Hypnotherapy works - Evidence suggests

With the advances in technology as well as the growing interest in the brain and how it works, it is now possible to scan the human brain in real-time. Experts are now able to check whether hypnosis changes the brain and if so, in what way.

A recent experiment involved three groups. The first were told to pretend that their left arm was paralysed. The second group were not told anything regarding the experiment, and the third group were put into a state of hypnosis and told that their left arm was paralysed.

It was found that the group that were not told anything, and the group that pretended that their left arm was paralysed activated similar parts of the brain. And they lifted their arms easily. However, the hypnotised group were the only ones found to have activity going on in the precuneus. The precuneus is thought to be a very important part of the brain to do with self consciousness and imagery.The hypnotised group where unable to lift their left arm.

This shows that wishful thinking, writing goals and positive thinking are very admirable but they do not necessarily change behaviour. It is at the deeper level of relaxation, termed the relaxation response when the mind is totally focused, that change happens. It is as if the mind takes suggestions more seriously when we have reached a deep level of focus and hypnosis.

Visiting a hypnotherapist is a good way to learn how to enter this state of deep relaxation. It is something that can be learned but it is very useful to experience it with an expert before practising on your own. It is a worthwhile skill to have because we are likely to use it many times in our life.

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