The scientific reality of hypnosis


Hypnosis is most probably the most controversial topic in psychological sciences that is often misinterpreted by the general public primarily due to what they have seen in movies, or the stage shows. The actual reality of hypnosis is as similar to the stage shows as the Hollywood movies have similarity with the real world (just kidding). Actually, hypnosis is an effective psychological phenomenon that has several applications in clinical domain. It can be defined as the state of hypnotic trance with enhanced focus/concentration and suggestibility.

Forms of hypnosis:

There are different forms of hypnosis depending upon how it is achieved:

 Guided hypnosis refers to the use of specialized instruments, instructions, or music to induce the state of hypnosis. The online services or mobile apps often use this strategy.

Self-hypnosis is the hypnotic state that is achieved by the person himself. This might be used to deal with the stress or relieve pain.

Hypnotherapy is the actual use of hypnosis by the licensed therapists to deal with the issues such as anxiety, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia, and managing eating disorder.

Myths and facts about hypnosis:

Research has demonstrated the applications of hypnosis lessen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), pain control during dental procedures, rheumatoid arthritis and child birth, reduction of dementia, skin disorders, and nausea.

Hypnosis is also suitable to deal with the behavioral issues such as eating disorder (weight loss), quitting smoking, and bed wetting.

About 10-15% of people are much easier to hypnotize whereas 10% are considered too difficult for it. Children are more likely to get hypnotize. People often drenched in fantasies and those with open mind are much susceptible to hypnosis.

It is a myth that only people with weak mind can be hypnotized whereas in reality everyone with an IQ more than 70, having the ability to concentrate can be hypnotized. In a nutshell, if you can read this article, you can be hypnotized.

It is believed that the hypnotist can make you do anything, and you lose all the control on your will and actions. It is totally wrong, and it is nearly impossible to make you do anything against your willingness.

The person hypnotized doesn’t go to sleep and is aware of what’s happening in the surrounding. If we consider attention as light, it’s just like we focus the light into a beam as in laser from the scattered light of a bulb.

It is a myth that hypnosis can be used as a “truth test”, and one cannot lie under this condition. It is not factual at all however, in the situation of focused attention or heightened imagination during hypnosis, a person can talk bizarre or unfamiliar.

It is scientifically false to say that you have never been hypnotized, as we all face forms of hypnotic trance in our routine life including daydreaming, emotional engagement, meditation etc. We even enter and exit from the hypnotic trance state during the process of sleeping and waking up.

It is true that hypnosis can help to recover the loss memories. As our long-term memory is a part of our sub-conscious mind and hypnosis has the potential to access the resources in that region so, its fairly possible to have a role in memory recovery. However, the results cannot be guaranteed.