There are a lot of conflicting opinions on the validity of hypnosis as a form of therapy. However scientific studies appear to have fallen firmly in the camp of hypnosis not only being a legitimate form of treatment but also highly effective.
It is only natural that before someone tries an alternative treatment, such as hypnosis, that they would want to be provided with proof that it actually works. There have been a number of scientific studies over the last several decades and they all seem to point to the same answer, hypnosis really does work. In this article I will write about just a few of the studies into hypnosis and how they provide proof that hypnosis works.
Before I begin though I would like to explain how hypnosis works. People who have not been hypnotized often imagine it to be a form of sleep where you can be controlled to do things against your will. This belief is brought about by stage hypnosis where the hypnotist “controls” their volunteer. The keyword in that last sentence was volunteer. A stage hypnotist will ask for volunteers, and just by volunteering they’re already agreeing to do what the hypnotist asks them to do. It’s easy to hypnotize someone into dancing around on stage but if the hypnotist was then to ask them to go and rob a bank for them, do you think the volunteer would? Certainly not because the volunteer is there to have fun, not commit a serious crime.
Also hypnotherapy (the name for hypnosis when used for therapeutic reasons) is quite different from stage hypnosis. Before a therapeutic hypnosis session begins the hypnotist and the client will discuss the goals of the client and agree on the areas the session will focus on.
It is believed that hypnosis works first by opening the subconscious mind to suggestion. From here the hypnotist can implant suggestions to help the client to achieve their goal, whether it be to lose weight, quit smoking or something else entirely.
By now you should have a reasonable understanding of how hypnosis works so now I shall provide proof that hypnosis works.
Hypnosis and Healing
In 2003 the Harvard Medical School experimented with the effects hypnosis has on the speed of healing broken bones. The study took twelve people with broken ankles and used regular treatment on half of them, and hypnosis alongside the regular treatment for the other half.
The results were remarkable as those who had underwent hypnosis had healed as much in six weeks as those who did not had is eight and a half weeks. The proof hypnosis works here is self evident. Just by adding hypnosis into their rehabilitation people with broken bones healed over twenty five percent faster than those who merely used the regular treatment.
This study can be seen to be of particular importance to athletes who wish to speed up the recovery process so they can go back to training and competing.
Cromie, W.J. (2003) Hypnosis Helps Healing. Harvard University Gazette, May 8th 2003.
Hypnosis and Pain Control
Scientists at the University of Iowa Health Science Relations fMRI scans to discover the effects of hypnosis on pain control. The study found that people under hypnosis experienced less pain from a heat than those who weren’t hypnotized. This fact even showed up on brain scans as the volunteers under hypnosis displayed significantly different patterns of brain activity than those who weren’t. This certainly suggest that hypnosis somehow blocks out signals of pain from the brain.
University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178
Hypnosis Shows On Brain Scans
In 2009 at Hull University researchers found that hypnosis had a noticeable effect on brain activity when scanned. This shows that hypnosis is not merely a placebo treatment as some skeptics claim it to be.
Dr. Michael Heap, a psychologist involved in the study, concluded that hypnosis primes the mind for suggestion. Not only has this study shown proof that hypnosis works it has also adequately explained how it works.
Once the mind is primed to suggestion a hypnotist can then help their client achieve their goals. I have only touched upon three of the different studies into hypnosis but they have been many more. There is proof that hypnosis works for weight loss, IBS relief, skin problems, increased fertility and much more.
Perhaps the ultimate proof that hypnosis works though is to try it for yourself. Anecdotal evidence also falls on the side of hypnosis working. Even celebrities such as Matt Damon and Ellen DeGeneres have gone on the record as saying hypnosis helped them to quit smoking.
So if you are thinking about using hypnosis, please do so with confidence, as all the evidence dictates that hypnosis really does work.
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