Science says hypnosis is good therapy

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Hypnosis is an accepted therapy in the medical and mental health fields.

Silly TV shows make it seem as if hypnosis – experiencing a dream-like state of mind – turns you into a zombie after staring into a swinging pocketwatch and hearing a few whispers of the phrase, “You are getting sleeeeeepy…” However, hypnosis is actually a commonly used form of therapy in both the physical and mental health fields, and it’s often effective in treating conditions like sleeplessness, pain, and anxiety!

How is hypnosis achieved? Typically, a trained professional will lull a patient into a trance-like state by either repeating a phrase or asking them to visualize something. If the coaxing is done correctly, the person will be extremely focused, feel relaxed, and stay calm, all while growing open to what the professional has verbally suggests. This all may sound a little quirky, but there is evidence to suggest that hypnosis works under the right conditions!

Need proof? Well, in one study, researchers soothed some participants to sleep with verbal hypnotic instructions, while others snoozed after listening to normal words. Based on brain scans, the ones that were fully hypnotized experienced a much deeper sleep! A different experiment showed that patients feeling pain from serious illnesses such as cancer could better manage their pain with the power of hypnotic suggestion. Also, hypnosis has been shown to help anxiety sufferers, by calming their overactive nerves.

There is still a ton of research that needs to be done regarding this practice, but in the meantime… you are getting very sleeeeepy…

Featured image courtesy of Daniel E. Lee on Flickr. Image of male hypnotist courtesy of Massimo Regonati on Flickr.