Getting yourself into a trance-like state doesn't have to involve repetitive beats and recreational drugs. Many people learn to tune out on their own terms as a form of complementary therapy. Here's what you need to know.
What is it?
Self-hypnosis is a method of relaxing the mind in order to create a higher state of concentration. People who practice this claim it enables them to become more willing to accept instruction, which can be used to improve their lives in lots of different ways
How does it work?
- Find somewhere quiet and calm where you won't be disturbed. You can sit or lie down, then close your eyes and attempt to clear your mind
- It can help to imagine the tension in your body leaving from the toes upwards. Take slow, deep breaths as you do so, and allow your entire body to relax in this way
- At the same time, imagine a cool liquid or mist replacing the tension you've released;
- Learn to recognise when you feel relaxed, and enjoy the feeling for a while
- Next count down from 10, and visualise each number as you go. Count slowly, and aim to feel yourself drifting into your subconscious mind
- In this state, you can now begin talking to yourself about the issue under the spotlight. For example, if you're hoping to pack in a smoking habit, make simple, constructive statements about your intentions, such as "I will give up cigarettes," or "I am strong enough to quit."
- Repeat your statements several times, and then prepare to surface from your subconscious. How? By counting up from one to 10, picturing each number as you say it, and then give yourself a moment before opening your eyes
- In theory, you have now begun to retrain your brain to tackle the issue at hand
- Some people find repeating the procedure a couple of times over the period of a few days can improve effectiveness.
What are the benefits?
Self-hypnosis can be used as a complementary therapy to deal with all kind of different issues - from stopping smoking to managing pain, tackling weight or dealing with phobias and addictions, stress and anxiety.
Where's the proof?
Plenty of studies have been carried out, but much depends on the nature of the research. Empirical studies, based on experience and testimonials, claim there is a definitive link between hypnosis and issues such as the management of pain. Scientific studies demand hard evidence, and here the search continues. Either way, many people claim it works for them.
People sometimes try out self-hypnosis for the simple reason that it costs nothing, others 'learn' the techniques with a specialist before using them alone. For further advice, or if you'd prefer to seek the services of a trained hypnotherapist, check out the website for the UK Confederation of Hypnotherapy Organisations which lists a number of independent private hypnotherapy associations.
If you're considering a complementary treatment or therapy for any medical condition, always consult your doctor (GP) first. This is to make sure it doesn't conflict with any existing course of treatment you may be taking, and also to check it won't have a negative impact on your health.
Read the comment policy
Use our free question and answer service and speak to an expert!