Western scientists first became involved in hypnosis around 1770, when Franz Mesmer (1734–1815), a physician from Austria, started investigating an effect he called "animal magnetism" or "mesmerism" (the latter name still remaining popular today).
We have two parts of our mind: the conscious and the subconscious.
Hypnosis involves a slight altering of our state of consciousness so that the analytical left-hand side of the brain is resting whilst the right-hand side, the subconscious, is more alert.
Our subconscious is deeper seated and more instinctive. Activities such as walking, talking and emotional reactions are all dependent on our unconscious involvement.
What does it feel like to be hypnotized?
A hypnotic trance provides a sense of profound physical and mental relaxation, internal chatter is quieted, and you feel peaceful and calm. It's similar to those few moments of being "not quite awake" just before you fall asleep. When you come up from a hypnotic trance, you feel wonderfully refreshed, revitalised and full of energy.
Can anybody be hypnotised?
Yes, every person can be hypnotised to some degree; as long as they have normal cognitive function, hypnosis is possible. But the depth of the hypnotic state varies from person to person.
Can I get stuck in a state of hypnosis?
No, it is impossible to get stuck in hypnosis. The reason for this is because hypnosis is a perfectly natural state that we experience every day - you pass through this same state when you go to sleep and awaken!
Will you be able to control my mind?
No, despite popular belief, hypnosis is not mind control. In fact, you have the same morals, values and beliefs in your hypnotic state as you do in your awakened state. For instance, if a hypnotist was to ask someone to rob a bank whilst hypnotised, the person would reject the suggestion (unless, of course, they were a bank robber).
People will do awesome and funny things on stage and this is because they volunteer with the understanding that they will be participating in some way. Once they've been hypnotised, their inhibitions relax and they feel confident in the suggestion given to them and that they will keep all their morals and ethical beliefs intact!
Will I remember my hypnotic experience?
Statistically, around 70% of people remember their hypnotic experience and around 30% don't recall or completely forget everything. An example would be when you wake up and try to remember a dream you had but can't recollect what the dream was about...
The best way to understand hypnosis is to experience it for yourself and discover how amazing it truly is!