If you’ve ever seen a stage hypnosis show, you might find it mysterious that seemingly ordinary people can suddenly do extraordinary things. In fact, it might even seem fake or staged.
But the tricky thing is this: you can grab even the shyest person, and if they’re able to be hypnotized, you can make them think they’re anything from a chicken to Beyonce.
How could that be staged? And if it’s not staged, how does hypnosis work?
There’s a more serious side to hypnosis, and everyday people can safely use some elements of these powerful mind-over-matter technique for the better. I am a hypnotherapist myself, and I’ve seen it in action.
Hypnosis can help you to lose weight, quit smoking, better cope with pain, overcome fears and phobias, make more money, perform better in the bedroom, improve self-confidence, and even achieve world-class success in their careers.
And while the average person might not be too familiar with this side of hypnosis, some very well-known people have been using it for years.
Who Uses Hypnosis?
Princess Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, has reportedly used hypnosis for the unpleasant side effects of her pregnancy.
Top athletes like David Beckham and Tiger Woods have also used hypnosis to improve concentration and athletic performance.
Adele used hypnosis to overcome her stage fright…and, well, we all know how fabulous of a performer she is now!
Doctors are even doing hypno-surgeries without the use of anesthesia.
Hypnosis is, indeed, something that many successful people have used to help them reach their goals. But does hypnosis work? And even if it does, is it right for you? Let’s explore.
What Does Hypnosis Feel Like?
There are two common questions that just about every patient asks:
1. What does it feel like to be hypnotized?
Hypnosis is a deep state of relaxation or a highly focused state of awareness and most people love it. In fact, when you wake someone from a hypnotic state, they usually can’t wait to do it again. This is one of the reasons so many people use hypnosis for stress reduction.
The body benefits as well because the side effects are very similar to a nap, and the person feels rested, relaxed and recharged.
Hypnosis is much like daydreaming, or like when you’ve been driving and all of a sudden realized you were in deep thought and don’t quite remember the last several miles. Under hypnosis, you are awake the entire time, and are fully aware of what is happening around you.
2. Will I be in control?
The person being hypnotized has complete control of everything he or she does.
Related: 4 Ways To Learn Self Control
While a hypnotherapist or hypnotist can offer suggestions, ultimately each person will make the decision whether or not to accept those suggestions and act upon them. That means a hypnotherapist can help you to stop smoking or to stop overeating, but would never be able to convince you to inflict harm on another person or do something completely outside of your moral code.
How Does Hypnosis Work?
Hypnosis sounds like something straight out of a science fiction novel, but I can assure you that it’s real, and it works.
The subconscious mind responds automatically to a real or imagined environment at the unbelievable rate of 20 million environmental stimuli per second. These responses become programmed into the subconscious mind like the hard drive of a computer and turn into habits, unless altered in some way.
Hypnosis bypasses the conscious mind, allowing access to the subconscious mind that would otherwise be impenetrable.
When the subconscious mind is reprogrammed, amazing and powerful life changes begin to take place. Most people see huge improvements through hypnosis, but it doesn’t work for everyone. 15% of the population is extremely hypnotizable, 70% somewhat hypnotizable, and a mere 15% are considered difficult to hypnotize.
What To Expect During A Hypnosis Session
If you’re interested in trying a hypnotherapy session, find a hypnotherapist that you feel comfortable with, and who is certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners.
Related: 4 Best Doctors For Chronic Illness
The first session will usually be exploratory in nature, where you discuss what you want help overcoming or improving. After that, hypnotherapy sessions will vary in length from as few as two visits to as many as 15, depending on the severity of the issue.
A hypnotherapist might also send the patient home with self-hypnosis exercises to complete, such as visualization, listening to an audio recording before going to sleep, or relaxation exercises.
If done properly and under the care of a certified hypnotherapist, patients should notice new responses, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and feelings pertaining to the issue they were seeking help for.
Related: 7 Ways To Start A New Habit
Keep in mind that hypnosis will only work if you really want to make a change. In other words, if you’re overweight, and you are happy with your body–that is, your only motivation to become thinner is to please someone else–your subconscious will be less receptive to the power of suggestion.
So, does hypnosis work, really?
The answer is a resounding “yes.”
We all have the power to live a more positive and fulfilling life, and changing the way we live starts with changing the way we think. Getting deep into the subconscious mind with hypnosis is all natural and one of the fastest and most effective ways to make these changes. Give hypnotherapy a try. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results!
Colin Christopher is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and author of the book Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions That Will Make or Break You. Colin is also one of the most sought after stage hypnosis performers in North America, having appeared in front of hundreds of thousands of people.
Photo by Daniel E Lee
Originally published in July 2013 and updated July 2014.