What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis (hypnotherapy), like sleep, puts the mind in an altered, relaxed state. Under
hypnosis, the mind can still reach memories, sensations, and other thoughts. Hypnosis
is often used for things such as breaking bad habits, controlling pain, and managing
Some people have trouble becoming hypnotized. Others are more receptive to this form
of therapy. Hypnotism will work only if the person wants to be hypnotized and it requires
trust and imagination. While hypnotized, a person can interrupt the process at any
When hypnotized, the heart rate may decrease, the body temperature may change, and
blood flow to certain areas may be altered. The state of deep relaxation can stop
people from thinking about pain and other concerns. Hypnotism has been used as a pain
reliever during certain surgeries, such as dental procedures.
Other uses for hypnotism include:
The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis states that hypnosis should only be done
by licensed clinicians competent in the use of hypnotic treatments. This includes
such professionals as doctors, licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), master's
prepared mental health nurses, and marital or family counselors. Each of these professionals
would need specific education in hypnotic treatments.
Hypnosis and memory recovery
TV shows often portray hypnosis being used to access and recall hidden or vague memories.
But research has not shown this method to be reliable. There is a widespread belief
that hypnosis produces accurate memories and that people who have been hypnotized
tend to feel confident that their memories are accurate. This can lead to the persistence
of false memories. Researchers have found that hypnosis does not work well as a memory-recovery
Tell all of your healthcare providers about any health approaches, supplements, and
medicines you use. This will give them a full picture of your health. It will also
help make sure you get safe, effective, and coordinated care.