Hypnosis: What is it, and does it work? - Deepstash
Hypnosis: What is it, and does it work?

Hypnosis: What is it, and does it work?


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The origins of hypnosis

The origins of hypnosis

The concept of the hypnotic trance was born in the 18th century, with the notorious German physican Franz Mesmer

Mesmer claimed that he could showcase the existence of something he called “animal magnetism,” which is an invisible fluid that “flows” between people, animals, plants, and things, and which can be manipulated to influence people’s behavior.


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Top-down regulation

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews has defined hypnosis as a kind of top-down regulation of conscious awareness, a process in which “mental representations […] override physiology , perception, and behavior.”


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Induction and suggestions

Hypnosis involves two main elements: induction and suggestions.

  • Hypnotic induction is the first suggestion delivered during the process of hypnosis, though what it should consist of is still a matter of debate
  • Suggestions are typically expressed as implications that elicit seemingly involuntary responses from the participants, who do not believe they have much, or any, control (or agency) over the situation.


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Some people are also more “suggestible” than others

Some people are also more “suggestible” than others

Neuroimaging techniques have shown that highly suggestible people exhibit higher activity levels in the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and parietal networks of the brain during different phases of hypnosis.


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Hypnosis is about attention and concentration

Hypnosis is about attention and concentration

Many studies link hypnosis specifically to cognitive processes and describe it as “a phenomenon involving attentive receptive concentration .” Some evidence points to the role of hypnosis in controlling selective attention .

The relationship between hypnosis and states of attention is reinforced by the results of past experiments, in which hypnotic suggestion was used to alter different kinds of perception.


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The use of hypnosis

Increasingly, self-hypnosis and techniques of hypnotic suggestion have picked up steam as “life hacks.” Self-hypnosis techniques can be used as a shortcut for achieving relaxation and boosting self-confidence.

Therefore: meditation and hypnosis are closely related, as they both play a role in mind-body regulation.

The potential held by hypnosis for modifying perception is also what makes it fitting as a complementary medicine approach.

Hypnotherapy is currently used to relieve several medical conditions and to help people let go of negative habits that can have a serious impact on their health.


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