Hypnosis can be traced back to the late 1700s when Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer mesmerized his patients. In the early 1800s, Dr. James Esdaile performed over 300 operations in India using only hypnosis as anaesthesia. However, despite its rich background in helping people, hypnosis is often accompanied by misconceptions.
Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of unconsciousness.
In fact, Scottish Surgeon James Braid, who coined the term
"Hypnotism" in the 1900s, realized that hypnosis was not sleep or
unconsciousness. He even attempted to change the name to "monoideism"
(single/focused thought) to accurately reflect its nature.
Hypnosis is a Safe and Naturally Occurring State
Hypnosis is a safe and naturally occurring state, that allows us to tap
into the power of our subconscious mind. It is a wonderfully relaxing and
rejuvenating experience that can be utilized to create powerful outcomes. By
working with the subconscious mind, which controls our behaviours, habits,
emotions, fears, and even physical sensations, hypnotherapy enables us to
overcome obstacles and bring about positive change.
The Science Behind Hypnosis
In the hypnotic state we experience alpha and theta brainwaves.
Surprisingly, we all naturally enter this state multiple times a day. It
happens when we are falling asleep or waking up, fully engaged in a captivating
movie or show, or so absorbed in the pages of a novel, that we lose track of
time. We can also experience it during the lie-down relaxation at the end of a
yoga class, and when driving - often somewhere familiar - when we get lost in
thought and arrive at our destination without consciously recalling the entire
journey, as if we were on autopilot.
The Neuroscience Principals of Hypnotherapy
At its core, hypnotherapy is based on the principles of neuroscience - the study of the nervous system and the brain. Several key neuroscience principles underpin hypnotherapy and explain how it can help individuals achieve lasting change including:
The brain's ability to change and adapt. Hypnotherapy harnesses
neuroplasticity, allowing the brain to rewire itself and overcome negative
thoughts and behaviours. By creating new neural pathways, lasting
transformation can be achieved.
A principle in neuroscience that states "neurons that fire
together, wire together." It describes the process of synaptic plasticity,
where the connections between neurons strengthen when they are repeatedly
activated together. For example, as a child we might have been given a sweet
when we hurt ourselves, so the brain began to associate “sugar makes me feel
good”. This learning and memory
formation mechanism is utilised in hypnotherapy to create and strengthen neural
networks for new positive associations e.g. linking a goal to a feeling of
excitement and motivation to take action, or feeling a sense of calm confidence
associated to something (e.g. driving over bridges, or childbirth) that previously
The Subconscious Mind
A crucial component
of hypnotherapy. It is responsible for our emotions, memories, automatic
behaviours, beliefs, and autonomic processes. When making positive change it
makes sense to work with the part of our mind that governs so much.
The Power of Suggestion
Suggestion is a form of communication that can influence our thoughts,
beliefs, and behaviours. When these
suggestions are carefully crafted and directed to the subconscious mind they
can reframe limiting thoughts and beliefs, overcome challenges, create positive
changes, and improve well-being.
The Mind-Body Connection
The influence of our mental state on our physical wellbeing and
vice-versa. It acknowledges that our thoughts, emotions, and attitudes can
impact our health and wellbeing. Hypnotherapy utilizes this connection through physiological
relaxation, guided imagery, positive suggestions, hypnotic techniques, and
stimulating the release of feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters, helping to
address conditions like phobias, stress-related disorders, chronic pain, and
anxiety, and enhancing wellbeing.
Harness the Potential of Hypnosis: Utilise Hypnosis for Therapeutic Purposes
Hypnotherapy is hypnosis used in a therapeutic context. It does not require you to cluck like a chicken, unless that helps you achieve your desired outcome! In the 1950s Hypnotherapy was recognised as valid and beneficial by the American Medical Association. Today it is increasingly used by professional sports coaches, celebrities, successful business people and even by the royal family (Kate, the Princess of Wales, used Hypnobirthing for all three children). Internationally some medical centres and hospitals incorporate hypnosis into their procedures, with healthcare providers and their insurance companies recognising the benefits to their patients.
Hypnosis is Giving up Control
When in the hypnotic state you remain aware of your surroundings, can
hear and understand what is being said, and are in complete control at all
times. Whilst a hypnotherapist can guide
you into the hypnotic state and facilitate positive changes, all hypnosis is
ultimately self-hypnosis. You have the power to decide if you want to continue
going deeper or to come out of hypnosis, and can scratch an itch, or readjust your
position. Most clients find the hypnotic
state so pleasant and relaxing they’re reluctant for the session to end!
Unlocking Your Potential with Hypnotherapy
Your subconscious mind is powerful and extraordinary - give it new and compelling imprints and it can achieve wonderful feats and create fascinating possibilities for you. Grounded in neuroscience, hypnotherapy leverages this power and offers you a gentle and safe way to make effective change at the subconscious level to support your wellbeing and achieve your desired outcomes.
To book your first session or find out how hypnotherapy could help you