What the Science Says about Hypnosis

What the Science Says about Hypnosis

Imagine sitting back, closing your eyes, and letting go of all your worries and fears. Now imagine if you could work on some of your biggest issues, such as pain, anxiety, stress, and more, while you were simply sitting back and relaxing. You could go deeper and work harder without moving a muscle, building your confidence, restoring your self-esteem, stimulating your motivation, and nurturing your creativity. It might sound too good to be true, but in this case, it is quite real. Science is learning more about this powerful phenomenon every day. Here is what you need to know about the most compelling research we have uncovered so far.

1. The Basics of Hypnosis

Early studies focused largely on what researchers could observe in their patients’ behaviors and actions during hypnosis. Today, scientists can go deeper using imaging tests. MRIs and EEGs offer a peek into study participants’ brains, allowing us to better understand exactly what happens during induction and beyond.

Specifically, a group of Stanford scientists used MRIs to scan the brains of nearly 60 people in a variety of scenarios to better understand the effects of the natural process on the brain. They discovered that during the experience, study participants had less activity in the salience network, which includes several important brain structures, such as the hypothalamus and the amygdala. The salience network decides which stimuli deserve attention. There was increased connectivity between the executive control region and insula, which are parts of the brain that help interpret pain and regulate critical body activities, such as heart rate and blood pressure. Finally, there is reduced connectivity between the executive control region and the default mode network, which essentially allows us to focus on our own thoughts rather than our actions.

In other words, the researchers found that hypnosis taps into a powerful brain-body connection that allows us to tune out distractions and better process our own feelings and needs.

2. The Effects

Most research has previously focused on understanding the process, but researchers are also trying to understand how we can use it to our advantage. That is leading to some exciting advances. One researcher used advanced EEG technology to record brain wave activity before, during, and after the experience. The research team found that study participants experienced increased alpha activity, which was associated with increased relaxation. Some participants also experienced changes in theta waves, which indicated increased concentration. A person’s perception is also altered during the process. This was demonstrated by a study in which subjects experienced “changes” in the way they perceived color due to altered activity in the color center of the visual cortex. The changes in concentration, relaxation, and perception can allow us to fine-tune the way our bodies and brain respond to a variety of stimuli and experiences.

Ultimately, online hypnosis can change the way we see, experience, and move through the world. When we harness that power, we can transform our health, our mindset, and our lives for the better.

3. The Benefits of Self-Hypnosis

Humans have been using self-hypnosis for pain for decades. In more recent years, scientists have been seeking novel and additional uses for this therapeutic technique, using it to manage not just acute and chronic pain but also:

The research particularly supports the efficacy of hypnoanalgesia. Its benefits are especially notable when combined with other treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, when used to address issues such as depression or anxiety. Unlike other treatments for conditions such as insomnia or anxiety, online hypnosis provides drug-free relief with no risk of addiction, has minimal costs, and is easy to administer.

The data also supports using hypnotherapy as a first-line treatment for a wide range of chronic health conditions due to its low cost and positive side effects, including decreased pain, greater control over pain, increased relaxation, a sense of wellbeing, and decreased stress.


4. The Safety and Efficacy of Hypnotherapy

Researchers have undertaken extensive studies on the uses and effectiveness of various hypnotherapy treatments. A meta-analysis evaluated a variety of randomized controlled trials including at least 400 patients to provide us with a better understanding of the safety of the process. Experts found that compared to controls, hypnotherapy offered superior pain and stress management as well as symptom reduction for the patients, who were suffering from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or were experiencing pain from labor or medical interventions and surgery. Researchers determined that this was a safe and effective therapeutic technique for use in medical settings.

5. Hypnotherapy is The Future of Healthcare

The brain is a highly complex organ, and ongoing research is allowing us to get a better look at what happens during the self-hypnosis process. Researchers have found that many brain structures and networks are involved in generating responses to specific suggestions. This helps identify the biological underpinnings of the process. Researchers are hoping to identify the specific ways that patterns of functional connectivity between brain areas and networks are altered. Additionally, researchers are hoping to understand connections between self-hypnosis, and mindfulness and the ways these practices can be used to help us improve our health and wellness by focusing attention and improving self-regulation to ease pain and improve our lives.

Visit UpNow.com today to learn more or download our online hypnosis app.

UpNow Health only uses high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed articles, to support the facts within our articles. All our articles are reviewed by experts to ensure that our content is accurate, helpful, and trustworthy.

1. Lawrence S. Kubie And Sydney Margolin. The Process Of Hypnotism And The Nature Of The Hypnotic State. American Journal Of Psychiatry 1944 100:5, 611-622. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1176%2Fajp.100.5.611

2. American Psychological Association, Hypnosis Today, Link

3. James E. Horton, Helen J. Crawford, Gregory Harrington, J. Hunter Downs, III, Increased anterior corpus callosum size associated positively with hypnotizability and the ability to control pain, Brain, Volume 127, Issue 8, August 2004, Pages 1741–1747, https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awh196

4. Sarah Williams. Study identifies brain areas altered during hypnotic trances. Stanford Medicine News Center. Published: July 28, 2016. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2016/07/study-identifies-brain-areas-altered-during-hypnotic-trances.html.

5. Kihlstrom J. F. (2013). Neuro-hypnotism: prospects for hypnosis and neuroscience. Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior, 49(2), 365–374. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2012.05.016

6. Parris B. A. (2016). The Prefrontal Cortex and Suggestion: Hypnosis vs. Placebo Effects. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 415. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00415

7. Kosslyn, S. M., Thompson, W. L., Costantini-Ferrando, M. F., Alpert, N. M., & Spiegel, D. (2000). Hypnotic visual illusion alters color processing in the brain. The American journal of psychiatry, 157(8), 1279–1284. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.157.8.1279

8. Jensen, M. P., Adachi, T., Tomé-Pires, C., Lee, J., Osman, Z. J., & Miró, J. (2015). Mechanisms of hypnosis: toward the development of a biopsychosocial model. The International journal of clinical and experimental hypnosis, 63(1), 34–75. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207144.2014.961875

9. James H. Stewart. Hypnosis in Contemporary Medicine. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Volume 80, ISSUE 4, P511-524, April 01, 2005. https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(11)63203-5/fulltext

10. Jensen, M. P., McArthur, K. D., Barber, J., Hanley, M. A., Engel, J. M., Romano, J. M., Cardenas, D. D., Kraft, G. H., Hoffman, A. J., & Patterson, D. R. (2006). Satisfaction with, and the beneficial side effects of, hypnotic analgesia. The International journal of clinical and experimental hypnosis, 54(4), 432–447. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207140600856798

11. Häuser, W., Hagl, M., Schmierer, A., & Hansen, E. (2016). The Efficacy, Safety and Applications of Medical Hypnosis. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 113(17), 289–296. https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2016.0289

12. Jensen, M. P., Jamieson, G. A., Lutz, A., Mazzoni, G., McGeown, W. J., Santarcangelo, E. L., Demertzi, A., De Pascalis, V., Bányai, É. I., Rominger, C., Vuilleumier, P., Faymonville, M. E., & Terhune, D. B. (2017). New directions in hypnosis research: strategies for advancing the cognitive and clinical neuroscience of hypnosis. Neuroscience of consciousness, 3(1), nix004. https://doi.org/10.1093/nc/nix004

13. Jensen, M. P., Adachi, T., & Hakimian, S. (2015). Brain Oscillations, Hypnosis, and Hypnotizability. The American journal of clinical hypnosis, 57(3), 230–253. https://doi.org/10.1080/00029157.2015.985573

14. Oakley, D. A., & Halligan, P. W. (2013). Hypnotic suggestion: opportunities for cognitive neuroscience. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 14(8), 565–576. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn3538

15. Davidson, R. J., & Goleman, D. J. (1977). The role of attention in meditation and hypnosis: A psychobiological perspective on transformations of consciousness. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 25(4), 291–308. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207147708415986

Hypnosis Downloads

Related Posts

Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.