Thursday, 27 June 2013

Hypnotherapy and Your Brain(waves)

Image credit: Christopher Lane Photography
Hypnotherapy is an amazingly powerful science. It's hypnosis with a point - usually, to discover or better something about oneself. And for many people, it works.

If you're like me, you may have wondered just why it works, and what happens within the brain during the process. Let's talk a little about that today.

What Hypnotherapy Is

Hypnosis is the act of altering perception during deep relaxation in order to create a suggestible and responsive state. Hypnotherapy takes that a step further; it works to achieve positive feelings or changes, usually by the direction of a trained hypnotherapist. (However, it's quite possible to do this on one's own.)

Hypnotherapy might be used to reduce anxiety, address a situation that is difficult to solve, or to create changes such as weight loss, improved sports performance or the alleviation of a physical issue.

This is Your Brain on Hypnotherapy

The reason hypnotherapy works so well for many people is that under hypnosis, the brainwaves operate in the alpha state. Alpha brain waves are slower than beta waves, which you experience when you're fully alert.

In alpha, the brainwaves slow to 8-12 Hz, producing a highly relaxed condition. (Beta waves are faster; deeper, much slower waves associated with full sleep include Theta and Delta.)

While in alpha, your brain is better able to take hypnotherapy suggestions because this state is accepting of less "concrete" data. In other words, it's like a directed daydream that your brain is willing to accept as being real.

If you look in the mirror and tell yourself "I'm thin" but you don't see a thin person, your beta-operating brain will rebel and say, "Reality says otherwise." In alpha, however, if you're given the direction "You are thin" (or if you give that direction to yourself), your brain will better be able to accept the direction as a reality.

That's where real changes occur - and they can be amazing.

Why Choose Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy can, for many people, produce results they're otherwise having difficulty achieving. Because it works on a deeper level than your fully conscious state, a well-directed hypnotherapy session can bypass your logical, worrying mind and get to the core of your emotions and your beliefs.

Do not doubt the power of your "deeper" self. The alpha state is very real; you probably slip into it multiple times each day without knowing it. When you daydream, when you get so caught up in a movie that you "forget" you're in your living room, when you get lost in the vision of a beautiful blue sky, you are probably in alpha.

The difference is that with hypnotherapy, rather than having your mind wander in this relaxed and very natural state, you're giving your brain actual direction - whatever direction you want.

Beyond Beta to a Better You

There are so many potential applications for hypnotherapy that we couldn't possibly list them all here. But to name just a few, people have used the practice to:

  • achieve better fitness
  • reduce or eliminate anxiety
  • work out issues, including issues stemming from childhood
  • produce a spiritual experience
  • achieve communion with one's interpretation of God/spirit
  • eliminate addictions
  • alleviate pain
  • increase creativity
  • improve relationships
Because your brain is unique, your experience will not be like anyone else's. Some people achieve a full alpha state; others have more difficulty. And some problems may take multiple hypnotherapy sessions.

If you're interested in hypnotherapy, explore the process with an open and relaxed mind. You never know what hypnotherapy might do for you.

Sources: (more info on hypnotherapy) (a similar technique to achieve the same results) (American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists)

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