Self-hypnosis, how to do yourself good without having recourse to a professional?

Hypnosis is a trance state that is characterized by extreme relaxation, heightened suggestibility and heightened imagination. It is not fully understood how hypnosis works, but here are some prevailing theories.

  • Hypnosis can work by altering the electrical patterns of brain function, called brain waves.
  • Using electroencephalographs (EEG), the researchers detected measurable changes in brain wave patterns.
  • During hypnosis, the brain is in the theta brainwave state – the same state seen during daydreaming, deep meditation, and light sleep.
  • Another theory is that during hypnosis, the conscious mind gives way to the subconscious mind, allowing you or your therapist to work directly with the subconscious mind.
  • Finally, it has been noted that, under hypnosis, the activity of the left side of the brain decreases while that of the right side increases. So, although the theory of left-brain and right-brain dominance has been debunked, hypnosis can alter the way the two brain hemispheres communicate with each other.


Hypnosis was originally called mesmerism, as in the word mesmerize. If you have ever found yourself hypnotized or spellbound by the crackling of a fire, the waves of the ocean, or the ripples of a pond, you have experienced self-hypnosis. You felt deeply relaxed, lost in thought, and temporarily unaware of the rest of the world.


In a way, the term self-hypnosis is redundant since, in fact, all hypnosis is self-induced. Psychiatrist Milton Erickson, widely considered “the father of hypnosis”, considered all hypnosis to be self-hypnosis.

Unlike in the movies, where the villain hypnotizes his subject into doing things he normally would never do, no one can hypnotize you if you don’t want to. A hypnotist or hypnotherapist only facilitates the process. But you are quite capable of achieving the same state on your own.

Most people inadvertently hypnotize themselves several times a day. Most of us have driven a car while under hypnosis! Highway hypnosis happens when you suddenly find yourself further down the road with no memory of those miles in between. It’s not as scary as it sounds because you were basically driving on autopilot and your subconscious is a pretty good driver.

A persistent myth about hypnosis is that you lose control of yourself. That you can be made to do things you don’t want to do. Or that you may be stuck in a trance, unable to come out. You are so focused that you are barely aware of your surroundings. On the other hand, you have in no way lost control of yourself. And you can easily come back to reality at any time.


Hypnosis has been recognized as a valid medical therapy by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the British Medical Associations since the 1950s.

A surprisingly wide variety of healthcare professionals can incorporate hypnotherapy into their practice: psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, physicians, anesthesiologists, nurses, dentists, and chiropractors.

Hypnosis is used to reduce stress, improve emotional well-being, and treat a wide variety of mental and neurological disorders. Over 15,000 studies on the use of hypnosis have been published in the US National Institutes of Health database. The benefits of hypnosis have been established for the following conditions:

  • addictions
  • anxiety disorders
  • cancer
  • childbirth
  • depression
  • dermatological disorders
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • habit control
  • high blood pressure
  • insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • menopause
  • migraine
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pain (acute and chronic)
  • phobias
  • post-surgery
  • smoking cessation
  • sports performance
  • stress relief
  • weightloss


Self-hypnosis is often compared to meditation because both induce a similar mental state in which thought and mental processing decrease while relaxation and concentration increase.

But hypnosis goes further by using this highly suggestible state to actually reprogram the mind. There are self-hypnosis scripts that you can perform from memory or that you can record in your own voice and then follow along.

There are pre-recorded self-hypnosis sessions that you can listen to as audio files or self-hypnosis apps. But no matter what format you use, your success depends on your motivation and your ability to relax and focus on a specific goal.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.

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Self-hypnosis, how to do yourself good without having recourse to a professional?

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