data for skeptics
Is hypnosis fake?
“Hypnosis is fake!” I’ve heard this comment countless times. If you’ve attended a stage hypnosis show, you may have seen some incredible things. The hypnotist snaps his fingers and the person begins to sing and dance. The performers on stage forget their names, pretend to be famous actors or maybe they just fall asleep. What is going on?
There is a segment of the population that are EXTREMELY responsive to hypnosis (estimates vary but it’s around 10%) I’m going to talk about some boring brain anatomy so bear with me for a moment. According to Dr. David Spiegel and his colleagues at the Stanford University School of Medicine there ae 3 hallmarks of the brain during hypnosis. Each of these changes were seen only in the the highly hypnotizable group and only while they were undergoing hypnosis.
First there was a DECREASE in the part of the brain that determines what is deserving of our attention. (dorsal anterior cingulate) Secondly, they saw an INCREASE in connections between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the insula. (the brain-body connection that helps the brain process and control what’s going on in the body) Finally, they observed a disconnect between someone’s actions and their awareness of their actions. (less activity between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the default mode network)
This study suggests that there may be some potential clients who are born to be hypnotized. They can have a more vivid imagination and be more carefree. During a hypnosis show, a trained hypnotist knows what signs to look out for and only selects the MOST hypnotizable. This creates the illusion of brain washing and allows the hypnotist to put on an amazing show.
Hypnosis isn’t mind control, it’s not magic, it’s a process that works. Focused attention, repeated suggestions, and a vivid imagination all combined to create a change in habits which in turn enhances the quality of your life.
Still skeptical? Click on the link below to download a free pdf with a list of 101 studies on the effectiveness of hypnosis. If you want to go even further go to scholar.google.com. Type in “hypnosis for ___” Type in the issue you’d like to work on and it’ll list studies on that topic. Thanks for keeping an open mind and I look forward to working with you real soon!