Within the scientific and cultural discussion, there is a lot of research today about the healing powers of the heart, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and even naturally-derived hallucinogenic compounds such as DMT and psilocybin.
However, I feel the most exciting one of all is the amazing healing power of hypnosis.
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What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis does not have one simple definition. It can be defined as a state of suggestibility, deep focus (a trance), or as an altered state of awareness, consciousness, or brainwave activity.
If we define hypnosis as a state of suggestibility, then we can consider ourselves constantly in hypnosis. We know that our culture and community shape our beliefs, advertising works on a deeper level, and even dreams affect our mood.
If we add a deep focus (a trance) to the definition, then we are no longer considered in hypnosis during our normal everyday lives. Therefore hypnosis is considered to begin once we move into an altered state.
The hypnagogic trance begins when the human brain moves from BETA (thinking) into ALPHA (relaxation) and then into THETA (the dream-like state between sleep and awake) where we become increasingly connected to our subconscious.
Therefore, I would define hypnosis as the exciting practice of deepening our connection to our own subconscious.
The History of Hypnotherapy.
Nearly all ancient cultures, including the Sumerian, Persian, Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman, had shamans, priests or practitioners employing the hypnotic trance state (hypnagogia) for healing.
In the 18th century, enough doctors, surgeons, psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists were working with hypnagogia that the British Medical Association (BMA) unanimously endorsed the therapeutic use of hypnosis in 1892.
Scottish surgeon James Braid introduced the terms ‘hypnotism’ and ‘self-hypnotism’ in 1841. In 1845, Scottish surgeon James Esdaile gained recognition for his painless surgical procedures on the battlefields of India using hypnotism (out of sheer necessity). At the beginning of the 20th century, French psychologist Émile Coué developed the concept of autosuggestion, a self-hypnosis technique making use of what we now call placebo effect, and American psychiatrist Milton Erickson, specialising in medical hypnosis, founded the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) in 1957. The UK National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Hypnotherapy were published in 2002.
Thanks to a 2016 Stanford study, we now have scientific evidence that hypnosis causes physical changes in the brain that enhance “somatic and emotional control.” It has taken time, but hypnotherapy today is a fully recognised medical practice, and the healing that can be carried out in this state continues to develop.
Today, hypnotherapy is often used by people to stop smoking, lose weight, stop worrying (for anxiety and depression) and to get better sleep (for insomnia). Language, suggestion and placebo in the hypnotic state are enough to help people overcome phobias, and addictive habits like smoking, eating or overthinking.
The healing power of hypnosis becomes even more amazing when we explore how hypnotherapy is also used to invite the subconscious to do the healing for us.
Parts therapy, for example, is a well established modality in which different parts of one’s own subconscious communicate with each other to end addictive behaviours, resolve problems or issues, and overcome past trauma.
The subconscious communicates with itself, the person in hypnosis, and with the guide (the therapist) via ideomotor responses, such as finger movements.
In past life regression therapy, people visit significant memories from previous lives and the subconscious is asked to disclose the importance of these memories.
Whether imagination or actual memory (see the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson and Dr. Jim Tucker from the University of Virginia School of Medicine), past lives therapy provides real insights and healing for the person in this life.
There is so much more to learn about the healing power of the hypnagogic state. It can be explored in lucid dreams and out-of-body experiences (OBEs), with plant medicines like ayahuasca, and deep meditation (self-induced or with a hypnotist).
Future life progression can take people to spaceships, other worlds and to experience themselves as alien life forms, and even that state of euphoria experienced in the deepest levels of meditation can be induced by a hypnotist, and is known as the coma state.
I practice a unique type of content-free hypnotherapy, which means I don’t need to know what the problem actually is, and you don’t either, because your subconscious already knows.
First, we ask the subconscious to release any negative images, emotions or sensations that are stored in the body. This release of stress can have a profound positive effect on the body and mind. This includes increasing mood, clearing past trauma, and removing physical pain.
Next we go on a mystical, magical journey based on the insights gained during the emotional cleaning. Along the way, we ask the subconscious to show you memories, people and situations that give knowledge and insights to help you be healthier, happier, and in best alignment moving forward.
I offer on donation hypnotherapy sessions to anyone, so everyone can experience the incredible healing power of hypnosis.
Everyone who participates in a session with me is welcome to join the free weekly Sunday morning meditation sessions where we learn to meditate and use self-hypnosis to heal ourselves.
Join me on a journey to discover the power of hypnosis.