Hypnosis is it real ?

hypnosis is it real? This phenomenon has fascinated and intrigued humans for centuries. Hypnosis, from its origins in ancient healing practices to its portrayal in movies and stage shows, has often veiled itself in mystery and misconceptions. Is it genuine, or do suggestion and showmanship merely create an illusion? We will examine its history, mechanisms, scientific basis, and its applications in modern psychology and medicine.

A Brief History of Hypnosis

Hypnosis is not a recent phenomenon but has roots dating back thousands of years. Ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Greeks, practiced various forms of trance and suggestion to induce healing and altered states of consciousness. However, it was not until the late 18th century that hypnosis as we know it today began to take shape.

Franz Mesmer, an Austrian physician, is often credited with the formalization of hypnosis. In the late 18th century he introduced the concept of “animal magnetism” or “mesmerism.” He claimed that he could induce a trance-like state in his patients, leading to physical and psychological healing. Mesmer’s methods and theories were later debunked, but they laid the groundwork for the development of modern hypnotherapy.

Understanding Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a state of focused attention, heightened suggestibility, and deep relaxation. Contrary to popular belief, individuals under hypnosis are not unconscious, asleep, or under the control of the hypnotist. Instead, they are in a state of heightened awareness and concentration. This practice is often induced by a trained practitioner. It is a process that typically involves relaxation exercises, guided imagery, and verbal suggestions.

Electroencephalogram (EEG) research, which measures brain waves, affirms that individuals undergoing hypnosis are not in a state of sleep. Although they may experience drowsiness. In this process there is often an observable increase in activity within the theta bands. This indicates a rhythm of four to seven spikes or cycles per second. Contrary to a popular misconception, people who undergo hypnosis do not become passive automatons entirely under the control of the hypnotist. It is essential to understand that individuals cannot be successfully hypnotized if they actively resist the process.

How movies affect our perception

Hollywood movies frequently depict it as a distinctive, trance-like state. However researchers have been unable to pinpoint a unique, signature feature of this supposed trance. Some researchers have proposed that hypnosis represents a distinct mental state. This notion finds some support in the concept of trance logic. Trance logic refers to the capacity to simultaneously hold two contradictory ideas or beliefs. For instance, a hypnotist might suggest to a person undergoing hypnotic state that they are deaf. Then the hypnotist enquires, “Can you hear me now?” Astonishingly, the person may respond with “No,” thereby displaying trance logic.

Studies reveal that individuals asked to simulate hypnosis exhibit trance logic as frequently as those who are genuinely hypnotized. This observation suggests that trance logic is primarily a product of people’s expectations. It is not an inherent characteristic of the hypnotic state itself. Consequently, it becomes apparent that a distinct hypnotic state is not a prerequisite for inducing many of the remarkable or puzzling effects commonly associated with it.

How hypnosis works

  1. Altered State of Consciousness: Some theorists propose that hypnosis creates an altered state of consciousness. Here the mind becomes more open to suggestion. In this state, individuals may be more receptive to changing thoughts, behaviors, or perceptions.
  2. Role Playing: Others suggest that it is a form of role-playing. In this case the individual assumes the role of a highly suggestible person and acts accordingly. This perspective emphasizes the role of expectation and social factors in hypnosis.
  3. Neurological and Psychological Mechanisms: Research using brain imaging has indicated that hypnosis can have measurable effects on brain activity. Hypnosis involves changes in neural pathways and cognitive processing.

The Scientific Basis of Hypnosis

So, hypnosis, is it real or fake? It is a legitimate psychological phenomenon with a growing body of scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness. It has been recognized as a valid therapeutic technique. The American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association, see it as a valid therapeutic technique.

Research has shown that this method can be effective in various applications, including:

Pain Management: Hypnosis has been used to reduce pain perception in medical procedures, chronic pain conditions, and even during childbirth. It can alter the perception of pain and increase pain tolerance.

Behavioral Change: Hypnotherapy has been employed to help individuals quit smoking, lose weight, overcome phobias, and manage anxiety and stress. It can facilitate behavioral change by targeting the subconscious mind.

Enhancing Performance: Athletes and individuals seeking to improve their performance in various domains have turned to hypnosis to boost confidence.

Treating Psychological Disorders: Hypnotherapy can be a valuable adjunct to psychotherapy. This helps treating conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more.

Debunking the Myths about hypnosis

    Despite the scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of hypnosis, many myths and misconceptions persist. It is crucial to dispel these misconceptions to appreciate the real nature of hypnosis:

    1. Mind Control: Hypnosis does not give the hypnotist control over the individual’s mind. A person cannot be made to do something against their will or ethical principles.
    2. Loss of Consciousness: Individuals under hypnosis are not unconscious or asleep. They are fully aware of their surroundings and can recall their experiences.
    3. Magic or Supernatural Powers: Hypnosis is a natural psychological process. It does not involve magical or supernatural abilities. It is based on psychological principles and techniques.
    4. Only Gullible People Can Be Hypnotized: Some individuals may be more suggestible than others. However, virtually anyone with the willingness to participate can enter a hypnotic state.


    Hypnosis is it real? Short answer is yes. With a rich history, a well-established scientific foundation, and a wide range of practical applications in the fields of psychology and medicine. It is a versatile tool for promoting positive changes in behavior, managing pain, and addressing psychological issues. By demystifying it and understanding its true nature, we can harness its potential for personal growth, healing, and overall well-being. While it may not possess the mystique of stage performances. It is a valuable and legitimate therapeutic technique that continues to evolve and contribute to the fields of psychology and medicine.

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