What is hypnosis and what can it be used for?

The term "hypnosis" comes from the ancient Greek word “hypnos” or  "sleep". The actual word "hypnosis" and "hypnotism" were coined by Étienne Félix d'Henin de Cuvillers in 1820 and then made popular in English by the Scottish surgeon James Braid around 1841.

Hypnosis can be described as a trance state characterised by suggestibility, relaxation and a heightened state of imagination. While it’s not exactly sleep because you remain alert during a hypnotised state, one way to describe it is like daydreaming. You are fully conscious, but you tune out most of the stimuli around you - perhaps like when you’ve been driving for 5 minutes but can't remember how you got where you are

There have been several reports in the media, just over the last few months, reporting on the use of hypnosis for a range of issues and ailments. Here are just some of the reports citing hypnosis as a useful therapy for a range of issues from pain management to getting an edge in business to getting a promotion.

A recent Time article on hypnosis asked the opinion of an academic from Harvard Medical School about the effectiveness of hypnosis and he confirmed that this well-studied field has strong evidence to show that it is a successful form of therapy that can treat a wide range of conditions.

Getting the edge on your competitors in business

Business Insider recently reported on how hypnosis is being used to treat businesspeople for self-esteem issues, stress or anxiety, and a variety of other inhibitors. Practitioners in the field are reporting that executives are adopting hypnosis in place of meditation to give them a competitive edge.

Hypnosis for pain control

Researchers from UNSW Sydney and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, Brazil and the University of Washington, US have have shown that when hypnosis is combined with pain management education it reduces the intensity of chronic low back pain.

Hypnosis when used in this way helps the brain to calm the noise of pain given sufferers respite from what can be a debilitating condition. It also has the added benefit of being inexpensive, drug-free and can be done in groups.

Hypnosis to help you get a promotion? Why not?

Vogue magazine recently ran a story that suggests that hypnosis can help you get that dream job that you’re seeking. It’s not such a huge stretch of the imagination as hypnosis is a great therapy for bosting confidence.

A hypnotherapy session usually lasts about an hour and is a totally natural state. Using various relaxation techniques to guide you into a hypnotic state, you remain conscious and aware. Your body becomes more relaxed and the mind more responsive to suggestions.

Through hypnotherapy we suppress the influences of the conscious mind and alter the state in which that our subconscious shows hesitancy to a certain situation. The reason that hypnosis works is that all physical or mental behaviours can be traced back to nerve transmission in the brain. These nerve pathways can be altered by suggestion when the brain is in an alpha or theta brain wave state that lies somewhere between sleep and wakefulness. The healing patterns dictated by hypnotherapy are established by achieving these states. all behaviour is run by a habit of thought, when you change the thoughts you can change the behaviour.

Your lack of confidence, low self-esteem and high anxiety may be what’s holding you back from asking your boss for a pay rise, promotion or to take on a new challenge. Facing those challenges through hypnotherapy could be your next step on your path to success.