The Facts About Hypnosis

There are many myths about hypnosis. The most salient myth is that you can be controlled to perform acts you would not normally do. For example, in the movie, The Manchurian Candidate about an assassination, the main character is hypnotized to kill the head of state. If you have ever seen a stage hypnosis, a selected audience member is asked to make a fool of himself/herself by barking like a dog or clucking like a chicken. The truth about hypnosis is that it is a natural state in which you are fully aware of your actions rather than an unconscious state. In short, you will not do anything in a hypnotic state that you wouldn’t do otherwise.

Scientists cannot measure the state of hypnosis with current technology, yet it is something that we experience every day. The best way to describe it is that you are both hyperalert and deeply relaxed at the same time. We go in and out of trancelike or hypnotic states every day of our lives. An example is when you are concentrating on a good book and someone is talking to you. You are aware that they are speaking to you, and know what they are saying. Yet you are deep into the content of what you are reading. This is a hypnotic like state. Another example is watching a favorite TV show or movie in which you are engrossed.

Hypnosis is a particularly useful tool in helping people to control pain. Dentists and surgeons use it to conduct procedures. New mothers employ it during birthing. Cardiac and cancer patients use it to adapt to their illness. Hypnosis is also used as a stress-reduction procedure to assist people to focus on tasks that may require some precision such as hitting a baseball, shooting a free throw, or putting a golf ball. The procedure is totally benign with no side effects.

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