The hype about hypnosis

Published on August 25th, 2011
You are getting sleepy. You are getting very very sleepy...

Hypnotists have been known to make people bark like dogs, think they’re someone else, and do plenty of other crazy things. What’s up with that?

According to, during the 1770s and 1780s, Franz Mesmer, a German doctor famous for “mesmerising” his patients, was booted out of town after town as a fake. People thought that his technique for putting his subjects in a trance-like state, using only the power of suggestion, was a trick.

But it turns out that Mesmer was justified. Extensive studies have shown that hypnosis isn’t actually a trick, and hypnotists are now accepted by most in the psychology community.

Hypnosis take two forms: first, “stage hypnosis,” when hypnotists wow you by putting volunteers into trances and then making them perform ridiculous acts such as clucking like chickens or pretending to be robots, and, second, for a treatment called hypnotherapy.

Dr Mark Jensen, a psychologist at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine, prescribes hypnosis for chronic pain treatment. He says that all pain is processed in the head. You are way more open to suggestion when you’re in a hypnotic state, so if you’re told not to feel the pain, you most likely won’t.

Would you ever allow yourself to be hypnotised?

Pic credit: S0ul_food

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