What is Hypnotism?
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What is Hypnotism?
By Paul Gustafson RN, BSN, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist.
Hypnosis is the Greek word for sleep chosen by scientist James Braid in 1840 to describe the very natural process of opening our subconscious minds for a period of time. During this relaxed moment we can do two things, remove old unhealthy or unwanted values and patterns and replace them with new healthy desirable ones.
We all go in and out of trance many times a day. We call it day dreaming, staring or zoning out. Have you ever driven to the store and realized you remembered no details of the drive? You were in a hypnotic trance.
The subconscious mind is where we store all our beliefs, values and it controls our bodily functions. Our conscious mind is the critical factor. It judges, critiques, approves or disapproves of what gets stored in the subconscious mind. The conscious can send back unhelpful / unproductive values and beliefs for the subconscious to store. This bad information can become part of our repetition of life. Values like smoking, unhealthy eating, stress or performance anxiety. It becomes part of who we are.
Think of the subconscious as a greenhouse. Roses and poison ivy will both flourish in this fertile environment. With hypnosis you do the weeding, pruning and healthy reseeding to stay happy and strong.
To make conscious level changes on issues that are programmed and repeated year after year on the subconscious level is like clipping the weeds off at ground level. With hypnosis you have the advantage of not only being able to pull them out by the root, but also by doing some direct deep seeding and rapid growing of new healthy replacements.
With hypnosis we relax, focus and close down the conscious mind allowing the subconscious to open. This can either be done by accepting our own silent self-direction, listening to a self-hypnosis audiotape or with assistance from a hypnotherapist. Once at the desired level of relaxation the subconscious is open for inventory. Once suggestions are planted reinforcing this process daily for about a month turns these concepts and images into your reality. What your mind can conceive your body can achieve.
I say desired level of relaxation because we dont need deep trance to effect positive change. Are we in a deep hypnotic trance when our subconscious receives the instructions to accept smoking as a pattern for life? Not at all in fact advertising is based on the premise that messages get through to our subconscious minds by simply staring at a TV screen. A light hypnotic trance just like the one you sometimes experience while driving.
People try over and over to lose weight, stop smoking or become better golfers or public speakers at the conscious level. Their results are mostly limited and discouraging. Not only do you get the job done effectively with hypnosis but also it feels good. You feel rested, refreshed and recharged. There is a sense of focused, centered peace with people who have been hypnotized. With hypnosis there is no withdrawal, patches or gum, no sedation, medications, prescriptions, interactions, allergic reactions and once you know the technique, its free. What a deal.
Paul Gustafson RN, BSN, CH runs Healthy Hypnosis in Burlington Massachusetts. He has ten years of nursing experience and eight specializing in the field of hospice nursing. His medical background offers a solid foundation supporting his clinical approach to hypnotherapy.
© Mindtech Associates 2000-2002
Hypnotism And Self-Hypnosis - by Ralph Slater
The History of Hypnotism
HYPNOTISM is by no means a new art. True, it has been developed into a science in comparatively recent years. But the principles of thought control have been used for thousands of years in India, ancient Egypt, among the Persians, Chinese and in many other ancient lands.
Miracles of healing by the spoken word and laying on of hands are recorded in many early writings. The priests and medicine men of primitive tribes used these forces widely and still use them to-day, with results sufficiently impressive to maintain their traditional position of authority for successive generations.
The father of modern hypnotism was Mesmer, a native of Vienna, who moved to Paris in 1778, and attracted a large following through reports of thousands of cures. Like many pioneers, the theory which he advanced to explain his work was later discredited. This was called animal magnetism. He believed that a magnetic fluid flowed from the operator to the patient which contained miraculous healing power.
Those who followed Mesmer proved conclusively that there was no such magnetic current, but that the force which operated was in reality mental suggestion. Mesmer, who was a good showman, also made extensive use of passes and gestures, and of complicated apparatus made up of magnetic wires and rods, quite useless, of course, except as a way of impressing a gullible patient.
Dr. James Braid, born in Manchester in 1795, after much experimentation, discarded the theory of Mesmer, proving that the same results could be obtained without Mesmer's ballyhoo, and without any belief in animal magnetism. At first Braid used no verbal suggestion in putting his patients to sleep, merely having them gaze at a bright object, held a few inches above their eyes, until they became drowsy and fell into a deep sleep, in which they responded to his commands. In his later practice he added suggestion to this physical means of hypnosis with much more excellent results. Braid was the first to use the word hypnotism, coined from the Greek word hypnos meaning sleep.
The science of hypnotism was further developed by the work of Doctors Liebault, Bernheim and Charcot some years later in France. Liebault, while using the Braid method of inducing sleep, made much more extensive use of suggestion; he was remarkable in that he practised for twenty years as a poor doctor in a remote country village, always refusing payment for his hypnotic services. Bernheim, at first a critic, later a friend and student of Liebault, organised the science of suggestive therapy into a complete system of treatment.
While Bernheim and Liebault in the Nancy School, which they founded together, worked almost exclusively with healthy and normal people, whom they found to be the most satisfactory subjects, Charcot, who founded the Paris School, had his successes mainly with nervous and neurotic patients, who flocked to him in great numbers, and he accepted it as his mission to help these unfortunate people. As a neurologist and an expert in hysteria, Charcot disagreed violently with Bernheim's view that hypnotism worked on the mind of the patient, and always claimed hypnotism as a neurological rather than a psychological technique.
Outstanding among the scientists in America who have influenced the development of hypnotism were Professor William James, Dr. Boris Sidis and G. Stanley Hall. These thinkers developed the concept of the subconscious mind in explaining the phenomena of hypnotic suggestion.
They taught that in hypnotism, the conscious mind of the subject was placed in a state of inaction or suspension, and that the operator was consequently able to direct his suggestions or commands directly to the subconscious.
The great Viennese psychologist, Sigmund Freud, began his career as an admirer of Bernheim and a devotee of hypnotism, but later came to believe that the technique placed the doctor too much in the position of a dictator to his patient, and preferred his own milder psychoanalytical method of "free association", the details of which need not concern us here.
I need only remark that the speed of hypnotism gives it certain advantages over the slower processes of psychoanalysis, especially where, as for example in an army hospital in wartime, a large number of patients require treatment at once and the pressure of work is really high.
What these scientists have done for tens of thousands, through the years of the development of the hypnotic art, is being actively accomplished to-day. In the second part of this book I describe in detail the methods which have been used to bring better health, happiness and success to the vast number of modern patients who have enjoyed the benefits of hypnosis.
Methods of Hypnotism
I SHOULD like to begin this chapter on methods of hypnotising by making clear a few very important points. What I am about to say now may surprise the reader, but the hypnotist actually does not hypnotise the subject; the subject hypnotises himself.
The hypnotist merely acts as the instrument through whom the suggestions for sleep are given. With this thought in mind, it can be readily understood that the first law of hypnotism is to make the subject believe that he is going to be hypnotised. This is achieved by the manner and bearing of the hypnotist, who, by his very actions and confidence, impresses the subject with his ability to hypnotise him.
Therefore, the hypnotist must have complete confidence in his ability to hypnotise any normal person. If this sense of confidence is ever relaxed so as to admit the slightest doubt, he may fail. Do not be discouraged if you do not succeed in hypnotising the first few people upon whom you experiment. Once you have hypnotised successfully, you will undoubtedly gain the confidence that is necessary to make you an expert hypnotist.
I mention this point in my first paragraph, and wish to dwell on it, since I believe the lack of this necessary confidence to be one reason why hypnotism is so comparatively little used therapeutically to-day. Such confidence is in no way peculiar to me, or a mysterious part of the Ralph Slater method, but just one of those basic rules of life. In this world other people accept you at your own valuation of yourself; thus it is your first duty to desire sincerely to help your subject, and your second to make your subject realise that this is your desire.
Of course, most ordinary practising doctors are already certain enough of their ability to relieve suffering, and they are already accustomed to taking responsibility often at the shortest notice, and issuing clear-cut orders for the good of their patients. This is all in the day's work, and such men will already have the fundamental confidence to embark without hesitation, and with complete success on the regular practice of hypnotism, which may become, as I suggest elsewhere, the most useful weapon in their whole armoury of healing.
But there is no reason why medical students too, though they are young and have less experience of the rough and tumble of a doctor's daily life, should not become proficient hypnotists. Indeed, as in most other spheres of life, the young have the immense advantage of youth and energy over their elders, and the acquiring of this technique early on in life will enable the young doctor to bring his skill to greater heights of perfection than his seniors can hope to.
I have seen cases where several people in a row have failed to respond to hypnotism; and by the same token, where thirty or forty people consecutively can be placed in a state of deep hypnosis without any difficulty whatsoever. All disturbing elements must be removed. When you practise hypnotism, try to do so in an environment which is conducive to the concentration of your subject. Avoid draughts. A draught will sometimes keep a subject awake, where he normally would fall asleep. Also, distracting noises should be so far as possible avoided.
Some subjects, who cannot be hypnotised at the first attempt, will fall into a hypnotic state after two or three tries. I would strongly recommend that for his initial attempts at hypnotism, the operator should practise on strangers instead of on his friends, because the psychological effect is so much greater. Someone who knows the hypnotist too intimately might not fall into the passive state of mind which is necessary for hypnosis.
I cannot stress too strongly the importance of reading each chapter over and over until the reader has thoroughly acquainted himself with every detail. The confidence gained by his thorough study of this book will enable the hypnotist to be much more successful. And now for some of the methods of hypnotism.
THE BRAID METHOD
As indicated in the first lesson, Dr. Braid, who gave hypnotism its name, used the method of focusing the attention of the subject on some mechanical object, held a few inches above the eyes; so as to create an optical strain, which would aid in making the eyelids heavy, and in inducing the hypnotic sleep. This method is still used by some practitioners.
The main objection is that it requires considerable time, usually from six to twelve minutes, and the strain on the eyes might possibly give the subject a slight headache. The direct suggestive method seems equally effective, and is much quicker. I have demonstrated in my radio programmes, and in many public and private demonstrations, that it is possible to hypnotise an individual in a matter of a few seconds, without resorting to any mechanical means whatsoever. With the Braid method, in addition to the focusing of the eyes on a bright object, suggestions to induce sleep, which will be explained a little later in this lesson, are also given.
THE CANDLE METHOD
The subject is seated in a comfortable chair, and told to relax completely. The operator holds a lighted candle in his hand and stands about three feet in front of the subject. He instructs the subject to gaze at the candle, and tells him that soon he will begin to feel drowsy and sleepy. And then, the operator says in a quiet, firm voice, "You're beginning to feel yourself getting sleepy —your arms and legs are beginning to feel numb and heavy—your eyelids are beginning to feel heavy—your eyes are closing—you feel yourself going deeper and deeper asleep—your body feels like lead—sleep—you are sound asleep."
The operator can use his own words more or less. The basic idea is to suggest the thought of sleep to the subject; that his body is heavy, that his arms are heavy, that his eyelids are heavy, etc., and that he will soon be asleep. When the eyes of the subject close, there is usually a sigh, and an obvious relaxation. When the eyes are closed and the operator feels that the subject is asleep, he should gently lift the right arm of the subject, saying as he does so, "I am going to lift your right arm, but you will stay asleep."
When the arm is outstretched, the operator says,"Your arm is now rigid—like a bar of steel—you cannot bend your arm— Try—You cannot bend it." If the subject does bend his arm, go back to the sleep-inducing suggestions. If he is unable to bend his arm, tell him that he may do so and stay asleep; and, as the subject bends his arm and puts it down, the operator proceeds to give the subject any instructions he may desire.
These sleep suggestions are also used in conjunction with the shining object that I mentioned in the Dr. Braid method.
THE RECLINING METHOD
In this method of inducing hypnosis, the subject is told to stretch out on a couch with his eyes closed. The operator then gives the suggestions for sleep, which were explained a moment ago in the Candle method. The suggestions are given until the subject seems to be asleep. Then the operator should place his thumb between the eyes of the patient, and press downwards quite hard, saying, "You cannot open your eyes—Try— Never mind—Sleep."
Should the subject succeed in opening his eyes, the sleep suggestions must be resumed. If the subject does not open his eyes, the operator then gently lifts up the right arm, also explained in the Candle method, and tells the subject that his arm is rigid, etc. The subject, after trying unsuccessfully to bend his arm, is told now that he can do so, and then the suggestions desired by the operator are given.
THE COUNTING METHOD
In this method the subject is either seated in a chair or reclines on a couch. He is told by the operator to take slow deep breaths, and as the operator counts out loud, the subject is instructed to open his eyes on the count of one, close them on the count of two, open them on the count of three, and so on. In between the
counting, the operator gives the suggestions of sleep, as described in the previous methods, until the subject is asleep.
There are many variations of these methods I have just explained. Many of them are cumbersome and laboured. When the simple and direct methods can achieve the same results, it seems unreasonable to make the operation difficult and complicated. I wish to stress that whatever method is employed, its success depends upon the receptivity of the subject, and the confidence of the operator that he will succeed!
THE RALPH SLATER METHOD
In my work over many years I have naturally experimented with many methods. Personally, I have come more and more to discard the mechanical methods, not because they did not work, but because it seemed sensible to use the quickest and easiest technique, when results are shown to be just as effective, and even more so than with the more studied and laboured methods.
While I still use a variety of techniques, I have found the following to be most effective for use on the ordinary private patient.
I begin by having the subject stand with his back to me, and his feet together. I stand directly behind him, and with my hand I tilt his head back as far as possible, and tell him to close his eyes. I then tell him to relax his body completely. I put my hands on his shoulders, one hand on each shoulder, and say that in a moment I am going to withdraw my hands, that I want him to think he is falling backwards, and as I withdraw my hands from his shoulders, I say, "You are falling back— Do not be afraid—I am going to catch you."
As the subject falls back, I catch him and turn him round with his feet together, and his eyes looking into mine. I put the tips of my fingers on his temples, and instruct him to gaze into my eyes, and tell him that when I remove my fingers, he will fall forward. I remove my fingers slowly from the temples, and then I repeat several times, "You are falling forward—You are falling forward", and, as he does, I catch him.
Once I have reached this stage of the falling backward and forward tests, I stand in front of the subject and instruct him to clasp his hands and interlock his fingers, and to keep his eyes fixed on mine. I then instruct him to think to himself that his fingers are locked together tightly, that he cannot take them apart. I tell him to place them together, tighter, tighter, and when I see them pressed together tightly, with my eyes fixed on his eyes, I say, "You cannot take your hands apart— You cannot take your hands apart."
Never allow your gaze to wander away from the eyes of the subject during this time. As he tries unsuccessfully to take his hands apart, I snap my fingers and say briskly, "Now you can take your hands apart", and he does so After these preliminaries, in most cases the subject is completely ready for hypnosis.
I instruct him to sit on a chair, close his eyes, and then I begin with the sleep suggestions. "You are getting sleepy—Your arms and legs are numb, etc." After the above preliminaries, it is usually only a matter of seconds before the subject is in a hypnotic state. As soon as the subject is hypnotised, I lift up his right arm and tell him it is rigid, he cannot bend it, and when he unsuccessfully tries to do so, I snap my fingers and tell him he can bend his arm, and that he will fall into a deeper sleep.
I then place my hands on the subject's shoulder, and tell him he is stuck to the chair, that he cannot get up. When he tries unsuccessfully to do so, I say, "Never mind—Stop trying—Sleep." By this time, the subject is in a state of hypnosis, and ready to carry out the orders of the hypnotist. The operator then gives the instruction, according to the purpose of the hypnosis. If, for example, the purpose is entertainment, any suggestions similar to those we are about to mention can be given. If the purpose is therapeutic, it is necessary to give post-hypnotic suggestions, which are explained in a later chapter.
If, at any time during the tests mentioned at the beginning of this method, falling backward and forward, etc., the subject should fail to respond, relax him and try again; do not be discouraged. The beginner may well find it easier to use one of the other methods I mentioned earlier, in his first attempts at hypnosis; there is no reason why he shouldn't, if he feels more confident that way. Remember, hypnotism is an art like playing a violin, and only with practice and perseverance can one become an expert.
You may however be quite sure that there is no mumbo-jumbo about hypnotism. If anyone tells you it is necessary to darken the room completely, or to play soothing music, or to beat drums softly, to assist the business of hypnotism, you may be sure he doesn't knowwhat he is talking about. It is like saying that in order to drive a car you must wear a yellow tie or put your hat at a certain angle.
Hypnotism - What is it? What can it do?
Hypnosis! What is it? One thing it is not is magical, nor is there anything mystical about it. Hypnosis has many uses. On this web site you can learn the art of self-hypnosis, enabling you to become a much more calm and relaxed person. There is no need for you to tolerate something inside of yourself but outside of your control, provided you are prepared to devote time, effort and self-discipline to free yourself of your problem.
The use of conscious hypnosis can dramatically change the way you perceive and manage stress and its effects. Results can be achieved in just a few weeks. Whilst hypnosis is not, in itself, a therapy, it is a powerful tool for good when used by a professional therapist.
Hypnosis is increasingly being used as an aid to doctors and dentists as an alternative to drugs for anaesthesia, to accelerate the healing process, to relieve stress, and to help with the control of pain. Hypnosis is also used by hypnoanalysts to help uncover the cause of people's deeper psychological problems, thus enabling them to be better able to cope in life.
The trance state that we call hypnosis has been used for thousands of years. In fact, from the study of primitive peoples' religious and healing ceremonies there exists the elements essential to place people into a hypnotic state.
By rhythmic chanting, monotonous drum beats, together with strained fixations of the eyes, the village shaman or priest was able to induce the state of hypnosis. This helped to give the shaman the appearance of having magical and mystical powers given to them by the gods.
One of the psychotherapeutic methods of ancient Egypt was temple sleep, or incubation. Temple sleep was associated with the name of Imhotep. Imhotep (I-em-hotep - he comes in peace) is the earliest known physician in history. He was the physician vizier to the pharaoh Zoser (2980 - 2900 B.C.)
The sleep temples were well attended by people looking for psychological help. Under the influence of incantation and the performance of religious rituals, sick people were prepared psychologically for suggestion therapy. Today, in some parts of the Middle East and Africa you can still encounter shrine sleep. Sleep temples were and are used for the mentally ill, as a place where priests interpret the sick person's dreams. Thus, by the use of suggestion, the priests appear to cast out spirits from the minds of the sick.
People such as fire-walkers and priests who used the religious practices of laying on of hands to make people faint on to the floor, are using Auto-hypnosis to bring about an altered state of consciousness by the use of suggestion and expectation.
The father of modern hypnosis may well have been Frans Anton Mesmer, who was born in 1734 near to Lake Constance, and, at the age of 32, graduated in medicine in Vienna. Mesmer left Vienna in 1778 and went to work in Paris. He believed that the body of a patient could be manipulated by magnetised iron rods or plates. He took to wearing a long pale lilac silken robe, and to having a short iron wand in his hand.
He would pass slowly through the ranks of patients, fixing his eyes upon them, waving his wand and touching them with it. A lot of his patients did not notice anything different about themselves, but some felt as if insects were running over their skin. Some of them, especially young women, would go into convulsions and then fall down, mesmerised.
It was not until the 1840's that hypnosis got its name. It was James Braid, a well known Manchester surgeon, who first realised that mesmerism did not involve mysterious magnetic fluids. Whilst people in the hypnotic state may at times seem to be asleep, (which is, in fact, how it got its name, from the Greek Hypnos meaning "to sleep"), they are far from being asleep.
The person still has overall control of their own mind, whilst at the same time, being more open to suggestions that may be given by the hypnotist, or indeed, by themselves. It was Braid who gave the trance state the name hypnosis, which soon became hypnology, which gave way to the name hypnotism. There are four stages of Hypnosis: Light, Medium, Deep and Somnambulistic.
You may have seen a stage hypnotist going through his act on the T.V. or in a theatre. Whilst this seems at times to trivialise hypnosis, if used sensibly and correctly, stage hypnosis can be fun. It may seem to the onlooker that the hypnotist is controlling the people on the stage, but, if he were to suggest that they did anything against their will, or belief, they would soon be shocked out of the hypnotic state. There is absolutely no question of you being controlled or manipulated whilst in the state of hypnosis.
It is not possible that you could be made to do anything that you did not want to do, and you would not blurt out any of your secrets. The person under hypnosis may experience their senses more, and their memory may well be enhanced. The state of hypnosis is a most pleasant and particularly relaxing, natural phenomenon, during which a person can converse quite easily. It is inconceivable that any harm could befall you. It is something that we all go through twice a day.
First thing in the morning, just as you are waking up, when you are neither awake nor asleep, you can hear all of the sounds around you, but it does not bother you one way or the other. You can make the decision to roll over and go back to sleep, or to get up. The second time is just as you go to sleep at night, when you are neither awake nor asleep. If somebody called your name you could, if you wished to, answer them, or take no notice - you are in control.
Over the last two hundred years, hypnosis has been in and out of fashion. At the moment it is becoming more and more popular with the general public as an adjunct to orthodox medicine. Most people's perception of hypnosis is of something that is used to stop people from smoking, but it can be used to help people to control their stress, and may also help with a wide range of psychological and physical problems.
The British Medical Association has only recently (1994) had a significant about-turn in its attitudes to complementary therapies, including hypnosis, by non-medical practitioners. Although the B.M.A. had for years opposed the use of complementary therapies, they are now recommending the acceptance of some properly regulated complementary therapies, and that doctors should seek more information to help meet the growing demands from the general public for treatment.
Even today, experts may disagree on what hypnosis is, or if it even exists, but they all agree that it is not magical or mystical. A professional hypnotist does not use flowing robes or swinging watches, just the expertise to help people with some of their problems. So, to answer the question "What is hypnosis?" A good definition is: "A deep state of relaxation and concentration resulting in an altered state of mind, which is induced by suggestion, given by a hypnotist, or by the person themselves".
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Risk Factors - Dangers of Hypnotism
THE dangers of hypnotism are more fanciful than real —but there are dangers, and no one should undertake hypnosis without careful study and preparation, so as to be on the alert, and know exactly what to do under every circumstance.
To admit there are possible dangers in hypnotism does not lessen the fact that it also can be productive of great benefits. As a matter of fact, there are few human activities without some element of danger. There is danger in eating if one eats too much, or the wrong food.
There is danger in travel whether by land, sea or air, but no one would suggest that travel should be outlawed. There is danger in the use of drugs; doctors and nurses make mistakes in prescribing and administering drugs: many deaths have resulted. Yet no reasonable person would suggest that the practice of medicine should be stopped.
Most of the supposed dangers of hypnosis are mere misconceptions, growing out of the years of distorted fiction stories in which villains were supposed to use hypnotic powers for evil ends.
It is an accepted principle of hypnotism that no one can be made to do under hypnosis anything opposed to their moral or religious principles. No hypnotist can successfully suggest to a normal subject that he should go and murder someone
. This fact, incidentally, illustrates perfectly the point I made earlier that, in fact,
the subject hypnotises himself, and is therefore quite incapable of acting under hypnosis in a manner in which he would not be able to act when awake.
Contrary to general belief, it has been my experience that the more intelligent the subject, the easier it is to induce hypnosis. It is not a sign of a weak character to go quickly into a hypnotic state. Hypnosis is not a struggle or battle of the wills, but a matter of co-operation between two people. Children under three, morons and completely insane people—those, in fact, who cannot consciously co-operate with the hypnotist—are not hypnotisable at all.
A supposed danger is that the mind of a person will be weakened while under hypnosis. On the contrary, the mind is strengthened. The patient's ability to concentrate is essential to success. Under hypnosis, there is shown to be an amazing quickening of mental power.
Another supposed danger is the fear that the subject may not respond to the command to wake and thus remain asleep. This alleged danger may be disregarded; it is no more probable than that a person will not wake from an ordinary night's sleep. In all the history of hypnotism, I have never heard of a case of a person remaining permanently under hypnosis.
In the vast majority of cases, the subject will wake immediately after the proper command to do so. In a very few cases, the subject may not respond to the command to awaken immediately. This will be covered thoroughly in a later chapter.
Never allow anyone else to touch a subject while he is under your hypnotic control because when a subject is under hypnosis, he is en rapport with the hypnotist. This means that his subconscious mind is attuned to
accept suggestions given only by the hypnotist himself. Should anyone else touch the subject while he is hypnotised, the subject may become en rapport with the person who touched him, and respond only to the suggestions given by that person; which means that he would no longer be under the control of the hypnotist. Then the other person would have to be the one to awaken him, or tell him to go back under the influence of the hypnotist.
While laymen may use hypnosis for entertainment purposes, I wish here to emphasise that there is always an element of danger in any attempt upon the part of a layman to use hypnosis for therapeutic purposes: this is definitely the function of the physician.
The layman is apt to treat symptoms rather than causes. For example, if his friend has a persistent pain in the stomach, through hypnotic suggestion the operator may make the patient unconscious of the pain. But, if he should be suffering from appendicitis, the appendix might burst and the patient die, even though the pain had been stopped.
Thus it should be evident how dangerous it is for unqualified persons to attempt to use hypnosis in treating sick patients. In the chapter of this book which deals with suggestive therapy, it will be seen that a wide range of disorders can be treated by hypnotherapy by physicians who have learned to use hypnosis.
A word might be mentioned here about one of the stock objections to therapeutic hypnotism: this is not so much a danger as a widespread misconception. It is alleged that the use of hypnotism in therapy produces only temporary results. Even if this were so, and the evidence is against the contention, it is still not a valid objection. If through hypnosis a patient can be relieved
of pain for a few hours, days or weeks; at least that is something in its favour. If an alcoholic can be kept from drinking for six months, a year or two years; that is an achievement worthy of note. Such results have been obtained; in obstinate cases of over-indulgence in alcohol or tobacco, even a few days' abstinence under post-hypnotic suggestion may easily "do the trick" for all time.
Many drugs, too, require renewed use after a lapse of time, and this is no objection to the use of these drugs. Neither is it a sound objection to the therapeutic use of hypnosis. The patient may have to return from time to time for more treatments. As long as the treatments help, they are justified; and innumerable case histories reveal that in most cases the cure is permanent. Those who offer this objection simply do not know the real facts about hypnotic suggestion.
THE REAL DANGERS
Yes, there are some, as I said at the beginning of this chapter, and here they are.
First No person suffering from a weak heart should be used as a hypnotic subject. The operator must question the subject on this carefully, and decline to operate on any person so afflicted. In the event of a heart attack resulting in death, the operator might be held responsible; even though the patient would have died from the same shock if no hypnotism had been involved.
Second Hysterical or highly neurotic persons should be avoided, except by qualified practitioners for medical purposes. While it is beyond question that the thoroughly trained psychiatrist who understands these mental states, and knows just how to proceed with them, may accomplish much good with these types, the lay practitioner should for his protection leave them strictly alone. Under hypnosis, the controls of the conscious mind are relaxed and the negative forces in die subconscious responsible for the hysterics rush to the fore. No actual harm is likely to result, but a patient with a fit of hysterics can create a scene which would be destructive to the purposes of the hypnotist, cause an audience to show disapproval, and lead to an exaggerated idea of the dangers of hypnotism.
Third Unscrupulous persons might attempt to extort money or make other demands from hypnotists. For that reason it is essential that the operator never attempt to place a person of the opposite sex under hypnosis without the presence of at least one additional person of the subject's sex. This is a real danger to the practitioner which should be carefully avoided by always following this rule
How to Awaken the Subject:
THERE is no danger that the hypnotised subject will not wake. This does not mean, however, that every subject will come out of the hypnotic sleep immediately upon command. Should your subject fail to respond to the suggestion that he will awake at a given signal, and the command that he do so; do not be alarmed.
Simply put him in a comfortable position and he will pass from the hypnotic sleep into a natural sleep, and wake of his own accord when he is thoroughly rested, usually in an hour or two.
But such a case is fortunately rare indeed. The average subject—we might even say nearly all—will wake when the proper technique is used. This technique is really very simple. It may be difficult to get a given subject under hypnosis, but awakening him is usually done with ease and with no resistance.
The reason for this is easy to understand. In hypnotising, the subject's conscious mind may offer considerable resistance to the suggestions given. In awakening, the conscious mind is inactive, the subconscious alone is given the suggestion that he will wake. There being no resistance to awakening, the suggestion is obeyed as directed.
As in methods of hypnotising, there are numerous methods of awakening the sleeper. But the simplest and best, which is used to-day with slight variation by most practitioners, is as follows:
Tell the subject he is about to be awakened, and that
when he awakens he will feel greatly refreshed and invigorated. If at a social gathering it might be well to add that he will be full of pep, and the "life and soul of the party". Then tell him you are going to count up to five.
When you reach the count of five, he will be completely awake, feeling greatly rested, happy and better in every way than before he went into the hypnotic sleep. Then count very distinctly, and with some emphasis, "One—two—three—four—FIVE." Place special emphasis on the "FIVE", including a note of command. Then follow with, "Wake up! You are now wide awake!"
You must give this command with absolute self-assurance that it will be instantly obeyed. You may clap your hands or snap your fingers to emphasise your command, on the "Wake up!" But otherwise there must be no element of shock or fright. And do not fail to give the suggestions that he will awaken refreshed and feeling fine in every way. Otherwise the subject may be drowsy, dizzy, suffer from headache, or other depressed state. These negative reactions will never be experienced if you use the proper technique.
Most hypnotists make the count slowly, to give the suggestion that the subject is about to awaken time to take effect. In my work, I have developed a very rapid technique in hypnotising. Particularly in my radio broadcasts, where time is of great importance, I have hypnotised many subjects in a matter of seconds, and awakened them with a simple command and snap of my fingers.
This is possible because I have developed, through long study, such perfect confidence in my ability to succeed that my own complete assurance is transferred to the subject, thus enabling me to accelerate greatly both putting the subject under and bringing him out of the hypnotic state. I do not advise the beginner to attempt to work too fast. This is an advanced ability which must be patiently acquired.
Stages of Hypnotism:
WE pass now to consider the various stages of hypnotism. It is important that the operator learn to distinguish between these stages, since they determine the degree of control and the kind of suggestions which can be successfully given to the subject.
The simplest arrangement is to recognise three stages. These stages, together with the symptoms by which they may be recognised, are:
1. Very light. This is characterised by inability of the
subject to open his eyes, and his acceptance of
simple suggestions; such as, that he is unable to
lower or raise his arms or legs, unclasp his hands,
etc. Despite the inability of the subject to resist
suggestions given, he is under only the lightest
form of hypnosis and is conscious of everything
which is said or done.
2. Intermediate. This is a deeper degree of hypnosis.
Its chief indication is agreement of the subject to
a wider range of suggestions and compliance with
more complicated commands. But he is still
conscious of what is said and done and will
remember everything upon being awakened.
3. Complete somnambulism. The subject is now
deeply hypnotised and under complete control of
the operator, except for the limits set forth in
Chapter Six. He is totally unconscious of what
is done and upon awakening remembers nothing
that has transpired.
While some have subdivided these stages into six or more, for the sake of simplicity and ease of detection I have found these three divisions quite satisfactory. For example, in the more complicated division of stages, the third state as given above is sometimes divided into three separate stages: deep sleep, somnambulism, profound somnambulism.
This appears to make the matter complicated without serving any practical result, since the symptoms are the same as we have set forth as our third stage. Any differences would appear highly technical and somewhat difficult for the average operator to discern.
While no arbitrary rule can be given, it may be said
that the first time a subject is placed under hypnosis, he is likely to fall into a light trance, going no deeper than the first or second stages. The second or third time, he is apt to go easily into the second stage. On subsequent tests, he should go into the third stage; more deeply as treatments are continued.
By post-hypnotic suggestion, which we discussed in the last chapter, the patient may be told that he will, in the future, respond completely to hypnotic control instantly; by, say, the mere snapping of a finger and a spoken command. He will then pass immediately into the third stage at the will of the operator.
Of course, an experienced operator, enjoying a very high degree of confidence in his ability to bring any subject quickly under complete control, will, in many cases, do so the first time a subject has ever been under hypnosis, and be able to carry him over at once into the third stage of complete somnambulism.
The beginner will have to develop this ability through study, practice, and achievement of that absolute confidence in his ability which plays so large a part in the success of the professional hypnotist. You can develop this confidence —but not overnight! Before you can master others, you must master yourself.
It should be noted that the subject under hypnosis is not, as commonly supposed, totally unconscious: he always retains a sense of his own ego and, in the lighter stages, he hears and thinks, but is still unable to control his actions which, due to the suggestions of the operator, have become involuntary instead of voluntary. Only in the deepest stages of hypnosis does the subject actually lose consciousness and experience a sense of amnesia upon wakening.
It is also important to understand that the more the operator works on the subject, the deeper the hypnosis becomes with each suggestion. When the subject is unable to bend his arm, unclasp his hands, move his feet, open his eyes, he becomes more and more convinced that he is powerless to resist suggestions of the hypnotist; except any suggestion, as we have already said, which would violate the religious or moral principles of the subject.
In the lighter stages of hypnosis, when the subject is told he cannot bend his arm or unclasp his hands, the thought flashes through his mind that he could do so, if he wanted to, but he does not want to try! The subject, of course, does not realize that his will has been subjected to the dominating power of the hypnotist in whose hands he has placed himself.
I want to emphasise that the subject does not need to enter the third sleep in order to get results. Even in the very light stages of hypnosis, good therapeutic results can be achieved. I have personally seen many instances in which a subject has been given the suggestion that cigarettes or liquor would be distasteful.
Upon waking, the subject would say, "I heard every word you said." Nevertheless, cigarettes or liquor would taste bad to him, as the hypnotist had suggested they would. This proves that the subconscious mind can be reached and profoundly influenced, even when the conscious mind is merely relaxed and passive, and not in complete suspension. In even the lightest hypnotic stage, the conscious mind is, to some extent, off guard and allows the subconscious to be reached through suggestion
Self Care strategies for using Hypnotism
Since so many reasons for seeking Hypnotherapy relate to substance abuse or over eating, we will work on the assumption here that your body would also benefit from a cleansing and detoxing process, followed by a few weeks of pure herbal based nutrition.
No matter how much you are trying to eat healthy while undergoing your hypnotherapy, chances are, your body is actually undernourished, as explained below. So this is a great opportunity to SUPPORT what you are doing with hypnotherapy, to help your body heal itself the way it is designed to.
Even when we try to eat well, we're disadvantaged. The nutritional content of most food has been compromised over the years, not only by deficient soils and modern production, transportation, storage and processing methods, but also by the enormous amounts of chemical and artificial substances added to promote growth, storage life, taste and appearance.
It's for this reason that more and more medical authorities are advocating the use of vitamin and mineral supplements. However, finding them in the right combination can be both confusing and costly.
The nutrition products I am going to recommend you make use of knowledge gained from the botanical world's 6,000 year history. They incorporated health building nutritional herbs with the best modern technology to help our bodies cleanse and detoxify so that the cells - the tiniest living units - can be as fully nourished as possible.
This allows the cells to grow, repair and to perform their functions with the best possible efficiency so that we feel and look better and are more able to prevent and fight disease. Once the body begins to clear itself of toxins it can more efficiently absorb nutrition.
You may find benefit from our information on detoxification as well as a bit about detoxing because of change of diet
It may be due to difficulties with your digestive system that is causing your body to be starved of key nutrients, vitamins or minerals. In this case you may find useful answers by reviewing our article on Nutrition For Your Cells. There is also more information here about why is nutrition such an issue nowadays?
It may be that your metabolism has slowed due to pressures that have been placed on your system through life in general or through specific “challenges” you have faced in the last few months or last few years. Review this by looking at our article about balancing your Metabolic Rate.
Further reading through our articles on health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.
We wish you well in your search for solutions to this problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.
More Resources available about Hypnosis :
Hypnotherapy Part 2
IT is apparent, from the History of Hypnotism in Chapter One, that the development of the theory and practice of hypnotism has been largely in the hands of medical men. To the names of those mentioned in our brief history, scores of other physicians might be mentioned such as Forel, Janet, Arndt, Berend, Coué, Binet, Richet, and innumerable others.
Some physicians have become specialists in this field, and used hypnosis with marked success in a wide range of physical and mental disorders. In consequence of further experimentation by medical men, doubtless many more will specialise in this branch of medical therapy. I consider hypnotism should be regarded as allied to medicine, but a separate science in itself, like chemistry.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)
Self Hypnosis Part 3
IN self-hypnosis or auto-suggestion, the individual learns to contact his own subconscious mind to produce apparently miraculous results. And yet are they so miraculous?
Many ordinary people are able to wake themselves up in the morning by concentrating hard the night before on the exact time they wish to wake. Most readers of this book will have done this successfully at one time or another, and so will readily understand the power of auto-suggestion over themselves. This power can be controlled and harnessed to useful ends, and like all other techniques becomes easier still with practice.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)
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