The Truth About Hypnosis: It's an Accepted Part of Mainstream Medicine
Contrary to what you've seen in old horror movies, when you're hypnotized, you can't be forced to do anything you don't want to do. What hypnosis will do is make you more receptive to suggestion. Studies show that it can even ease some physical conditions. As a result, hypnosis has shed its hocus-pocus image and become an accepted part of mainstream medicine. In fact, hypnosis has developed into a valuable tool to treat pain and anxiety.
Three out of four adults are receptive to hypnosis to some degree; one in six is highly susceptible. You are a good candidate if you have a vivid imagination, if you like to get absorbed in a project for long stretches, or if you enjoy solitary pursuits. You're less likely to go into a trance easily if logic and rationality are your bywords.
How does hypnosis work? Hypnosis is a state of relaxed but heightened focus, similar to meditation. A hypnotherapist typically asks you to concentrate by staring at a fixed point or counting slowly to 100 or closing your eyes and visualizing a soothing place. Breathing and heart rate slow as you tune out your surroundings. Your mind becomes extremely receptive to new images and possibilities, and the hypnotherapist can give you a specific healing suggestion. Why you are suggestible in this state is unclear, but hypnotized people appear to have increased blood flow to the frontal cerebral cortex; this tends to block sensory input and create a surge of theta waves associated with concentrated attention.
What are the medical uses of hypnosis? Hypnosis is normally used in conjunction with other medical treatments. It has been shown to soothe symptoms of asthma, alleviate nausea, and relieve pain -
including cancer pain, post-operative discomfort, chronic back pain, and burn and headache pain. For instance, a health professional trained in hypnosis might suggest that you are putting on a glove filled with painkillers or that you have a control knob in your mind that allows you to turn off pain. This approach is so effective that some hospitals have tried hypnosis in place of anesthesia for surgery. Hypnosis also shows promise as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and clenched-jaw syndrome.
Some psychiatrists employ hypnosis to lessen anxiety and irrational fears. They also find it useful for diagnosing and treating patients with multiple personality disorder. Using hypnosis to recover suppressed memories has yielded uncertain results.
A couple of reminders: Don't depend on hypnosis to help you quit smoking or lose weight; the evidence is mixed about whether the process works for either one of these problems. And staring at a pendulum or a fixed point can focus your concentration.
Tags: Health , Wellness , Hypnosis , Medicine
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