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Hypnosis - A Serious Science

Some of the most common misconceptions about hypnosis are that it's not real, it's woo woo, it doesn't work. Lots of people basing this on either a past experience or watching a hypnotist on stage. I have seen people in hypnosis, I have seen them make incredible changes and overcome obstacles, visibly and emotionally release and relax.

Hypnosis is a serious science. That is a fact.

It is used in some of the most prestigious medical schools in the USA including The Stanford University School Of Medicine by some of the most renowned professionals. Dr David Spiegel MD, professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioural sciences and the incredible Neuroscientist Dr Andrew Huberman.

A study at The Stanford University School Of Medicine in 2016 scanned the brains of subjects in hypnosis.

The scientists scanned the brains of 57 people during guided hypnosis sessions similar to those that might be used clinically to treat anxiety, pain or trauma. Distinct sections of the brain have altered activity and connectivity while someone is hypnotized, they report in a study published online July 28 in Cerebral Cortex.

MD David Spiegel states:

A write up in the Stanford Medical New Centre states:

For some people, hypnosis is associated with loss of control or stage tricks. But doctors like Spiegel know it to be a serious science, revealing the brain’s ability to heal medical and psychiatric conditions.


“Hypnosis is the oldest Western form of psychotherapy, but it’s been tarred with the brush of dangling watches and purple capes,” said Spiegel, who holds the Jack, Samuel and Lulu Willson Professorship in Medicine. “In fact, it’s a very powerful means of changing the way we use our minds to control perception and our bodies.”

Despite a growing appreciation of the clinical potential of hypnosis, though, little is known about how it works at a physiological level. While researchers have previously scanned the brains of people undergoing hypnosis, those studies have been designed to pinpoint the effects of hypnosis on pain, vision and other forms of perception, and not the state of hypnosis itself.

This article also talks extensively about the positive impact of hypnosis on pain relief and anxiety, with an estimated 10.1 million Americans aged 12 and older misusing opioids in 2019 and with nearly six million people in England and Wales being prescribed an opioid last year, this has to be a great piece of research offering hope and alternative ways of dealing with pain and anxiety. A report in The Independent in 2011 reports, "The rising numbers of people thought to be addicted to legal drugs in the UK is shocking: there are in this country around 400,000 heroin addicts, yet there are believed to be up to seven times as many in thrall to tranquillisers and opiates"

"In patients who can be easily hypnotised, hypnosis sessions have been shown to be effective in lessening chronic pain, the pain of childbirth and other medical procedures; treating smoking addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder; and easing anxiety or phobias. The new findings about how hypnosis affects the brain might pave the way toward developing treatments for the rest of the population — those who aren’t naturally as susceptible to hypnosis"

“We’re certainly interested in the idea that you can change people’s ability to be hypnotised by stimulating specific areas of the brain,” said Spiegel.

A treatment that combines brain stimulation with hypnosis could improve the known analgesic effects of hypnosis and potentially replace addictive and side-effect-laden painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs, he said.

There are many more incredible studies and scientific papers on the impact and effectiveness of hypnosis. I cannot wait to see more of this in the public arena, and hopefully as a treatment with health care providers worldwide.

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