Hypnotists hear this question on a daily basis—usually from skeptical potential patients. Although medical hypnosis (also called hypnotherapy) has been rigorously studied by the scientific community, it is nonetheless poorly understood by the public at large.
One of the main reasons for this is media stereotyping: hypnosis as the tool of charlatans and hucksters in old Hollywood B-movies, and occasionally the power of mind-controlling supervillains. Hypnosis, as a discipline, hasn’t entered the public consciousness in any other significant way, so it makes sense that people are skeptical.
Complicating matters is the fact that not all people are equally susceptible to hypnosis. The Stanford University of Medicine has researched this phenomenon extensively, finding that while one-fifth of the general population responds very favorably to hypnotic suggestion, roughly one-third does not, and the majority of people lay on a spectrum between the two.
Stanford established a 12-point scale for susceptibility to hypnosis. According to the scale, zero (5 percent of the population) indicates complete non-response to hypnotic suggestion. Twelve (roughly 3 percent) indicates hypnosis so deep that patients fail to react to the stench of ammonia placed directly beneath the nose after the hypnotists they command to shut off their sense of smell.
But will it work for you?
The answer to that depends on what you want to achieve.
Conditions Hypnosis Has Been Shown to Address
Hypnosis, through its subtle influence of the way people think, value and judge things, is well-suited to improving the success of treatments for conditions such as:
- Psychological phobias
- Sleep Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Chronic Anxiety
- Chronic Pain
The effect of hypnosis on addiction is particularly well documented, with success rates of post-addiction rehabilitation treatments involving hypnotherapy scoring between 60 and 70 percent averages, as opposed to a 2 percent success rate without hypnosis. In particular, it can be helpful in reducing cravings for tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, and even food.
How Does Hypnosis Work?
Knowing that hypnosis really does produce results, it’s time to address the actual hypnotic process.
Again, media typecasting probably leads you to imagine an eccentric, fabulously dressed orientalist dangling an antique pocket watch in front of the patient’s face. That is not how modern hypnotherapy works—in fact, the whole process is quite unglamorous and usually takes place in a comfortable chair, or even at the patient’s computer through hypnosis downloads.
Here’s a typical scenario: the patient is made to feel totally comfortable while focusing a single point —usually some mundane object— while the hypnotist speaks. The hypnotist encourages that focus, speaking in a soothing voice and inducing an ever more deeply relaxed state until the patient is ready to go under. At that point, the hypnotist counts down from twenty and at the end, hypnosis is achieved.
The combination of intense focus and deep relaxation brings the subconscious mind to the surface. The sensation is not unlike the one driver’s experience after hours on the open road, free from distraction and totally at ease. This is the point when hypnotic suggestion can produce profound results.
Want to try for yourself? Schedule a consultation or enjoy a try a hypnosis download products today!