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When you hear the word hypnosis, you may picture the mysterious hypnotist figure popularized in movies, comic books and television. This ominous, goateed man waves a pocket watch back and forth, guiding his subject into a semi-sleep, zombie-like state.
Once hypnotized, the subject is compelled to obey, no matter how strange or immoral the request. Muttering "Yes, master," the subject does the hypnotist's evil bidding.
This popular representation bears little resemblance to actual hypnotism, of course. In fact, modern understanding of hypnosis contradicts this conception on several key points. Subjects in a hypnotic trance are not slaves to their "masters" -- they have absolute free will. And they're not really in a semi-sleep state -- they're actually hyperattentive.

Our understanding of hypnosis has advanced a great deal in the past century, but the phenomenon is still a mystery of sorts. In this article, we'll look at some popular theories of hypnosis and explore the various ways hypnotists put their art to work.

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What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a Greek word which means ‘sleep’ but Hypnosis is not sleep.

Traditionally hypnosis is defined as a sleep like NATURALLY OCCURRING state of mind in which suggestions have an EXAGGERATED impact upon the person experiencing it.


“Hypnosis is essentially a communication of ideas and understandings to a patient in such a fashion that he will be most receptive to the presented ideas and thereby motivated to explore his own body potential for the control of his psychological and physiological responses and behaviour.” - Dr. Milton H. Erickson M.D, who is considered as world's foremost hypnotherapist.

If you ever find yourself lost in an activity such as reading an interesting novel, surfing on a web site like this one on the internet, or watching an interesting movie etc. Such that you did not realize what was happening around you or someone was calling you….you have experienced trance or hypnosis.

Hypnosis is powerful method that can be used to expedite change. Since all behaviour changes take place at an unconscious level, hypnosis provides the bridge between your conscious & unconscious mind. At the heart of hypnosis is a method of communication such that when you speak others listen, pay attention and follow what is being suggested.

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What is NOT Hypnosis

Hypnosis is NOT a REMEDY it is a set of tools & procedures that can be used to alter someone's state of consciousness.

Hypnosis is NOT a religious cult or a means of enticing in to any specific belief pattern. It should be unnecessary to stress in these days of science and progress, but it is astonishing how many otherwise intelligent and educated people regard the practice of hypnosis as an esoteric cult.

Hypnosis is NOT a manipulative, devious way of controlling the minds and actions of so called “weak minded” people, by making them do what they would not do or are not capable of doing.

Common Myths & Misconceptions

There are many misconceptions about hypnosis.Here are some of the most common ones. Notice how many of these you had yourself:

- Hypnosis is sleep
- People can get stuck in Hypnosis
- People will reveal their secrets in hypnosis
- Only weak willed people can be hypnotized
- People lose control in hypnosis
- You can make people do any thing under hypnosis

Hypnosis is Sleep :- In spite of the fact that hypnosis can be induced by suggestions of sleep, and sleep may be turned into hypnosis, and hypnosis into sleep, all scientific tests show that the trance is more like the waking state than ordinary sleep.

People can get Stuck in Hypnosis :- There is never any danger of remaining permanently in the trance, a thing which many people seem to fear. If the hypnotist stops speaking to a subject for any length of time, the trance will turn into ordinary sleep, and the subject will wake up after a few minutes.

People will Reveal their Secrets in Hypnosis :- Many people believe that a subject in trance will tell all his/her secrets. Nothing like this actually happens. People will tell you in hypnosis only what they would tell you in a normal awakened state. - Many people with wrong ideas about hypnosis are disappointed by hearing this one.

Only Weak willed people can be Hypnotized :- This is a common belief amongst many people who think, “since I have a strong will, I can not be hypnotized.” Research has proved that neurotic, psychotics, mentally retarded people can not be hypnotized. Research has also found that people with strong will power and ability to focus / concentrate can be hypnotized.

People lose Control in Hypnosis :- Brain waves studies using Electro Encephalogram (EEG), have proved that hypnotic phenomena is close to normal awakened state then sleep. Electrocardiographic & respiratory studies during hypnosis were similar to those found in the normal awakened state. The fact is, ‘people do not and will not do any thing they will not do during a fully awakened state.

You can make People do any thing under Hypnosis :- People will not do any thing under hypnosis that they will not do in a normal awakened state. While many people believe that hypnotized people will engage in any activities they are asked to do, fact is, “A hypnotized person will not do any thing against his/her ethical & moral codes” Dr. Milton Erickson used to say, “If I could make people do all that I wanted them to do, there would be many more happy, healthy people living in this world today.”

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You're Getting Sleepy

Hypnotists' methods vary, but they all depend on a few basic prerequisites:

- The subject must want to be hypnotized.
- The subject must believe he or she can be hypnotized.
- TThe subject must eventually feel comfortable and relaxed.

If these criteria are met, the hypnotist can guide the subject into a hypnotic trance using a variety of methods. The most common hypnotic techniques are:

Fixed-gaze induction or eye fixation :- This is the method you often see in movies, when the hypnotist waves a pocket watch in front of the subject.
The basic idea is to get the subject to focus on an object so intently that he or she tunes out any other stimuli. As the subject focuses, the hypnotist talks to him or her in a low tone, lulling the subject into relaxation. This method was very popular in the early days of hypnotism, but it isn't used much today because it doesn't work on a large proportion of the population.

Rapid :- The idea of this method is to overload the mind with sudden, firm commands. If the commands are forceful, and the hypnotist is convincing enough, the subject will surrender his or her conscious control over the situation. This method works well for a stage hypnotist because the novel circumstance of being up in front of an audience puts subjects on edge, making them more susceptible to the hypnotist's commands.

Progressive relaxation and imagery :- This is the hypnosis method most commonly employed by psychiatrists. By speaking to the subject in a slow, soothing voice, the hypnotist gradually brings on complete relaxation and focus, easing the subject into full hypnosis. Typically, self-hypnosis training, as well as relaxation and meditation audio tapes, use the progressive relaxation method.

Loss of balance :- his method creates a loss of equilibrium using slow, rhythmic rocking.
Parents have been putting babies to sleep with this method for thousands of years.