The Scientific Approach to Hypnotherapy and How It Works
(In case you are curious)
Considered just a trick intended to deceive the audiences for over a century, hypnosis has only just recently started being taken seriously. It evolved from a side show at the circus to a respected practice used by many health practitioners across the globe, as a complementary therapy. The National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, USA, posted an article about hypnosis a few years ago,where is says it can evoke “changes in a multitude of psychological phenomena” **
Hypnosis is nothing to be afraid of, in fact it is a very natural state which we all enter and exit several times a day. Have you ever driven your car to a familiar destination but can’t remember actually driving there? Or how often do you feel really relaxed just before falling asleep? Both these situations are examples of the natural state of hypnosis.
As your mind relaxes, it becomes more open to suggestions which can help you overcome a wide range of disorders, traumas and mental states. But having a relaxed mind is not always the same as being under hypnosis. There are actual changes in the brain waves that can be observed and measured by an EEG.
There are 5 different sets of brain waves, each indicating a certain level of brain activity, that can be measured in cycles per second (Hz). They are:
- Beta waves relate to the awakened state and are associated with reasoning and critical thinking.
- Alpha waves are associated with deep relaxation, you can experience them when you meditate or daydream. In this state you have a heightened imagination and are capable of deep concentration. It is also the state where you can enter the subconscious mind.
- Theta waves indicate deep meditation or light sleep and are also present during hypnosis. This is a direct link to your subconscious mind.
- Delta waves are present in deep, dreamless sleep. They are linked to the unconscious mind.
- Gamma waves, are associated with bursts of insight, but very little is still known about this state of mind presently.
The optimal state for hypnosis is between Alpha and Theta, where you are awake, aware of all that is happening around you, but are deeply relaxed. This is when the critical mind, present in Beta waves, relaxes its control and moves out of the way, so that the subconscious mind can be entered.
To better understand the mind, let’s dissect it. Are you ready?
The mind is composed by 3 levels of awareness:
- Conscious - the mind is awake and active. You experience this state during the day when you go about your activities, conversations, thoughts, and decision making.
- Subconscious – the mind that is in the background but is always aware of what is happening. It keeps a record of everything you have ever experienced, every thought, conversation, feeling and sensation you have ever had since you were conceived. This information is then used to influence your behaviours, habits, and thoughts in our awakened or conscious state.
- Superconscious – this is the mind that is beyond the material world. It is also called the universal mind and it is able to acquire knowledge through non-physical ways. When accessed, insights and memories from previous lives can be revealed.
When in the state of hypnosis, the subconscious mind is accessed. In this state of awareness, it is possible to look at the causes of a certain behaviour or retrieve a lost memory. The subconscious mind is similar to the operating system of a computer, you can change the programming to suit your needs.
Say you have been a smoker for many years, you’ve been trying to quit for a long time, but nothing seems to work. You always end up going back for a cigarette. You tell yourself it’s the last one, but it never is, and you end up feeling frustrated as your mind doesn’t seem to listen. For the subconscious mind smoking is the norm, it has no motivation to change as that’s what you have been doing for years and it even makes you feel good when you do it. It will keep giving the signals to the conscious mind that it is supposed to smoke, not quit. So, no matter how hard you try, you keep doing it.
One day you hear about hypnosis, how effective it can be breaking bad habits and you decide to give it a try. While under hypnosis, the hypnotherapist will give certain suggestions to your subconscious mind that will make the cigarettes look like they are the most disgusting thing you have ever encountered. The programming is being changed on the level of the subconscious, so it takes hold very quickly and *hopefully* after a few sessions you are completely free from the habit of smoking. You even feel disgusted by the simple thought of picking up a cigarette.
Hypnosis works and it’s very quick because it changes the belief in the operating system of your being. But don’t be fooled, hypnosis is not a miracle cure for every situation or bad habit. In fact, you have to want the change to happen for it to be possible. If you use hypnosis to quit smoking only because your partner pushed you to stop, it will never work.
The hypnotherapist cannot make you cluck like a chicken or hurt someone if you don’t want to do it. They can only give you suggestions that are accepted by you. So, if you want to try hypnotherapy to break a bad habit, make sure you really want to break that habit. Hypnotherapy is a very effective method that is now widely accepted and even used by many health professionals. It can help bring insights into human behaviour and promote real transformation improving the quality of life of the recipient in wonderful ways.
Come give it a try!