Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness during which the subconscious mind is more open and receptive to suggestions given.
The subconscious mind governs the autonomic nervous system, it is the seat of the imagination and where all our memories are stored.
Hypnosis can be used to bring about the changes that you want in your life - but that are difficult to implement on a conscious level. During hypnosis you can not be made to say or do anything you don't want to do, and if you were given suggestions to do something against your own moral convictions you would simply come out of hypnosis.
The word hypnosis comes from the Greek word hypnos, meaning sleep. It was first known as neurypnology by an English surgeon called James Braid (1795-1860) who became immensely interested in mesmeric trances but did not want his research to be associated with mesmerism. He subsequently discovered that eye-fixation created a condition that could cure functional disorders that were incurable by ordinary remedies.
Braid would induce trance by holding a bright object in his left hand at approximately 8 - 15 inches away from the eyes and above the forehead, in order to induce eye strain. When the pupils were dilated he would slowly move his fingers towards the eyes until they automatically closed and would continue to produce arm catalepsy.
Nowadays the more traditional method of hypnotizing a subject is to gently talk them through a progressive state of physical relaxation, followed by a deepening of the trance state and suggestions.
Most clinical subjects (as opposed to stage hypnosis volunteers) will remain in a perfectly still position throughout the trance; there may be fluttering of the eyelids, arm or finger levitation, a pronounced feeling of heaviness or floatiness and a degree of mental imagery.
Hypnotized people hear every word that is said and generally their hearing and sense of smell is greatly enhanced as they are actually in a heightened state of awareness. Most will remember all that has occurred throughout the session, but a small percentage of people will relax so deeply that they are unable to remember a thing afterwards.
Hypnosis has no side effects apart from the beneficial ones of feeling more relaxed and changes that have been suggested during hypnosis begin to take place either immediately or shortly afterwards. Some people may have a delayed reaction which means that any suggestions given could take a few hours to process.
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