Is hypnosis good for health?

Aug 14, 2009 at 12:16 p.m. ET

When you hear the word "hypnosis", do you immediately think of someone barking like a dog or doing some other silly, embarrassing action? As amusing as that is, in reality, a hypnotist or hypnotherapist cannot make anyone perform an activity they would not normally do. Some experts say that every human is hypnotized on a daily basis and don't even know it! Keep reading to see how this ancient practice is good for your overall health.

Woman with Closed Eyes

What is hypnosis?

Being hypnotized means to simply be in a trance-like, very relaxed state. You don't even need a hypnotherapist to become hypnotized. Have you ever lost yourself in a delicious book or movie? If so, you have already experienced the state of hypnosis. A hypnotherapist, however, can effectively help you take on physical and mental health challenges in a more directed way.

Hypnosis: Alternative medicine

While hypnosis has been around forever, it has recently become more and more mainstream as people have been reaching for alternative ways to rid themselves of pain, addictions and stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, hypnotherapy may be used to change negative behaviors, such as smoking, bed-wetting and overeating. It can also be used to reduce or eliminate fears, stress and anxiety.

Hypnosis creates a new inner belief

The theory behind hypnosis, according to well-known clinical hypnotherapist Wendi Friesen, is that hypnosis can "gently release blocks and fears, and create a new inner belief that will set the wheels in motion to make changes in the way you think, feel and behave."

What happens during hypnosis?

During an initial consultation, the hynotherapist will ask you questions about the issue you are seeking to resolve. Typically, you will be asked to either lay down or sit down in a comfortable chair. The therapist will gently guide you to a state of relaxation. Some people will feel very at peace, others may feel light while others may say they don't feel anything at all. Regardless, the goal is to get as relaxed and calm as possible.

The therapist will then begin to make new suggestions to you while you are in this state. For example, if you are seeking to kick the nicotine habit, the therapist may say "Each and every day you are committing yourself to smoke less. You are going for a walk when you feel the need to smoke. You are no longer craving nicotine."

The basic premise is to place these new, powerful thoughts in your subconscious mind so you will be able to believe them and change your reality. After the session is completed, the therapist will "wake" you up and you should feel alert and refreshed.

Every one can benefit from hypnosis

Some people believe they cannot be hypnotized. Dr Suhail Jarroush, a clinical hypnotherapist who runs the New Jersey-based health and healing center Aquarian Sun, says that anyone can be hypnotized. "Every human is hypnotized on a daily basis," he explains. "If you have ever daydreamt, then you have hypnotized yourself."

Dr Jarroush describes hypnosis as a means to "being able to change or alter one physical state to another." He adds, "I can be sitting here in my office, get hypnotized and feel that I am now in Hawaii." Sounds great to us!

Though you may not seek the guidance of a hypnotist, you do have the ability to bring yourself into a trance-like relaxed state, which can help you relieve the grind of daily stress. If you have particularly pressing health issues, talk to a naturopath or another alternative medicine professional to see if hypnosis is right for your situation; they can direct you to a qualified hypnotherapist. Hypnosis, whether it be self-induced or professionally guided, can be a beneficial addition to your overall healthcare.

To find a qualified hypnotherapist in your locale, visit

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