By: Summer Wong
When we think of the word “hypnosis,” we immediately relate it to being put under some sort of spell by some madman hypnotist holding a pendulum that puts you to sleep. As a result of these frightening images, experts on medical hypnosis struggle to persuade the general public to accept hypnosis as a viable method to treat a myriad of conditions.
Medical hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, is proven to have many applicable uses in medicine, particularly mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. What most do not know, however, is that hypnotherapy has additionally proven to be useful in relieving acute or chronic pain, treating gastrointestinal disorders, nausea, allergies, and weight loss, to name a few . In a series of carefully executed experiments, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine supported and confirmed hypnotherapy’s effectiveness in treating both physical and mental pain. Organizations such as the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH), the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (SCEH), the International Society of Hypnosis (ISH), and the American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association work to improve medical hypnosis and to advocate its use as a beneficial method of healing .
Perhaps the greatest deterrent from hypnotherapy’s recognition as a successful procedure is the fact that it is not recognized as a viable method precisely because people do not believe it is relevant in the field of science, technology, and medicine. Yet, hypnotherapy encompasses everything that is science--the science of the human brain and how it connects to the rest of the body . For one whole hour, hypnotherapists help guide you into a calm and relaxed state with a clear and focused mind. The part of the brain responsible for consciousness turns off as the individual focuses solely on the therapist’s soothing words . From there, you are more open-minded to suggestions and goals, allowing your body and your mind to become an integrated entity. You are able to use your mind more powerfully; to focus, and to take control of your emotions. Surprisingly, hypnosis--despite its nomenclature origins from Hypnos, the god of sleep--does not involve sleep at all . Another erroneous claim may encompass the formation of hallucinations or wild imaginations once hypnotized; however, the thoughts and feelings produced during hypnotherapy sessions are actual responses to treatment.
Hypnotherapy is a highly beneficial yet frequently overlooked method of promoting health. Hypnosis can improve sleeping habits, calm nerves in times of anxiety, and manage pain for various diseases and conditions, ranging from cancer to irritable bowel syndrome . This important medical practice is slandered by social media and upheld by a common belief that magicians or some supernatural beings are controlling our bodies through putting us in a trance. Medical hypnosis, when practiced correctly by properly trained psychologists, can be very effective in improving the quality of life.
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