What is Hypnosis and Does Self Hypnosis Really Work


The word “hypnosis” is derived from the greek work for sleep which is “hypnos” and yet hypnosis is not sleep. When the phenomenon of hypnosis was studied, because people who experienced guided hypnosis looked like they were asleep, the word hypnosis was coined. However, later on, it was acknowledged hypnosis is not sleep.

So what is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is akin to being in a trance. It is not the same as being asleep bit it also no the same as normal alertness. Often the person in guided hypnosis or self hypnosis has their eyes closed however you do not need to have your eyes closed to experience being in trance or hypnosis.

What is hypnosis like?

You will have experienced the state of hypnosis before but until now may not know that you were in hypnosis. For example, when you are tucked up in bed and just before you go to sleep, this is called the hypnogogic state. You are not quite asleep and not fully awake but are halfway between the two. This is a naturally occurring state of hypnosis.

Another example of being in hypnosis is first thing in the morning. This is that time between being fully awake and just coming out of a deep sleep. This is called the hypnopompic state.

Does this mean hypnosis occurs naturally?

Yes, we can experience hypnosis every day of our lives. Do you remember being at school or college and your mind wandered away from the what your tutor was saying? You were daydreaming and may even have got into trouble for it. Daydreaming is akin to hypnosis.

If you drive a car, and have used a long motorway and have some distance to travel, have you ever experienced your conscious mind coming back from somewhere and refocusing on how far you have travelled? You may even think you have missed the junction you wanted to exit the motorway because of being in hypnosis. You have in fact been perfectly safe and have experienced something which is called highway hypnosis

When you read a good book, your imagination can get caught up in the story and the time seems to whizz past. This is another example of naturally occurring hypnosis.

Ever been in a conversation with someone who is just talking at you and you become bored with it? You start to glaze over or have that “far away look” and the other person says “are you listening to me?”. This is another example of naturally occurring hypnosis.

What is self hypnosis then?

This is the deliberate guiding of yourself into a state of hypnosis. During this time you can be fully aware of your surroundings and at other times you can enjoy the profound sense of relaxation. It’s a great way to destress and feel calmer.

Self Hypnosis – Does it really work?

This questioning of self hypnosis is very popular and of course natural to ask for the beginner. The answer can vary from person to person of course because what is brilliant for one person, may not be so effective for someone else.

Self Hypnosis Cds or Mp3s

Many people listen to self hypnosis mp3s or CDs and some people practise self hypnosis. There is no doubt that self hypnosis can help people to relax and de-stress. This has been acknowledged by the BMA (British Medical Association) in 1958.

It is probably better to change the question “does self hypnosis work?” to something more specific to measure it against. Clearly, self hypnosis has been acknowledged by the medical profession for aiding relaxation but what else can it help with?

IBS and Hypnosis

In the UK Professor Whorwell teaches his IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) patients self hypnosis to help them manage the symptoms of IBS. He has been doing this for a number of years and his patient’s feedback agrees that self-hypnosis helps.

Labour Pains and Hypnosis

In Lancashire, the local NHS Trust is trialling the use of self-hypnosis with pregnant women. It’s aim is to see if self-hypnosis will help reduce the pain of labour.

Dentistry and Hypnosis

In recent years a Scottish dentist taught one of his patients self hypnosis. The patient underwent tooth removal and replacement without any anaesthetic being used. She was aware of the procedure occurring but at not time did she complain about any pain from the procedure.

Pain and Self Hypnosis

FMS – Fibromyalgia sufferers were taught self hypnosis as part of a research programme that was reported in the European Journal of Pain. The results showed that the use of hypnosis seemed to reduce the intensity of pain.

There are many other examples and research papers that document the use of self hypnosis to help with specific issues.

You will also find many hypnosis products in the form of hypnosis cds and mp3s that focus on a specific issue such as public speaking, self confidence, nail-biting, stress, anxiety and more. These hypnosis products help to bring about a state of hypnosis whilst at the same time give positive suggestions for changing thoughts, perceptions or behaviours that have been problematic up until now.