MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THERAPEUTIC HYPNOSIS

A successful option to try for mental concerns

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Hypnosis is a party trick performed by stage performers – not licensed medical professionals.

However, the practice of medical hypnosis can be traced back thousands of years in cultures around the world. It was once used for pain management during surgery until doctors started using ether. Today, it’s commonly used as a tool by physicians, dentists, licensed social workers, psychologists and therapists. Hypnosis has been known to help patients with everything from depression and phobias to smoking cessationweight loss, stress management and irritable bowel syndrome. Some hospitals even use it as a tool to reduce pain in individuals before, during and after surgery, as well as in patients with chronic conditions or diseases.

For every medical professional who practices hypnosis, there’s another who remains skeptical of it. Research suggests susceptibility toward hypnosis varies widely from person to person – and some are resistant to the procedure all together.

Bottom line? It’s hard to pinpoint the exact strength of its power, or define precisely what constitutes a “hypnotic state.” However, brain scans indicate that changes occur in brain activity during hypnosis. The “control mechanisms” that help an individual make critical decisions during a conflict are lowered, causing them to reach a more open state of consciousness. And randomized controlled clinical trials indicate that the end goal of hypnosis isn’t simply mental relaxation – it’s also effective for everything from pain reduction to irritable bowel syndrome relief.

You’re unconscious – and powerless – during hypnosis

Of course, everyone’s response varies. Some people have a clear memory of what happens during hypnosis, while another’s recollection might be fuzzier. Some might be able to move their head or lift a finger if they’re prompted, whereas others will remain impassive. However, you aren’t rendered unconscious. Although you’re receiving “suggestions” from the hypnotist, you aren’t at the practitioner’s mercy. Whatever you do under hypnosis, there is an underlying consent or compliance within you. If you’re trying to use hypnosis to, say, quit smoking, the hypnotist can’t force you to shed the habit if, deep down, you have no real desire to give up.

Hypnosis will cure what ails you

Hypnosis can be highly successful in some, yet ineffective in others. Sometimes hypnosis works well in conjunction with other treatments – say, therapy if you’re depressed, medication if you’re physically hurting or exercise and diet if you’re attempting weight loss. Sometimes hypnosis works after one session; other times, it takes multiple appointments. But hypnosis alone is rarely the be-all, end-all solution to someone’s problems. And although it’s a versatile tool that can be used for everything from pain to panic, experts caution it could worsen trauma or severe psychological disorders if the provider isn’t skilled and the patient is unstable.

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