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Self Hypnosis

Can you tell me about Self Hypnosis?

It has been maintained that all hypnosis is essentially self-hypnosis. It is certainly impossible to be hypnotised by someone else unless you want or allow it to happen. Self-hypnosis is a way of safely bypassing the conscious mind and should only be practised on the advice of a professional therapist. But once you have learned how to hypnotise yourself, practice will enable you to put yourself in a ‘trance’ whenever you wish to, quickly and easily. Psychotic and severely mentally unstable people, however, should never attempt self-hypnosis.

The English term “hypnotism” was introduced in 1841 by the Scottish physician and surgeon James Braid. According to Braid, he first employed “self-hypnotism” (as he elsewhere refers to it) two years after discovering hypnotism, first teaching it to his clients before employing it on himself.

My first experiments on this point [i.e., self-hypnosis] were instituted in the presence of some friends on the 1st May, 1843, and following days. I believe they were the first experiments of the kind which had ever been tried, and they have succeeded in every case in which I have so operated.

In a later work, Observations on Trance or Human Hybernation (1850), Braid provides probably the first account of self-hypnosis by someone employing it upon themselves.

Braid’s Account of Self-Hypnotism
It is commonly said that seeing is believing, but feeling is the very truth. I shall, therefore, give the result of my experience of hypnotism in my own person. In the middle of September, 1844, I suffered from a most severe attack of rheumatism, implicating the left side of the neck and chest, and the left arm. At first the pain was moderately severe, and I took some medicine to remove it; but, instead of this, it became more and more violent, and had tormented me for three days, and was so excruciating, that it entirely deprived me of sleep for three nights successively, and on the last of the three nights I could not remain in any one posture for five minutes, from the severity of the pain. On the forenoon of the next day, whilst visiting my patients, every jolt of the carriage I could only compare to several sharp instruments being thrust through my shoulder, neck, and chest. A full inspiration was attended with stabbing pain, such as is experienced in pleurisy. When I returned home for dinner I could neither turn my head, lift my arm, nor draw a breath, without suffering extreme pain. In this condition I resolved to try the effects of hypnotism. I requested two friends, who were present, and who both understood the system, to watch the effects, and arouse me when I had passed sufficiently into the condition; and, with their assurance that they would give strict attention to their charge, I sat down and hypnotised myself, extending the extremities. At the expiration of nine minutes they aroused me, and, to my agreeable surprise, I was quite free from pain, being able to move in any way with perfect ease. I say agreeably surprised, on this account; I had seen like results with many patients; but it is one thing to hear of pain, and another to feel it. My suffering was so exquisite that I could not imagine anyone else ever suffered so intensely as myself on that occasion; and, therefore, I merely expected a mitigation, so that I was truly agreeably surprised to find myself quite free from pain. I continued quite easy all the afternoon, slept comfortably all night, and the following morning felt a little stiffness, but no pain. A week thereafter I had a slight return, which I removed by hypnotising myself once more; and I have remained quite free from rheumatism ever since, now nearly six years.

Self-hypnosis and stress

Patients who are stressed and/or lack self-esteem can be taught self-hypnotic techniques which can induce relaxation and/or strengthen their self-esteem. Specifically, once the patient is in a self-hypnotic state the therapist can communicate messages to the patient, allowing the relaxation and strengthening process to occur.

When teaching self-hypnosis, a word or phrase should be stated to the patient for them to repeat. This will not work unless the patient deliberately uses the word or phrase to hypnotize themselves.

In addition, since stress prevents well-functioning of the immune system, researchers from Ohio State University came to a conclusion that self hypnosis to prevent stress can also help in protecting the immune system against the negative effects of it. They proved this by showing that students who performed self-hypnosis during stressful exam weeks showed a stronger immune system when compared to those who did not learn the technique of this phenomenon.

 
 
 
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