Discover the Power of Hypnosis
10 Amazing Facts About Hypnosis You Most Probably Didn't Know
By Susanna Sweeney, MSc, MBACP, CHT
Discover the power of hypnosis in this brief article I have put together for you. Enjoy taking in these ten amazing facts about hypnosis that I am pretty sure you may not have heard before.
The Power of Hypnosis outlined by Dr. David Spiegel.
1. Did you Know That Many Famous Historic Personalities Used Hypnosis?
The topic of hypnosis has fascinated people of all classes from its
inception in the 18th century by Franz Anton Mesmer (1734- 1815).
Although mesmerism/ magnetism
continued to be largely rejected by the medical orthodoxy throughout the
18th and 19th centuries, it was highly popular with people of all
classes, starting in Austria and France where Mesmer was active, and later spreading to the US.
Where the upper classes were able to afford consultations with
Mesmer and other mesmerists (of which there were many), the lower
classes attended traveling stage hypnosis shows for entertainment, or
received diagnoses of their health problems through mesmerized
Because of its popularity, there were many historic
personalities who came in contact with mesmerism. The examples I gave
on the info graphic here are only a small selection.
not included there is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) whose father
Leopold was friendly with Mesmer and used to stay at his house when
Wolfgang was a small child starting to perform his music in Vienna.
Wolfgang is said to have composed some of his works in a trance state. While it seems plausible that Mesmer may have practiced 'animal magnetism' on Wolfgang, I have not found any clear evidence of this.
The examples included on
the info graphic are of more recent times and historic evidence clearly exists
that Winston Churchill, Henry Ford, Nicola Tesla, Albert Einstein,
Thomas Edison, Aldous Huxley and Sergej Rachmaninoff all used self help hypnosis
for personal growth and to further their careers.
Historic personalities who were aware of and used the power of hypnosis
2. Did you Know That Hypnosis (Mesmerism), from the start, had Cures for ill Health when Conventional Medicine did not?
In the 18th and for the first half of the 19th century, conventional medicine had nothing much
to offer people by the way of cures. Medical doctors used forms of
treatment that would be classified as questionable these days. They
included bloodletting, the use of leeches, and severe purging. Many patients died from these treatments and success rates were very low.
a result, many people sought the power of hypnosis for cures with
complaints that medical doctors were unable to help with. There are many
hundreds of documented historic case studies of mesmerism succeeding in
cases where medicine failed.
Even before mesmerists fully understood what it was they were doing, the power of hypnosis tapped into the area of psychosomatic illness-
where the subconscious mind exercises power over the body and causes
physical complaints. Mesmerists/ magnetists were able to cure such
complaints through various methods.
You can read more about the history of hypnosis here.
3. Did you Know That Freud did not Discover the Unconscious- but Hypnosis did?
Many people believe that Freud discovered the unconscious. But these people are wrong.
Throughout human history, people were always
aware of unconscious activities through dreams, visions and similar. In
medieval times these were often attributed to demonic possession, later
to organic causes.
With the onset of hypnosis (mesmerism/ magnetism) in the 18th century, a new framework developed that described different states of consciousness,
such as the conscious and subconscious minds. Hypnotism was an
excellent tool for exploring the mind. Based on hypnosis, philosophers
now developed the idea of ‘alternate streams’ of consciousness.
Freud started his work over a century
after the inception of hypnosis. He came across it by accident when
attending a stage show in Vienna where he was studying medicine in the
1870ies. By the time he graduated, hypnotherapy had become a popular
method. He studied it and practiced hypnotherapy for some time but found
the methods did not suit him. Ultimately he gave up.
His experiences with hypnotherapy, however, left a deep imprint on his work:
- Freud developed the idea of the unconscious as always being present in all healthy human beings.
was the first to argue that the unconscious did not constitute
pathology as some other psychologists before him believed (most notably
Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) and Pierre Janet (1859-1947).
- Freud also showed that the subconscious and conscious operate as one and are not strictly separate as believed earlier.
none of these achievements would have been possible without the work of
hundreds of hypnotists throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Here you
can read more about historic personalities involved with the history of hypnosis.
4. Did you Know That Hypnosis can be Used as a Complete Anesthetic During Surgeries?
The power of hypnosis to alleviate pain has been well documented from the middle of the 19th century:
first painless tooth extraction under hypnosis occurred in America on
June 18th 1836, conducted by one Monsieur Burgard who extracted a tooth
from a 12 year old girl under hypnosis without pain or complications.
Esdaile (1808-1859), a British surgeon operating in India, conducted
some 3,000 major and minor painless surgeries under hypnosis.
is modern research evidence too, that hypnosis is effective for pain
relief, see it here in my article "Does hypnotherapy work?"
- Today, childbirth hypnosis is popular and has been shown to give women a better birthing experience.
- Pain hypnosis for a complete anesthetic during surgery is virtually the only use of hypnosis that requires achieving a deep state of hypnosis or self hypnosis trance. However, in a medium or light trance, hypnosis can still act as an analgesic.
5. Did you Know That Celebrities and Executives use Hypnosis?
Discover the power of hypnosis- celebrities who have used hypnosis
In my info graphic I have illustrated examples of celebrities
availing of the power of hypnosis for different purposes from smoking
cessation to weight loss, to childbirth hypnosis, to career and self
These cases have all been documented in the mass media,
and you will likely have been aware of at least some of them. But did
you know that executives, such as CEO’s of large companies, also
appreciate the power of hypnosis?
Executives use hypnosis to:
- Improve decision making
- Improve creativity
- Give them an extra edge
- To improve their leadership skills
The use of hypnosis by celebrities and executives gives you a good idea of the versatility of how hypnosis can be used. Find out here how hypnosis can help you.
6. Did you Know That Recent Brain Imaging Research has Confirmed the Existence of the Hypnotic State?
the longest time there has been a scientific debate as to whether
hypnosis is a distinct state or not. ‘No state’ proponents such as
Theodore Barber (1927-2005) argued that hypnosis achieved results simply
through suggestion and that the altered state was not real.
indeed, it has always been difficult to prove that such a state exists.
But recent research from Stanford that used brain imaging techniques has
opened the door to describing hypnotic trance.
Dr. Spiegel and his
team worked with a sample of 500 subjects. There was a large group who
were put into a hypnotic state, and a control group who were in ordinary
consciousness. This allowed the researchers to compare brain scans in
ordinary consciousness to those of subjects in hypnotic trance.
The brain scans showed specific changes that take place in the brain in this state.
The results showed that under hypnosis, three distinct things happen in the brain:
- There is reduced activity in the ‘dorsal anterior cingulate’of the
brain, which indicates high absorption with one particular issue while
excluding information external to that.
- There is an increase in
connections between two other parts of the brain which will cause high
connectivity between brain and body, giving the brain more control over
the body in this state. This may account for why hypnosis is highly
suited for overcoming the symptoms of trauma.
between three other parts of the brain likely represents a switching off
of internal censors which are always in place in ordinary
consciousness. This means that hypnosis can have you very focused on
doing something and very involved with executing this particular task
without questioning what you are doing, almost without being aware you
are doing it at all. In ordinary consciousness we tend to question our
actions all the time which slows us down in many ways.
Anyone who has
experienced hypnotic trance before will be familiar with these three
features from their own experience, but now researchers have been able
to show them.
In combination, these three characteristic features combine to produce the power of hypnosis- used by hypnotherapists to effect changes in
your mind that would otherwise be much more difficult to achieve.
See more about the topic of how hypnosis changes your brain state in my article "What is Hypnosis?"
7. Did you Know the World’s Most Famous Therapist was a Hypnotist?
Erickson (1901-1980) whose name you are likely to have come across
somewhere before, is considered one of the most famous, if not the most
Much of his work was centered around hypnotherapy.
Erickson developed his own method of hypnosis, called conversational
hypnosis. This method is very flexible and designed to overcome anyone’s
resistance to going into a hypnotic trance.
Erickson contended that
he was able to hypnotize anyone and argued that if a patient was deemed
not hypnotizable, it was the hypnotist’s fault. It meant the hypnotist
did not use the right methods.
8. Did you Know That Everyone is Hypnotizable?
- Milton Erickson argued
that everyone was hypnotizable.
- The recent piece of Stanford research (Spiegel, 2016)
that I discussed above showed that only roughly 4.6 % of the population
are hard to hypnotize. This is contrary to false claims you will see in many sources (usually without any source or evidence produced) that say that up to 25% of people cannot be hypnotized.
can achieve at least a light state of trance, and a light to medium
depth trance is all you need to work on most issues you might want to change in your life.
- Practitioners have always argued that achieving
hypnosis or self hypnosis trance can be learned, taught and practiced. Recent research is now confirming this. Spiegel and colleagues found changes in grey matter during their research which led them to conclude that hypnosis trance is something the brain can learn.
- If one method doesn’t work, try another. Also, much depends on the
rapport with the hypnosis practitioner. If nothing else helps, your safest bet might be to
use self help hypnosis, teaching yourself, so that you, too, can experience and use the power of hypnosis.
- Grab my free self hypnosis guide below which is designed to help you along the way.
9. Did you Know all the Uses of Hypnosis Today?
You can use hypnotherapy for change in many areas of your life, and the list is ever growing:
10. Did you Know You can Achieve any Goal you Want Through Hypnosis?
- The power of hypnosis enables you to literally set yourself any goal, and work towards achieving it.
- You can become very task focused, determined and single minded, working towards your goal.
- Find out how to avoid the 7 most common mistakes when setting your goal so that you will get the foundations for hypnosis for goal setting right.
Where from here?
Check out other articles in this series about hypnosis:
- Does Hypnotherapy Work? Find out my answer to this charged question, and it probably isn't what you would expect...
- Subconscious Mind Programming: Subconscious mind programming is limiting many people and preventing them from living their dream. Find out if this applies to you and what you must do to turn things around...
- The Secret Language of Hypnotherapy: Learn the secret language of hypnotherapy geared towards the requirements of your subconscious mind so that you can reach your goals more easily.
- How Does Hypnotherapy Work? This article is a great starting point to understanding what to expect from hypnotherapy treatment, including what you can do to get the most from your treatment.
- 16 Hypnosis Myths Exploded: Hypnosis has been shrouded in mystery. You, too, have likely picked up a few hypnosis myths which still dominate public consciousness. Learn the truth about hypnosis here...
- Life Regression Hypnosis: This article fills you in on how you can get the very best from regression hypnosis and is a must read if you are thinking of embarking on hypnotherapy treatment for a complex personal issue.
- Past Life Hypnosis: Some hypnotists offer specific sessions to uncover past life memories. Is this a good idea? Find out what my thinking is on how to get the best results from past life hypnosis.
- Hypnosis or Self Hypnosis Trance: Hypnotic trance is referred to with much mystery. Is it really that spooky? Allow me to talk you through what the experience is like.
I hope you have enjoyed my article on the power of hypnosis. Seeing that your curiosity may have been sparked, there are other articles in this series that may interest you...
What is Hypnosis?
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Welcome to my Online Hypnotherapy Clinic. I am Susanna Sweeney, accredited psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. I have been helping people to overcome their blocks and move forward for 25+ years. Along the way, I have fallen in love with hypnotherapy.
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