Hypnotherapy uses the techniques of suggestion and trance-like states to access the deepest levels of an individual’s mind to achieve positive changes in his or her physical and mental health. Furthermore, people have come to accept hypnotherapy’s value since its formal sanction by the American Medical Association in 1958. Hypnosis, a technique used in hypnotherapy, is the most powerful nonpharmacological relaxing agent known to science and can best be described as a state of focused attention that facilitates access to the subconscious mind.

There are two methods used by hypnotherapists to initiate hypnosis: (1) passivity of mind with distraction and (2) active participation with attention. The passivity of mind with distraction approach is to engage in some kind of mental activity to occupy your mind and remove your focus from induction into hypnosis. This allows the subconscious to be more accessible because the distraction will produce sensory fatigue.

Active participation with attention is the opposite. This method encourages you to pay strict attention to what is being verbalized and what is taking place around you, including all feelings and sensory awareness. Hypnosis is a two-person process, and a hypnotherapist can aid you in determining which method will work best for you. It is important to remember that motivation is the most important factor affecting your ability to be hypnotized by a hypnotist or yourself.

Hypnosis will enable you to make productive changes to your inner self by working with your subconscious. The main objective for induction into hypnosis is to quiet the conscious mind and make the unconscious mind more accessible. The reason this is so effective is because the unconscious mind is noncritical, and suggestions have a better chance of being more effectual than they would if given during a waking state.

Even though the changes you have not been able to make in the past but want to make are in your best interest and would greatly improve your quality of life and personal health, they still elude you. Five years ago, Mary Wilson1 suffered a neck injury on the job. Her life became a chronic neck pain nightmare inundated with migraines, depression, and an excessive weight gain of sixty pounds. Mary began to define herself by her pain, which had taken over her life. It became increasingly difficult for Mary to create any positive thoughts for her well-being and personal health as long as these traumatic experiences dominated her subconscious.

The wonderful thing about the subconscious is that while it can work against us, as in Mary Wilson’s case, it can also be used as our most powerful ally to effect positive changes in our lives. The subconscious contains all of your memories from the past, your belief system, and sensory information from all five senses. There are things stored from the most traumatic experiences of our lives and from repetitive negative thoughts we have had about ourselves or been told to us by others. Unfortunately, our subconscious does not have a sense of humor or a sense of time, and therefore everything from the gentle jibes we may get from a coworker about having love handles to teasing from a classmate about not being cool enough are stored there as serious, real, and current realities. These negative imprints, also called blocks or obstacles, get in the way of our more positive thoughts and ideas, which can produce physical symptoms.

Mary Wilson embraced hypnotherapy to help her overcome her chronic neck pain and migraines. Through the process of hypnotherapy, Mary was able to remove the negative imprints that had impacted her daily life. Moreover, hypnotherapy enabled her to reclaim her self-confidence and inner strength, allowing her to become the adventurous, spontaneous, loving, and passionate person that she was before her injury.

Whatever path you are considering taking to improve your health, it is highly likely that you have made the same agreement with yourself in the past, and after a few months, you are faced with old behaviors and unhealthy symptoms once again. In fact, it seems like the more we want something and the harder we try to obtain it, the worse our problem becomes. Why exactly does it work this way? Why is it so hard for us to keep our promises to ourselves?

The reason is surprisingly simple. While you are obviously aware of and can control your conscious thoughts (for example, “I will exercise more,” “I will give up chocolate”), your unconscious thoughts are not within your awareness or control and may be telling you the exact opposite (“You cannot succeed,” “You are ill”). The unconscious or subconscious thoughts win this battle most of the time because they are more powerful, making up as much as 95 percent of our mental potential. You are what your conscious mind tells your subconscious. Subconsciously, you are still accepting and living by negative thoughts and ideas that you have had for a long time. It is these negative ideas or thoughts at the subconscious level that keep you doing the very things that you consciously no longer want to do.

Research has demonstrated that a person’s body chemistry actually changes during a hypnotic state. For instance, a lowering of blood pressure and stress reduction are common. However, not only does hypnotherapy provide these therapeutic benefits, it has been shown to serve as an effective adjunct therapy for medical procedures such as chemotherapy and orthopedics.

Some medical conditions may appear to be beyond one’s ability to control and are frequently the most distressing aspects of being ill. Learning how to relax will give you a sense of confidence in your ability to focus your mind and influence your body. Additionally, conditions caused or aggravated by stress often respond to relaxation techniques used in hypnotherapy. Remember that relaxation is a learned skill, and you can practice techniques through self-hypnosis at home.

Self-hypnosis is a one-person process where you take on a dual role. You can become your own hypnotist. This is not difficult to accomplish because the mind is used to doing two things at once. With self-hypnosis, you are multitasking as you do in your daily life while in a waking state. For example, when you go shopping and are looking for a parking place at the mall, you are able to find a parking place while your mind is also thinking about what you are going to purchase at the store.

There are few ways to give yourself suggestions to induce a self-hypnosis state of mind. Record suggestions on a cassette tape and relax quietly with your hands in your lap as you play the tape back. Memorize suggestions and repeat them back to yourself after hypnosis has been induced, or you can write the suggestions out and read them a number of times prior to inducing the hypnotic state in yourself. This produces an autosuggestion sequence that you can visualize floating across the screen in your mind.

All ethical hypnotherapists should teach self-hypnosis. This discourages dependency on the clinician and encourages empowerment on your part. In addition, a trained hypnotherapist should never require recreational drugs, especially hallucinogenic agents, under any circumstances. The purpose of hypnotherapy is to bring one’s energy into balance and raise its quality. No drug can do that for you.

So before you decide to make better choices in your life, consider making this one first: explore the idea that the key to good health lies within your own mind. Understanding this and deciding how to use it to your highest potential is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Reclaim your desire for good health and a great life.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health”, visit http://selfgrowth.com/healthbook3.html

Author's Bio: 

Shayn Cutino, a holistic health practitioner and certified clinical hypnotherapist, is the owner of Anja Alternative Health Center in Brentwood, California. Shayn has been in the medical field for over twenty-five years, and through hypnotherapy, she empowers and inspires individuals to achieve improved personal health and become the best they can be on a daily basis. More information can be obtained by visiting her Web site: http://www.anjahealthcenter.com.