this evidence is not entirely conclusive about what happens to the brain during hypnosis, it does lend itself to the theory that the mind “slows down” during hypnosis, allowing the brain to be open to suggestions by a hypnotist of self-hypnosis agent, like a CD or MP3.
There is also scientific evidence that suggests a shift in brain activity between the right and left hemispheres during hypnosis. Researchers have seen a pattern in hypnotized people where brain activity shifts from the logic-centered left hemisphere to the creative-centered right hemisphere during hypnosis. This evidence is also not conclusive and all telling, but lends itself to the theory that a hypnotized mind is more open to feelings, imagination, creativity and subconscious thoughts.
The methods by which someone can be hypnotized vary depending on the hypnotist and the person being hypnotized. While some people are very easily hypnotized, others will be resistant to the hypnosis and therefore not be hypnotized as easily. To be hypnotized, a person must have a desire to be hypnotized, believe that he or she can be hypnotized and also be in a relaxed and comfortable physical state. The basic methods of inducing someone into a hypnotic trance include fixed-eye induction, rapid induction and progressive relaxation and imagery. In each one of these hypnosis induction methods, the person being hypnotized is encouraged and prompted to have their mind focus on something other than their surroundings and current thoughts. Distracting the mind allows it to surrender to a more trance-like state, in which the hypnotized person can be guided through suggestions by the hypnotist of self-hypnosis CD or MP3.
Hypnotists undergo some sort of training to be able to understand how to induce a people into hypnosis through a variety of methods and techniques. They may go to an actual school, take classes online, or be self-taught through internet courses and manuals. Not all techniques work for all people, so it’s important for a hypnotist to gauge the person being hypnotized and determine what method will work best to get the best result. A hypnotist will often test a person to gauge their level of suggestibility and willingness to be hypnotized. The hypnotist will make initial suggestions to the person being hypnotized to get them in the mind-frame that they will soon be experiencing hypnosis. Once the person in induced, the hypnotism session begins and the hypnotist can guide the hypnotized person through a series of exercises and conversation to open up their thoughts, dreams, imagination and subconscious to deal with issues, pain and much more.