Hypnosis Hypnosis Recently, I was watching an episode of the Ricki Lake Show that featured a master hypnotist. Glued to the television, I witnessed a group of volunteers make fools of themselves – dancing with mops, impersonating animals, and other abnormal acts. Thus, my curiosity peaked. Over the years, hypnosis has been a topic studied by scientists, doctors, philosophers, new agers, and those such as myself. The Encarta Encyclopedia defines hypnosis as, an altered state of consciousness and heightened responsiveness to suggestion. It may be induced by normal persons through a variety of methods and has been used occasionally in medical and psychiatric treatment.

Most frequently brought about through the actions of an operator, or hypnotist, who engages the attention of a subject and assigns certain tasks to him or her while uttering monotonous, repetitive verbal commands. Such tasks may include muscle relaxation, eye fixation, and arm levitation. Hypnosis also may be self-induced, by trained practices and rituals that are found in many mystical, philosophical, and religious systems. Hypnosis has many useful situations. One would be in the area of memory. When you are entranced in the hypnotic state, your sense of memory is enhanced. Although this is true, the things that are remembered cannot always be regarded as the truth.

Sometimes when a person is entranced, they will remember things that never actually happened, but have great personal significance. One area that has caused tremendous controversy is in the area of hypnotizability. The question has been raised many times if there are certain people who can be hypnotized and certain people who cannot be hypnotize. There are people indeed who can and cannot. The only thing it depends on is how well you can focus.

People who have better focus generally have better results with hypnotism, and people who have a harder time focusing tend to be less susceptible, as a general rule. Although hypnosis is totally safe as long as your hypnotist is competent and trustworthy, some skeptical people still have fears and concerns. This once again, all relies on how ethical your hypnotist is. Some people also think that people lose control of their actions when they are hypnotized. In a way, you do lose control. From what I have learned, you enter what I describe as an uninhibited state, where things that you would normally find horribly embarrassing would seem perfectly normal, but you do not give up control over moral decisions.

A person in a hypnotic trance can come out anytime they want to if they are asked to do something that goes against their moral values. Another use of hypnosis is in therapy. This is called hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy can be defined as the use of hypnosis for self-improvement and/or the release of problems. All hypnotherapy employs hypnosis, but all hypnosis is not hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy has a wide variety of uses.

Some surgeons and anesthesiologists use it in controlling pain, relaxing the patient, relieving postsurgical depression, and controlling nausea. It is helpful in treating sexual disorders such as impotence, frigidity, and the psychosomatic disorders. Treatment of problems using hypnosis has been used throughout history. Although evidence suggests that hypnosis has been practiced in some form or another for several thousand years (such as coal walking), the earliest recorded history of begins in 1734 with a man named Franz Anton Mesmer. Although, he was eventually disavowed by the scientific community because of his unorthodox methods that made him more of a mysticist than a scientist, he is generally known as the father of hypnotism. Mesmer called his methods mesmerism, thus came the word mesmerize. But the name didn’t stick, it later changed to hypnosis, its name being derived from Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep.