Hypnotherapy 101: Everything You Need To Know About Hypnosis

If you associate ‘clucking like a chicken’ with the term ‘hypnotherapy’, then you are not alone. However, that is a grossly misconstrued perception of the wonders of hypnosis. Hypnotherapy dates all the way back to the 18th century, where Franz Anton Mesmer developed his own practice and theories called “mesmerism” for the treatment of pain. It’s been used to treat a wide variety of health issues in therapeutic settings and is on the rise to becoming a common treatment practice.


But What IS Hypnosis?

According to the American Psychological Association, hypnosis is a procedure during which a health professional or researcher suggests while treating someone, that he or she experience changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts or behavior. This process involves relaxing the body and the mind of the client in order to reach a more suggestible state, diving into the subconscious.

If you have ever ‘spaced out’ during a long drive or been so completely engrossed in a movie at the theater, then you have been hypnotized. Self-hypnosis occurs regularly when you are ‘zoned out’ or find yourself in a completely relaxed state. You become more suggestible – that is, you are more open to suggestions.

In a therapeutic setting, when you are in a hypnotic state, your subconscious becomes open to making the changes, behaviors, attitudes or beliefs you are wishing to make. It is like planting seeds in your subconscious so they can grow into the changes you want.

When in a state of hypnosis, you become very relaxed – in both the body and the mind. However, the mind remains very attentive and is more open to suggestions.

How Does It Work?

Hypnosis involves dropping into the subconscious through an induction process. The induction is designed to quiet the mind and body in order to dive into your stored memories, thoughts, (limiting) beliefs and perceptions. The subconscious holds all of these, and by quieting your conscious mind, you are able to access the normally hidden powers of the subconscious.

While here, you are able to access all of the unconscious behaviors or thoughts that have been steering your health and behaviors. You can reprogram your programming through your subconscious through gentle suggestions made by your hypnotherapist. You can also perform self-hypnosis by writing your own suggestions, recording them and playing them in a relaxed state.

Therapeutic Uses For Hypnosis

Hypnotherapy produces a state of relaxation – which is great for promoting relaxation, calmness and reducing anxiety. It can be used to reduce stress related to an upcoming event, speaking event, work-related deadline, surgery, health procedure and more.

It is commonly used for helping other health conditions as well, such as:

Treating Pain: Hypnosis can help with a variety of gastrointestinal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, stomach cramps, fibromyalgia, headaches, migraines, dental procedures and more.

  1. Irritable bowel syndrome: Several studies have shown a decrease in IBS symptoms through the use of gut-directed post-hypnotic suggestions. Studies have also shown that hypnotherapy related to IBS is more effective than controlled treatment therapies in improving abdominal pain, bloating, bowel dysfunction and overall quality of life.
  2. Migraines: Studies since the 1970s have showed the effectiveness of using hypnotherapy to treat migraines. Through hypnosis, the studies show the reduction of actual headache activity as well as the reduction of medication usage and an overall improvement on quality of life.
  3. Chronic pain: Many studies have shown a decrease in chronic pain through the use of hypnosis. This involves continual hypnotherapy sessions and not used as a single session ‘treatment’. Common hypnotic suggestions for chronic pain focus on pain reduction, changes in thoughts related to pain and decreasing anxiety around chronic pain.

Mental Health Conditions: Hypnosis can help with anxiety, depression, phobias and post-traumatic stress issues.

Changing Behaviors: Hypnosis is helpful for treating insomnia, smoking and overeating, among other behavioral issues.

Hypnotherapy is also good for alleviating the associated side effects from certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. It has also been shown to reduce hot flashes associated with menopause.

Common Hypnosis Myths Dispelled

  1. You will NOT cluck like a chicken. Contrary to common thought and media portrayal, hypnosis does not make you cluck like a chicken. Stage hypnosis has long brought highly suggestible people onto stages around the world to ‘make’ them do certain and often ridiculous behaviors. Clinically-based hypnotherapy brings you into a state of calmness and relaxation – not acting out animal behaviors.
  2. You are in control. Despite common media beliefs surrounding hypnosis, you are in full control of yourself and your subconscious at all times. Your hypnotherapist doesn’t have any control over you at any point of a hypnotherapy session. When working in the subconscious, you have full control during the entire process. You will hear everything around you, and your hypnotherapist cannot make you do anything you don’t want to do.
  3. Your subconscious only brings up what you are ready to handle. Your hypnotherapist isn’t in charge of your subconscious, nor can they bring up any old memories for you. Your subconscious brings that up for you during a session when it is ready. Your hypnotherapist can guide the process for you. When dealing with anything from the past, you and your subconscious will only bring up what you are ready to deal with. You also don’t have to dive into anything old issues or past traumas unless YOU are ready to. You are always in control.
hypnotherapy and deep relaxation

Hypnotherapy gives your brain the opportunity to calm the conscious mind in order to access the precious subconscious mind that is susceptible to suggestibility. This gives you the ability to make the changes you need to improve your life- whether you need to improve your physical health, mental health or spiritual mind.

At Progressive Health and Wellness, we offer mindset coaching, along with work in the subconscious focused on improving all aspects of the mind and body. Reach out to us for more information on what we can offer you!

Join our Facebook group in order to participate in the discussion around mindset coaching, hypnotherapy and ways to alleviate chronic pain.

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