Hypnosis is a voluntary state of focused attention in which the individual is receptive to suggestions. The suggestions are given by a hypnotist or other medium, such as a recording, image etc. Hypnosis allows the individual to more easily access the subconscious mind while still maintaining a degree of conscious awareness.All hypnosis is self-hypnosis, meaning the individual has to want to be hypnotized. Individuals in the hypnotic state can still be aware of their surroundings and make decisions about what they allow themselves to do or accept.
The brain normally produces various electrical brain wave patterns throughout the day: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta.
Beta waves (14 – 30 Hz) occur while we are alert and conscious. We produce beta waves while we are working, actively thinking and problem solving – under stress.
Alpha waves (9 – 13 Hz) occur while we are calm, perhaps relaxed, but still lucid. We produce alpha waves when resting after completing a task, when taking a “mental break”, while taking a deep breath when we realize we’ve been a beta state for a long time. Simple breathing exercises can produce an alpha state.
Theta waves (4 – 8 Hz) occur during deep relaxation, meditation and focused visualization. We produce theta waves while daydreaming in class or during a meeting. Long distance runners are often in a theta state when they feel they are “in the zone” or experience a “runner’s high”. Even driving on long stretches of highway often produces theta brain waves; this explains the experience of being unable to recall driving during the last few kilometers.
Delta waves (1-3 Hz) occur during sleep and dreaming.
The hypnosis state goes between the alpha and theta states. The brain feels relaxed but is still consciously alert when it needs to be. Therefore, most of the general population has experienced being in a hypnotic state at some time or another. However, because modern life is very stress inducing, many people spend a lot of time in a Beta state (which increases the stress response) and have a hard time producing their own alpha and theta states.
In a clinical setting, hypnosis creates the alpha and theta states in individuals and use them to their advantage: to make positive changes. Furthermore, during sessions with the hypnotherapist, the individual learns how to self-hypnotize and control their own beta, alpha and theta states – thus improving their overall health.
Why Use Hypnosis?
Our conscious mind is responsible for things like thinking critically, planning, solving problems, remembering things short-term, having intellect and reason. Our subconscious mind is responsible for our emotions, feelings, fears, “gut reactions” and long term memory. Our subconscious is automatic.
Our subconscious mind drives our conscious mind.
Our subconscious mind influences how we perceive and response to experience.
Our subconscious mind controls our habits.
This is why you may have 100 different reactions from 100 different people all watching the same movie, or looking at the same painting, or listening to the same song.
Hypnosis can help us access the subconscious mind to find solutions to problems like the following:
Why do I keep eating fattening foods even though I need to lose 20 lbs and lower my high cholesterol?
Why do I do poorly on an exam even though I know the subject matter very well?
Why do I fear spiders even though I know they can’t actually harm me?
Why can’t I learn to just sit back and relax?
Why can’t I quit smoking even though I know it’s bad for me?
So, if we truly are our own worst enemy or our own biggest obstacle, hypnosis can help change that.