The Biggest Lie about Hypnosis

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Hypnosis has been one of the most debated and discussed topics in the scientific community, its presence both in medicine and entertainment can be traced back for hundreds of years, with its first practical purposes being reported in ancient China and India, where it was used as a form of pain relief during surgery. Hypnosis was then used all the way up to the 19th century, until the much more effective use of anesthesia was used.


But even to this day, scientists are pretty much clueless as to how hypnosis really works (i.e. how suggestions from a person can send you into a trance), which is quite ironic, seeing as how advanced medicine is and how much research has been conducted into hypnosis.


There are lots of myths surrounding hypnosis. Such as that your memory can be wiped or that you can be put to sleep. But the biggest lie is that you can be controlled and made to do anything. We all have seen videos of helpless people clucking like a chicken or grown men crawling on the floor crying, but these are all huge misconceptions on the reality of hypnosis, to whom we can thank Hollywood for. 


On the contrary, there is tangible evidence to suggest that hypnosis can be used to help smokers and alcoholics to quit, and along with a diet program it is said to improve the results tremendously. This is said to be because patients feel a great force of willpower when in a trance making them think that they can do anything, and after hypnosis, although the subject does not know it they subconsciously exercise for longer or resist the temptation of chocolate, for example. This goes to show how powerful and scary hypnosis can be, but on the good side, when hypnotised, people don’t go against their morals, or do something that they wouldn’t do in real life.


Also, another myth about hypnosis is that it sends you into a ‘deep sleep’. This is quite far off from what it does to you, and is one of the most common misconceptions. In fact, there is a high chance that you have accidentally hypnotised yourself. For example, have you ever caught yourself staring randomly into space or daydreaming. Or even when you read you aren’t aware of your surroundings and time seems to go by very quickly, well then that means that you have experienced a hypnotic trance, or essentially hypnotised yourself. But to try to understand how hypnosis puts you into a trance, we must know what it does to your brain.


Hypnosis affects the part of your brain that controls the subconscious section, and it is said to partially subdue the conscious brain. This “subconscious” part of the brain is said to be the part that gives you sensations and emotions, so when you are in trance a hypnotist can trigger feelings and emotions by suggestion, such as the hypnotist can make you feel waves crashing on a shoreline or the smell of a cooked breakfast, and essentially this is how a lot of hypnotic therapy takes place. What is also interesting is that this part of the brain also stores a lot of memories. Which, in theory could mean that by hypnosis you can recollect forgotten memories and is a main reason why many people go to see a hypnotist.


So although hypnosis may seem harmless and helpful, there has been research that it can do long lasting damage or even permanent damage to your brain if not conducted by a trained professional.