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Hypnosis

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is similar to sleep where the mind is in an altered, relaxed state. When under hypnosis, the mind can still access memories, sensations, and other thoughts. It's used for things such as breaking bad habits, controlling pain, managing stress, and many other health conditions.  

Some mentally healthy people can't be hypnotized, others are more receptive to this form of therapy. But, hypnotism will not work if the person does not want to be hypnotized, and the subject of hypnosis can interrupt it at any time. Hypnotism requires trust and imagination.

When hypnotized, your heart rate may decrease, body temperature may change, and blood flow to certain areas may be altered.  The state of deep relaxation can divert attention from pain and other negative stimuli. Hypnotism can even be used as a pain reliever during certain surgeries, such as dental surgery.

Hypnotism can be used for many situations such as: 

  • Reducing pain

  • Quitting smoking 

  • Reducing anxiety

  • Treating depression

  • Overcoming fears or phobia

Hypnosis and memory retrieval

Using hypnosis to extract hidden or vague memories may not be reliable. Although there is a widespread belief that hypnosis produces accurate memories, researchers found that hypnosis does not work well as a memory-recovery method. In addition, people who have been hypnotized tend to feel confident that their memories are accurate, contributing to the persistence of false memories.

Online Medical Reviewer: Finke, Amy, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Garilli, Bianca, ND
Last Review Date: 4/1/2017
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