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Science and hypnosis

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The power of your thoughts

Your thoughts are one of the only things you can truly control. However, did you know that they control your emotions and physiology and determine your behavior? 

In her famous TEDTalk, Stanford University researcher Kelly McGonigal highlights how your perception of stress (positive or negative) influences your feelings and, ultimately, your health. In other words, your view of stress and thoughts determine the effects stress will have on you! Studies have also highlighted physiological changes related to your thought system and beliefs. 


What if you could change your thoughts, how you look at certain situations, your work, and your life? What if you could eliminate that lump in your stomach? Or these ruminations? 

This is precisely what hypnosis facilitates. Here's how.

The science behind learning and change

The brain is constantly changing and can change at any time in adulthood through the phenomenon of neuroplasticity. The process is as robust and rapid as in childhood, explains Professor Eric Knudsen of Stanford University. Professor Andrew Huberman of Stanford also explains that neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to change in response to experience. He adds that it is triggered by a state of intense concentration and then materializes during the rest phase, which is most often sleep.

The strengths of hypnosis

Hypnosis has the significant advantage of combining concentration and deep rest simultaneously. In addition, Huberman describes hypnosis as a unique brain state in which neuroplasticity can be increased. 


"Normally, you work hard on something, then go to sleep, and that's when plasticity occurs. But hypnosis accelerates this whole process by simultaneously getting people into a state of deep relaxation and focus and allowing their circuits to remodel", he explains.

The second significant advantage of hypnosis is that it gives you access to your subconscious mind, which often guides your behavior, sometimes without your knowledge. Professor Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University explains it in Thinking fast and slow: you are driven 95% of the time by your conditioning and your unconscious. When the unconscious becomes conscious, it becomes possible to act and change things - that is precisely what we do under hypnosis.


What happens under hypnosis

David Spiegel, a psychiatrist, Professor, and Medical Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, has shown this in his research: the state of hypnosis changes certain connections in your brain. During hypnosis, you are very engaged and focused. Your judgment is also "suspended". One fascinating consequence is that you can engage in activities in your imagination without having to think about how you are doing it. 

In other words, whatever you imagine in your mind is perceived as real while you are in a trance. This is precisely why you can solve problems and adopt more desirable beliefs and behaviors while under hypnosis.

The benefits of hypnosis

And it has been proven by Spiegel and his colleagues (and many other studies) that clinical hypnosis improves the symptoms of stress. It also improves chronic anxiety, chronic pain, and various other illnesses, including various psychiatric diseases, and even has results with cancer.

"We have found hypnosis to be very helpful in reducing stress", he completes.

Hypnosis and control

In clinical hypnosis, the goal is to bring people into a state of great calm with a limited context and increased concentration so that the person can direct their mental changes. In stage hypnosis, the internal state sought is the same, but the hypnotist aims to control the person's actions and states.


"Hypnosis is a state of highly focused attention. You see what you see in great detail, like with the camera's telephoto lens. But without any context. Like when you are immersed in a great movie", says Spiegel.


People are afraid of hypnosis because they fear losing control. In reality, you gain control. Uncovering what is unconsciously controlling you makes it possible to take back control. In addition, "self-hypnosis is a way to strengthen your control over your mind and body", says Spiegel. It gives you flexibility and lets you see something from a different perspective. It's a great therapeutic opportunity. Hypnosis states suspend critical judgment to let you experience and appreciate what's happening.


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