When I tell people I’m a hypnotherapist, they often ask “does hypnotherapy actually work ?”
For years within science, there were debates as to whether hypnosis existed or worked and sceptics often claimed that people in hypnosis were play-acting. But that has now all changed. In February 2002 the first conclusive scientific proof that hypnosis produces clear changes in the mind was presented by Professor David Spiegel of Stanford University School of Medicine in California at the America Association for the Advancement of Science conference.
Eight subjects were hypnotised and monitored using special scanning techniques called PET (Positron Emission Tomography) which measures blood flow to the brain.
Professor Spiegel said: “When people believe there is colour in the picture, their brains process the colour even if it isn’t there. They are not just telling you what you want to hear; the way their brains respond to the information is actually being changed. Under hypnosis, believing is seeing.”
Spiegel’s findings demonstrate that hypnosis has biological as well as psychological effects, disproving the cynics and supporting the application of hypnosis in a medical setting.
Spiegel said: “There has been a whole school of argument that hypnosis is nothing more than an exaggerated form of social compliance. This is evidence that they are not just telling you what they think you want to hear. They are actually perceiving things differently.”
For many of us, having scientific proof will help us to believe in hypnotherapy but there will be people who ask: “Is it all just a placebo?” With any therapy or drug there is always a placebo element to it – you believe that by taking this pill or receiving that therapy you will get better. By telling this to your mind it begins to happen. Hypnotherapy in that aspect is no different from any other treatment but it is also highly effective at changing the patterns we get into so that we can look at things in a new way and achieve our goals. Even the NHS has now recognised the benefits of hypnotherapy.
Look at other aspects in life where we are driven by our subconscious and the messages around us, such as in the media where the subliminal messages we pick up around us can influence our choices.
Marketers use branding to tap into our subconscious – take McDonalds for example. Their colours are red and yellow/golden, that’s because, according to the colour theory, these colours are known to subconsciously trigger hunger and/or induce excitement. These colours encourage guests to spend more and leave quickly, which is exactly what fast food restaurants want you to do. McDondalds has now started making the stores green, which is a colour we associate with health and the environment. As the world is becoming more conscious about the effects that certain foods have on our health and the damage we are doing to the planet, McDonalds is moving with the times making their fast food restaurants remain appealing.
Personally I have experienced many clients changing the way they look at a situation, their perception and becoming much happier people. I find my work so rewarding, seeing someone transform from the very first session full of anxiety to now enjoying life far more.
It is time to start working with your mind, take the first steps today to achieving your goals.
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