Phantom Limbs, Imaginary Colors And Perfect Brains: Why Science Now Says Hypnosis Is “Real”
by Tellman H. Knudson, CHT
Yes, it works…but is hypnosis “real?”
This is the question that has plagued hypnotists for years, even those who have permanently rid their clients of crippling phobias, helped patients go through heart surgery without anesthesia, and seen other clients overcome years of self-doubt to finally succeed, whether spiritually or financially.
BUT…is it real? Or it all just “in our heads?”
Recently, three separate studies have shown that hypnosis is, indeed, “in our heads”…as shown on MRI’s and brain scans, that is!
Read on to find out how hypnosis is finally being recognized as scientifically verifiable…and 6 surprising new ways that you can use hypnosis in your daily life to achieve YOUR goals.
Study # 1: The Reverse Phantom Limb
In a weird reversal of the well known “phantom limb” phenomenon (where people who have had limbs amputated reported being able to still “feel” their fingers or toes) a new study published by Science News seems to prove that hypnosis IS real after MRI’s showed participants to have visibly rerouted brain signals when they were hypnotized to think they had lost the use of one of their limbs.
The study used 3 groups of subjects to determine if hypnosis would actually show up on the brain scans:
– The first group was told, under hypnosis, that their left hand was paralyzed.
– The second group was not hypnotized, but were told to “pretend” that their left hand was paralyzed.
– The third group was not hypnotized, nor were they told to pretend anything (the control group).
Here’s what happened:
However…when told to move their left, or “paralyzed” hand, the scans of all 3 groups showed the motor cortex lighting up in preparation to move the left hand, but then….
The motor cortex of the hypnotized subjects showed their brains “rerouting” signals to the precuneus, an area involved in mental imagery and memory about oneself!
And that’s just the beginning. Get ready to hallucinate…without drugs.
Study #2: The Color That Wasn’t
In a study reported by eScienceNews, researchers from Finland discovered that people could be hypnotized with just a one-word cue, to say they saw a different color than the one right before their eyes.
Under hypnosis, the participants were given a suggestion such as, “squares are always red.” Then they were shown colored shapes on a screen in quick succession.
Amazingly, when a blue square appeared on the screen, they experienced the color as being red (they said it was red, as well as showing correlating brain activity). This showed that “the effect [of the hypnosis] was strong enough to override the real color of the square.”
But that’s not all.
For years, hypnotists have known that some people seem to be easy to hypnotize…while others are “resistant.” What they didn’t know was why. Here’s a clue:
Study #3: The “Perfect Brain”
In this study (pub. in the Archives Of General Psychiatry), brain scans finally solved the mystery, by revealing a visible difference between participants who were easily hypnotizable…and those who weren’t.
The researchers compared activity between 3 functional brain networks:
The Default-Mode Network (your brain uses this when idle); the Executive-Control network (your brain uses this to make decisions); and the Salience Network (which you use to decide if one thing is more important than the next).
What they found was that the “co-activation” activity between the Executive-Control network and the Salience-Network was greater in those people who were highly hypnotizable…as opposed to those with less activity, who were harder (or impossible) to hypnotize.
So those with greater activity between those areas, essentially had “the perfect brain” for using hypnosis. (According to the study, 75% had “perfect brains” for hypnosis, while about 25% did not. Wonder what category you would fall into? Read on!)…
Ok, so science is finally catching on.
What does this mean for the layperson?
As a certified hypnotherapist, that’s what I concern myself with on a daily basis. You see, hypnotists have known that hypnosis works to change behavior since the 1800’s. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s cool that science is finally finding some ways to ‘verify’ it’s effects – but my clients are all the proof I need that it’s “real.”
The usual things that pop into mind are smoking cessation, weight-loss, and stress relief.
What you may not know is that’s only because those three things have been advertised most heavily since the 1980’s. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Today, hypnosis is being used in some surprising areas of self-actualization, including:
– Developing metaphysical abilities such as astral projection
– Achieving success in the entrepreneurial world
– Creating and maintaining spiritual habits such as meditation
– Peak performance for serious athletes
– Breaking through “money blocks” and hitting financial goals
In fact, wealth hypnosis is actually one of the fastest growing applications for hypnosis today. And, as a long distance runner in college, I used some amazing techniques combining astral projection and self-hypnosis to improve my athletic performance.
And then there’s the REAL cutting edge.
Ever heard of Bio-Hacking, Mind-Hacking, and other “modern” ways of “hacking” into your brain to short-cut your way to higher and higher levels of performance (Tim Ferris is a famous example)? Today’s ubiquitous hacking movements actually have their roots in hypnosis, the original “accelerated learning” mind-hack. But let’s bring this back to you, and the here and now…
Wondering what you can use hypnosis for in your life…and whether you have one of those “perfect brains” or not?
There’s an easy way to find out. Try a free hypnosis session…online. Hypnosis is more easy to access than ever today, thanks to the internet, which has removed a lot of barriers that once held people back from trying it out for themselves.
It used to be that you had to scour the yellow pages for a hypnotist, then go in and hope it worked for you (if you even had access to a local clinic and could afford the fee). Not anymore. Today, hypnosis is increasingly accessible online from the comfort of home, with audios, videos and even live personalized skype sessions rapidly becoming the “norm.”
How does online hypnosis work as opposed to “live” hypnosis in a clinic?
Interestingly, it actually seems to work as well if not better than traditional settings. In fact, what I’ve seen is that even people who might be hesitant to go to a clinic, have been trying hypnosis online. It’s so easy to just sit down and watch a video on your own schedule, in your own setting. I think online hypnosis removes some of the barriers that have been there for people in the past.
Good news for future bio-hackers…and just those of us that want to get a good night’s sleep.
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