We all have seen the mysterious hypnotist in popular media who swings his pendulum and binds the hapless victim to his bidding.

The hypnotist makes his victim bark like a dog, act like a chicken, recite a nursery rhyme or any number of amusing things to entertain his audience.

But in reality, hypnotism is not so glamorous. The word hypnosis comes from the latin word ‘hypno’ meaning sleep and the term ‘hypnosis’, itself was coined by Dr James Braid.

james braid

Here are some facts about hypnotism that you probably did not know.

You cannot hypnotize someone against his or her will. Unbelievable, right? After all, popular media portrays the hypnotist with the ability to bend all to his will.

Not everyone can be hypnotized. Every individual has a hypnotic susceptibility. Some people have a higher susceptibility and hence are more easily hypnotized, while some have a lower susceptibility and take more effort. Some individuals have such a low susceptibility that  they cannot be hypnotized at all!

In a state of hypnosis, you cannot commit any immoral act. Those of you who think they can hypnotize someone to give you their credit card can just forget it. Even in a state of hypnosis, the individual retains his or her consciousness, hence you cannot force the individual to commit any action that he or she would not normally do.

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Many of you might be wondering now, what is the use of hypnosis or hypnotherapy? Hypnosis is a relaxation technique to put the client at ease. In simple terms, a state of hypnosis is a state of extreme relaxation where the client feels free to discuss anything he or she likes. Hypnosis can also be understood as a role play between the hypnotist and the client. Wherein the client plays the role of an actor and the hypnotist plays the role fo the director. The director (hypnotist) directs and the actor(client) acts.

Hypnosis is often used as a supplemental technique to therapy. Medical hynotherapy refers to hypnosis used in a clinical setting to alleviate pain. As a matter of fact, hypnosis is extremely effective as an anesthetic and widely used in the clinical setting.

Hypnosis has also been used to shed a unique light on human mind and behavior. Such as the clinical work of Charcot and Janet, where hypnosis served as a laboratory model for understanding the mysteries of hysteria. a (Kihlstrom, 1979).

In the scientific article ‘Hypnosis and Cognition‘, by John F Kihlstrom(Department of Psychology, University of California Berkeley). He has summarized the various ways in which hypnosis has been a valuable tool in studying human memory.

Overall, hypnotism is more than just another gimmick up an entertainer’s sleeve. It can also be used as tool in scientific research.

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