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The term Hypnosis comes from the Greek 'ypnos' which means sleep because of the Trance State. However Hypnosis is not sleep because the subject stays alert, can talk and move, and the brain waves differ (What is Hypnosis, n.d.). In modern days Hypnosis has been used for a number of reasons. Some people try to stop smoking, loose weight, drug addiction and alcoholism Bi Polar disorder, ADHD, and schizophrenia, and stress management. As you can see Hypnosis can and is being used in all kinds of forms. For several decades, or even centuries, hypnosis was more seen as a circus or magic act. Because of this it has taken awhile to convince the public that it also has its practical uses.
As to the history of hypnosis, the use of it can be dated back all the way to the early ages of civilization. In ancient times, humans used it for healing purposes, especially in religious ceremonies. For example, an Indian shamans entered into a process of strong visualization and suggestion during which he willed to heal the sick person. The first modern type of hypnosis started with animal hypnosis. In 1600-s farmers calmed chickens hypnotically by using different methods. In 1800-s people hypnotized birds, rabbits, frogs and other animals. B. Danilewsky experimented with animal hypnosis and studied its physiological workings in animals (Hypnosis Black Secrets, n.d.).
The first person to look into this part of psychology was Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), an Austrian physician, who is widely acknowledged as the 'Father of Hypnosis'. Franz believed that there was a quasi-magnetic fluid in the very air that we breathe and that the body's' nerves somehow absorbed this fluid. He cured most of his patients by applying magnets to different parts of the body to change the magnetic flows of the body (Mark, R. 2002). He was the forefather of all major scientists who studied Hypnosis after him, for example Marquis de Puysegur and Dr. John Elliotson.
Now that we know a little bit about how Hypnosis started, let's find out what hypnosis is? According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: "Hypnosis is a special psychological state with certain physiological attributes, resembling sleep only superficially and marked by a functioning of the individual at a level of awareness other than the ordinary conscious state. This state is characterized by a degree of increased receptiveness and responsiveness in which inner experiential perceptions are given as much significance as is generally given only to external reality (Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d.).
This brings us to the next question, what is hypnosis used for? A better question would actually be what can't Hypnosis be used for? Hypnosis, nowadays, is being used for multiple problems. Some of the more common ones would be people who try to stop smoking, others who would like to lose weight and have tried everything else and it didn't work. Some us hypnosis to deal with stress related problems. These would be the more commonly know areas hypnosis is used for. Other less known areas hypnosis can be used for would be in helping epilepsy patients and patients with paralysis, Multiple sclerosis, AIDS and cancer. Hypnosis can in some of these cases help to improve the quality of life and in some cases assist in facilitating a cure. The most important part of this side of Hypnosis is to remember that only people with a degree in medicine should practice hypnosis for these kinds of problems. An exception might be that physicians will give you a referral to a hypnotist, who is very well reversed it what you need him to do. Hypnosis has also been known o have been applied for child birth conditioning and of course the benefits are enhanced if they are used in combination with La Maze breathing techniques.
There are also experts who utilize hypnosis for drug addiction and alcoholism, these experts are familiar with the twelve steps of AA and Al-anon and have practice in the twelve step programs and know how to use hypnosis to help their clients. Other experts employ hypnosis to help women with the symptoms of PMS (premenstrual stress) and other endocrine related health disorders. Hypnosis also has been found to help people with ADHD and schizophrenia and bi-polar (Watkins, 2008).
Another special form of hypnosis-called wakened hypnosis--is most effective for dealing with anxiety panic attack. Hypnosis - Hypnosis is sometimes used in combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety. While you're in a state of deep relaxation, the hypnotherapist uses different therapeutic techniques to help you face your fears and look at them in new ways (Anxiety Attacks and Disorders, n.d.).
Last but not least, and probably one of the most known uses for hypnosis, is to use it for delving into repressed child hood memories. Clinical hypnosis can be used to overcome many of the clients mental and health problems by theoretically locating the source of the problem in their childhood. This practice of hypnosis has come under fire lately, some statements made by people that underwent hypnosis to uncover repressed child hood memories were actually used for lawsuits against parents, siblings and other family members. After long investigations most of these cases nothing more than somebody's supposedly long-repressed memories that suddenly surfaced under therapy. After reviewing 60 years of research and finding no controlled laboratory support for the concept of repression, a well known researcher D.S. Holmes suggested, only half jokingly, that any use of the concept be preceded by a warning: "Warning. The concept of repression has not been validated with experimental research and its use may be hazardous to the accurate interpretation of clinical behavior" (Holmes, 1990) Ricker, n.d.). Defense litigation in such cases of hypnosis has raised impropriety and incompetency on the part of the therapist or practitioner using hypnosis and/or suggestive techniques to recover "repressed" memories which false lead the client to believe that their current symptoms are due to being sexual abused as a child (Hansen, 1996).
There have been also reports of dentist using hypnosis during dental surgery to erase the pain.
Another use of hypnosis is called Self-hypnosis, this happens when you hypnotize yourself. This is often more practical as a stress management tool than normal hypnosis, as you do not need to have a hypnotist present. Self hypnosis works pretty much the same way as meditation, it helps you relax and distract your mind from unpleasant thoughts. Together with meditation and imagery, self hypnosis can be a powerful tool to combat daily stress and become a part of a daily stress management routine (Self Hypnosis, n.d.).
In conclusion, as you can see hypnosis can successfully be used for every conceivable problem that can trouble humans. In this essay I touched on just a few uses of Hypnosis, the more common ones like childhood repressed memories, stop smoking, weight loss and stress management and some of the lesser known ones like pain control and child birth. There are probably many more uses for hypnosis to be discovered we haven't thought of yet.
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