Hypnosis Articles

Finland Study

Hypnosis has been considered for the past 250 years by the scientific community as being nothing more than a cute trick, with little consideration put in for in-depth research into this highly controversial state. Some psychologists believe that a hypnotized person is unconscious, resembling a sleep walker, while modern research suggests that the case is actually the opposite, the subject being fully awake, albeit with little peripheral awareness. Nevertheless, it’s a poorly exploited field, a fact which Scandinavian researchers hope to change after a recently published paper which claims it has proof that the hypnotic state actually exists.

The study conducted by researchers from Aalto University in Finland and the universities of Skövde and Turku in Sweden, followed the curious case of a woman who could enter a state of deep hypnosis instantly just at the utterance of a word (her name and afferent hypnotic keyword has not been disclosed for reasons self-explanatory). When enduced, the woman’s eyes became glazed, a sign of hypnotic state advocated by psychologists for decades.

The researchers studied the strange stare in great detail by using high-resolution and FPS cameras. The physical signals of hypnosis have seen little attention so far, and the scientists hoped to convince the scientific community of the existence of hypnosis by providing physiological evidence.

Researchers used high-resolution eye-tracking methodology and presented a set of well-established oculomotor (eye-tracking) tasks that trigger automatic eye behavior. Their results showed that the glazed stare had measurable changes in automatic, reflexive eye behavior that could not be imitated by non-hypnotized participants.

Hypnosis is approved by the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association

An international team of researchers have found the existence of a genuine hypnotic state. The researchers studied the ‘trance stare’, a glazed look in the eyes that has often been associated with hypnosis in the popular culture but rarely studied scientifically. These findings have major implications for psychology and neurosciences, as they confirm the existence of a novel mental state in humans.

The study focused on healthy adult who is known to be highly susceptible to hypnosis, and is known to respond immediately to hypnotic suggestion. Her eye movements during hypnotic and waking state were measured with a special eye tracker. When she entered hypnosis, her eyes became glazed and her blinking date was significantly reduced. Even more importantly, hypnosis induced dramatic reduction in eye movements that are beyond volitional control in healthy adults. None of thirty tested control subjects could mimic these changes in eye movement patterns volitionally, which underlies that hypnosis does indeed involve an altered mental state which is associated with cognitive and motor changes far beyond our volitional control. The study was carried out by a team of researchers from Aalto University, University of Turku (Finland) and University of Skövde (Sweden).

Hypnosis has had a long and controversial history in psychology, psychiatry and neurology. For the past hundred years, researchers have debated whether or not hypnosis really involves an altered mental state unlike the normal wakeful condition, or whether it simply reflects a cognitive state similar to those occurring outside hypnosis.

Fear of Failure

Everyone is afraid to fail. Whether it’s the parallel parking portion of your driver’s test, the Bar Exam, or that all-important job interview, being afraid to fail at something that you really want is a perfectly normal fear. However, when that fear of failure paralyzes you from actually moving forward with your life, you have a problem. That’s when you need to come up with a way to overcome your fear of failure.

Hypnosis is a great way to do it!

How do you know you’re afraid to fail? Is it because of that nagging little voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough? Is it because you’re dealing with physical symptoms, like headaches, nausea, or insomnia? Is it because of that sense of dread that you just can’t seem to shake?

No matter what kind of emotions and symptoms you’re dealing with, your fear of failure is coming directly from your subconscious mind. You’re probably not even aware of it, but your subconscious mind is responsible for the vast majority of your thoughts and actions.

Unfortunately, your subconscious mind is very powerful. Trying to give yourself a pep talk before the driver’s test, telling yourself that you’ve done everything you can to prepare for the Bar Exam, or holding your head up high and trying to walk into your job interview with confidence isn’t enough – because all of those solutions are conscious ones. Unless you address the problem where it’s rooted – in your subconscious mind – you will never truly get over it.

Fear of failure hypnosis is the only treatment that can access your subconscious mind and make the necessary changes.

During a fear of failure hypnosis session, you will be guided into a hypnotic state – which is similar to being in a trance. While you’re in that state, a certified hypnotist can give suggestions that your subconscious mind will accept and act upon. In addition, your hypnotist can identify the root cause of your fear.

The reasons behind a fear of failure are as varied as the people who suffer from it. You may have grown up with parents who were always afraid of failure – and your subconscious learned to model its behavior after them. Or, maybe you had a job interview years ago that went poorly – and now your subconscious is convinced that every job interview is going to be just as bad.

No matter why your subconscious is afraid, you and your consulting hypnotist will devise a plan to overcome it. Through fear of failure hypnosis sessions, you will work to re-program your subconscious so that it doesn’t make fear more powerful than you are. Instead, your subconscious will realize that fear is normal – but that you’re strong enough to deal with it and thrive in spite of it.

(Reuters Health) – Hypnosis may help some people with stubborn cases of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) find some relief from their symptoms, a new study suggests.

A number of studies since the 1980s have found that “gut-directed” hypnosis can help some people with IBS when standard treatment fails. The new study is different in that patients were treated by therapists in their communities rather than at highly specialized medical centers.

So, the researchers say, the findings give a better idea of how hypnosis might work for IBS in the “real world.”

In two separate studies, they randomly assigned 138 patients with IBS that had resisted standard therapy to either a dozen sessions of hypnosis or to a “control” group.

In one study, which included 90 patients, 38 percent of hypnosis patients were treatment “responders” after 3 months — meaning their symptom scores had dropped by at least 25 percent. That compared with 11 percent of patients in the control group, who only received advice on diet and relaxation techniques.

In the second study, of 48 patients, one-quarter of the hypnosis group were responders, compared with 13 percent of the control group (where patients were put on a wait-list for hypnosis therapy). That difference was not statistically significant, which means it could have been due to chance.

The hypnosis patients did, though, have a bigger average drop in symptoms of pain and bloating.

People with IBS have repeated bouts of abdominal cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Standard treatment includes diet changes, as well as anti-diarrheal medication and, for constipation, laxatives or fiber supplements.

For many people, that’s enough to bring symptom relief, said Olafur S. Palsson, an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

But for people with tougher-to-treat IBS, psychological therapies — namely, hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy — have proven effective in clinical trials.

Palsson, who was not involved in the current study, researches and uses hypnosis therapy in treating IBS.

“This study shows that hypnosis can work in ‘real life,’ in the community setting, and not only the specialized research setting,” Palsson said.

But the benefits were not as strong as those seen in some past studies — where up to 80 percent of patients had significant improvements in their IBS symptoms.

The current pair of studies took two approaches: in one, hypnosis patients saw psychologists in private practice who were experienced in hypnotherapy; in the second, hypnosis patients saw one psychologist at a gastroenterology outpatient clinic.

It’s possible that the best way to receive hypnosis therapy for IBS is as part of “optimized management” that includes standard medical care, according to senior researcher Dr. Magnus Simren of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

But finding a source for hypnosis therapy — either on its own or along with regular medical care — is a big obstacle.

IBS-directed hypnotherapy is not widely available, Simren told Reuters Health in an email. And, partly because of that, it’s generally used only for patients with IBS symptoms that do not respond to standard care.

It makes sense, Palsson said, to try standard measures like diet changes and laxatives first. If they do not make a dent in your symptoms after a few months, psychological approaches might be worthwhile — if you can find them.

The exact cause of IBS is unknown. But the “gut-brain” connection is thought to be important, and anxiety over symptoms can make the physical symptoms worse.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to change the unhealthy thinking patterns and behaviors that contribute to people’s health problems, appears to help some people with IBS.

In gut-directed hypnosis, the idea is to give people a feeling of control over their digestive symptoms. In this study, for instance, patients were given “suggestions” for normalizing their bowel function — like images of a river “floating smoothly.”

No one knows exactly why the technique seems to work for some stubborn cases of IBS, according to Palsson. He said it’s been thought that hypnosis might change pain sensitivity in the intestines, but research suggests that is not what’s going on.

Hypnosis has not been directly tested against CBT for treating IBS, Palsson said. But based on the results from separate studies, he added, they seem to be comparably effective.

The problem with both is availability. IBS patients in major cities may be able to find either therapy relatively easily, according to Palsson. But in smaller cities and towns, it may well be impossible.

It’s important, Palsson said, to see a licensed health professional with experience not just in hypnosis, but specifically gut-directed hypnosis.

“Only a limited number of therapists have those skills,” he said.

And if you do find someone, there’s the cost — which only some insurance plans would cover. It’s generally recommended that you have seven to 12 sessions, and seven sessions would cost around $1,000, on average, according to Palsson.

One of the “most promising” aspects of hypnosis therapy is that its effects seem to last, Palsson said. Studies so far suggest that patients who do improve initially typically maintain the benefits for up to five years.

In the current pair of studies, benefits were still apparent one year later. In the larger of the two, 42 percent of hypnosis patients were considered responders one year later (actually higher than the 38 percent who were responders after three months).

Palsson and his colleagues have also done a small pilot study to see whether the therapist can be taken out of the equation altogether.

They had 19 IBS patients follow a scripted hypnosis “protocol” at home for three months, and found that 10 responded to the treatment with more than a 50 percent drop in IBS severity.

But it’s hard to draw conclusions from such a small study, Palsson noted, and more research into home self-hypnosis is needed.

He also stressed that “hypnosis is not a cure for IBS. Most people who respond still have symptoms — but they are improved.” And that improvement, Palsson added, can make a big difference in the quality of a patient’s life.


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