For most people, the word hypnosis conjures images of swinging a pocket watch or a grown man barking like a dog — not medical treatment. But your friends are raving about it and you decide to give it a try.
So you go, lay down in a comfy chair, take a deep breathe and let the hypnotherapist do her thing. Your eyes feel fluttery, you fall into an extreme sense of relaxation and concentration, following the words of your therapist.
Then she asks, "Do you remember the first time that you felt anxiety?"
"When was the last time you felt extreme anxiety?"
You spout out answers without thinking, it's almost as if your brain skips a step and just lets it all out. Soon you're talking about that one time at your best friend's slumber party when you had to go home, or the time you had to leave work early to take a few breathes.
All these memories have since been forgotten or repressed. And that's the moment you realize you've most definitely been hypnotized.
Care to take a trance?
Hypnosis therapy is on the rise again for its ability to treat anything from emotional trauma to addiction. Hypnosis is one of the oldest forms of Western psychotherapy. But there's still little research to back how exactly it works.
In a small, recent, study from a group of Stanford researchers, it suggested that hypnosis sparks real changes at a brain level. The brain was measured during the process of hypnosis, and there were significant changes in activity in the brain areas that control attention, muscle function, and environmental awareness.
But if "trance" and "hypnosis" sound a little too trendy for you, it might just be because you never had a word for that focused feeling you get.
"Research shows that the average person goes into a trance state many times throughout the day," explains Dr. Maryanna Polukhin. "It's just a state of profound concentration, where your surroundings melt away. So when you play a game on your phone and don't notice a full hour pass by, that's trance."
Will Yourself To Be Better
Studies and research and debate aside, hypnosis definitely does one thing for your mind-- It helps to relax and quiet your conscious, so you having a clearer definition of the problem you are facing.
It takes out all that excess chatter floating about up there and helps you focus on the problem by splitting it in chunks.
"It's about changing the patterns in your mind," says Morgan Yakus, a hypnotherapist from NYC . "So if you're stressed or stuck in a habit and you feel like you can't move forward, I help you change that pattern so that you see things in a different way."
That's something worth chanting about.
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