Used for centuries as a healing tool by the Greeks and Egyptians, hypnotherapy is now being recognized for its ability to treat a wide range of 21st Century problems.
The introduction of hypnotism in the West was first introduced in the 18th Century by Austrian Doctor Franz Anton Mesmer. His work involved using magnets that he believed could restore a proper balance of ‘magnetic fluid’ between the individual and the universe. He claimed this could cure any illness and developed a technique where patients sat around a tub of water containing iron filings while soft music played. Brandishing an iron rod he performed what would later be termed ‘mesmerism’. A number of his patients claimed to be healed after this process. However, modern theories suggest these cures were caused by the hypnotic state induced by the dim lighting, the music and his charismatic personality.
Hypnotherapy as we know it today was developed by American psychologist Milton Erickson in the 1950s. Since then hypnotherapy has become more respectable with some medical authorities even suggesting it be used in medical student training programs. A hypnotic state is similar to day-dreaming, and breathing and heartbeat slow down to induce a state of deep relaxation.
At this point the person’s subconscious becomes receptive to suggestions by the hypnotist. It is at this point that the hypnotist introduces ideas to the person that may help with a specific problem such as smoking or overeating. This can also be effective on a physical level and can ease pain. Even surgical operations can even be carried out while patients are in a trance and this method has been used in childbirth and dentistry. Mental and emotional problems also respond well to hypnotherapy.
According to the Hypnotherapy Association UK, the range of conditions that can be treated by hypnotherapy include: alcoholism, MS (Multiple Sclerosis), anger management, obsessive compulsive disorder, asthma, panic attacks, confidence/motivation/self esteem problems, phobias, depression, psoriasis, drug addiction, eating disorders and eczema. However, anyone suffering from epilepsy, schizophrenia or clinical depression, should consult his doctor first.
Some people are nervous about hypnotic treatment but no one can be hypnotized unless they are willing to allow it and a hypnotized person is unlikely to do anything contrary to their normal behaviour patterns. Some cynics claim they are too ‘strong minded’ but in fact 90 percent of the British population is susceptible to hypnosis, according to The National Council for Hypnotherapists. But anyone can resist entering a hypnotic state if they are unwilling to submit. Single-minded individuals who find it easy to concentrate often make the best subjects.
The hypnotist does not have magical powers to cure instantly so much depends on the rapport between practitioner and client. A hypnotic trance is different for everybody but the subject is always in control. Those who have gone through it describe it as pleasant, relaxing and tranquil. People under hypnosis are aware of all physical sensations around them and may even notice sounds they would not otherwise be aware of. After a traumatic incident, such as a robbery, the subject can often remember car numbers and other minor details of the event with amazing accuracy.
Hypnotherapy is best used as a brief strategic therapy aimed specifically at finding a resolution to a particular problem quickly, safely and efficiently. A skilled practitioner will be able to ascertain how much regression is needed to get to the root of the problem or whether to use future progression techniques.
Hypnotherapists claim that in most cases, positive results are often noticeable immediately after a single session. Scientists claim that there are proven benefits of using hypnotherapy including both psychologically and health-wise.
The techniques of hypnotherapy and neurolinguistics programming (NLP) continue to grow in popularity. They are currently used by certified professionals all over the world, although the process of hypnosis was first used by the Greeks and Egyptians. There are also references to hypnotic procedures in the Hindu Vedas, which were written in 1500BC.
According to scientists, the process of hypnotherapy works by tapping into the client’s subconscious in order to use the power of suggestion. For this process to work the client’s body must be so physically relaxed that they have mentally entered a trance-like state. This is not the same as sleeping as the mind continues to be aware of what is happening in the outside world throughout the entire process. The technique is used in order to change the thought patterns that cause people to think in certain ways and to encourage the subject to view certain things differently in order to better their situation.
Members of the National Council for Hypnotherapists are advising people who want to lose weight to try a session of hypnotherapy, on the grounds that it is a simple, easy and effective method. The concept is to change the client’s mental attitude towards food and exercise and in doing so make healthy food, and exercise appear more appealing.
A client who had a session of hypnotherapy in order to overcome her addiction to chocolate states on the hypnotherapists website “before my hypnotherapy my chocolate habit was embarrassing and rapidly spiraling out of control.” She also states that since the session with qualified hypnotherapist David Hulmes, she has lost weight — 3 stone or more than 40 pounds — and now has no desire to eat chocolate.
Former stage hypnotist and current therapist Paul McKenna states on his website that hypnotherapy is a “revolutionary new way to stop over eating, control cravings, and feel totally motivated to exercise.”
Hypnotherapists can usually be found advertising in local newspapers. There are also several search engines available on the internet, which the public can use to locate and contact professional hypnotherapists in their area.
Subjects should always make sure that their hypnotherapist is qualified before the session begins by requesting to see their qualification certificate.