Stanford University Study Dissects The Science of Hypnosis


There has been a lot of controversy about the validity of hypnosis and more and more research are coming out to support that hypnosis really exists and is actually affecting the brain function to some extent.

Hypnotherapy-or medical hypnosis-has a long history as a controversial treatment for physical and psychiatric ailments, Penn State News reported. Franz Mesmer, an Austrian physician from the 18th century did experiments by putting patients into trance states, but this was investigated to find out if the medical treatment was genuine or a hoax.

It took a long time before hypnosis gained credibility as a medical practice but more research are beginning to prove that brain connections are altered during hypnosis.

Hypnotism has been shown to affect brain activity, but a Stanford University study reveals that not everyone is actually susceptible, according to Big Think. The study led by David Spiegel, M.D., professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford has shown how hypnosis can be used to reduce pain because he himself underwent a shoulder surgery and did not take medications afterwards. He felt just very little pain when he hypnotized himself.

One of his previous studies also found that those who practiced self-hypnosis dropped their painkiller use by half and another research found that the method can reduce the pain of childbirth.

According to Spiegel, the types of people who are susceptible to hypnosis tend to be more intuitive, imaginative, and trusting. But he explained that it has less to do with personality trait and more to do with the brain structure, because the part of the brain that controls what to pay attention to and what to ignore calms down during hypnosis. And then the two other parts which controls blood rate and pressure fire together during hypnosis, and intensifies the brain's connection to the body.

The other regions of the brain show less activity and this explains why people under hypnosis can just do anything they are being told without becoming totally conscious and aware of it. They concluded that the altered functional connectivity in the different regions of the brain explain hypnotizability.

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