Does Hypnotherapy Work?

Posted by on Sep 23, 2013

Thought I would share this article with you from the Natural Therapy For All newsletter which gives a really brief but very informative explanation about what hypnosis is and why it’s successful.


Whenever you hear the word ‘hypnosis’, what comes to your mind? Hypnosis is one of the most misunderstood psychological treatments today, probably because the society often links it to ‘stage hypnosis’ seen in theatrical performances. But hypnosis, in psychology, involves more than just putting a person in a state of trance. It is a psychological phenomenon that is backed by clinical research and is proven effective in the treatment of different illnesses.

So what is hypnosis?

The history of hypnosis dates back to 3000 BC, when it was used both in religious rites and surgical procedures. The modern scientific understanding of this ancient therapy was introduced by a Scottish doctor named James Braid. He started conducting empirical and scientific research on hypnosis after watching a theatrical performance on magnetism, which he considered a ‘hoax’. Dr Braid was the first to introduce the term ‘hypnosis’. His scientific findings were published in the journal Neurypnology in 1843. Since then, more scientists began investigating the science of hypnosis until it became a formal intervention used in clinical settings today.

In psychology, hypnosis is a state of highly focused attention or concentration, and is often associated with relaxation and heightened suggestibility. The theory is that during this state, many people are more open and willing to acknowledge helpful or positive suggestions than they usually would under normal circumstances. These positive suggestions are referred to as ‘post hypnotic suggestions’ because they are intended to be followed by the person even if he or she is no longer under hypnosis.

Many people think that under hypnosis, they lose their free will. But contrary to the popular belief, people are completely in control of their mind and body throughout the procedure, and would never do anything they would find highly objectionable. During hypnosis, they are simply in a heightened state of concentration.

Does hypnosis heal?

As research has shown, yes it does. Numerous studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of hypnosis in treating different forms of mental illness, such as phobia, addiction and anxiety disorder. Even though the mechanism behind hypnosis is not yet fully understood, studies show that it is an effective tool for a variety of disorders. According to Mayo Clinic researchers, this therapy works well in changing negative habits, reducing stress and anxiety, controlling pain, lowering blood pressure, reducing frequency and intensity of migraine, treating asthma, and healing skin problems. Another study which appeared in the journal Anaesthesia & Analgesia, researchers concluded that hypnosis is best used in conjunction with other forms of therapy.

Hypnosis is very effective in alleviating pain. No wonder why even the Duchess of Cambridge used it to overcome labour pain whilst giving birth to the royal baby. But then, the effectiveness of hypnosis in reducing pain depends on a variety of factors. First is the client’s willingness to use such approach. Some people do not possess the trait called ‘hypnotisability’, so the treatment does not seem to be effective for them. The other factors are the skill of the therapist and the severity of the problem. Although hypnosis has limitations, it is always worth trying because it poses no ‘side effects’ to the person.

Hypnosis is also used to treat sleeping disorders, stress issues, and post-traumatic stress and depression symptoms. It is also used to help people overcome grief, loss and fear.

This therapy is not only for those who are struggling with a mental health problem. It is also useful for people who simply want to experience deep relaxation. Being able to relax has many benefits. It makes people creative, better at solving problems, and less irritable. It also reduces the risk of health issues like heart disease and high blood pressure.


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