From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

At the time that I did the most edits of Wikipedia, I was interested in comic books, Balkan history, record albums from other countries, hypnosis, anatomy, oil pipelines, corn subsidies, geography, nonviolence (especially Orange Revolutions and the like), language learning, vegetarian phở, and the unexpected.


Things I once wanted to work on:[edit]

  • cleaning up the biofeedback pages

My favorite thing I ever did on Wikipedia[edit]

was arrive at this edit of the "hypnosis" page, back in 2008. It lasted about three weeks :)

Hypnosis is a wakeful state of focused attention[1] and heightened suggestibility,[2] with diminished peripheral awareness.[3]

Asklepios, Greek god of medicine, healing, and hypnosis[4], was said to oversee the treatment of sick people in "dream healing temples[5]."

According to the American Psychological Association's Division 30, hypnosis may bring about "...changes in subjective experience, alterations in perception, sensation, emotion, thought or behavior."[6] The hypnotic state may also facilitate change in the body: it has been successfully used as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome,[7] as an alternative to chemical anaesthesia,[8][9][10] and it has been studied as a way to soothe skin ailments.[11]

Skeptics point out the difficulty distinguishing between hypnosis and the placebo effect, proposing that the state called hypnosis is

"so heavily reliant upon the effects of suggestion and belief that it would be hard to imagine how a credible placebo control could ever be devised for a hypnotism study.[12]"

Self-hypnosis is popularly used by people who want to quit smoking[13] and reduce stress,[14] while stage hypnosis can be used to persuade people to perform unusual public feats.[15]

Uses of hypnosis[edit]

Hypnosis has been studied in many clinical situations with varying degrees of success.[16] It has been used as a painkiller,[17] an adjunct to weight loss,[18] a treatment of skin disease,[19] and a way to soothe anxious surgical patients. It has also been used as part of psychological therapy,[20] a method of habit control,[21] a way to relax,[22] and a tool to enhance sports performance.[23]

Physical applications[edit]

"Hypno-birthing" is one popular application of hypnosis.[24]

A large number of clinical studies show that hypnosis can reduce the pain experienced by people undergoing burn-wound debridement, bone marrow aspirations, and childbirth. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis found that hypnosis relieved the pain of 75% of 933 subjects participating in 27 different experiments.[25]

In 1996, the National Institutes of Health declared hypnosis effective in reducing pain from cancer and other chronic conditions.[25] Nausea and other symptoms related to incurable diseases may also be controlled with hypnosis.[26][27][28][29] For example, research done at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine studied two groups of patients facing surgery for breast cancer. The group that received hypnosis reported less pain, nausea, and anxiety post-surgery. There was a cost benefit as well: the average hypnosis patient reduced the cost of treatment by an average of $772.00.[30]

Hypnodermatology is the practice of treating skin diseases with hypnosis: this therapy has performed well in studies treating warts, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis.[31]

Hypnosis may be useful as an adjunct therapy for weight loss. A 1996 meta-analysis studying the effectiveness of hypnosis combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy found that people using both treatments lost more weight than people using CBT alone.[32]

Psychotherapeutic applications[edit]

Self-hypnosis (sometimes called autosuggestion) happens when a person hypnotizes himself or herself. The technique is often used to increase motivation for a diet, quit smoking, or reduce stress. People who practice self-hypnosis sometimes require assistance to enter trance; some people use devices known as mind machines to assist in the process, while others use hypnotic recordings.

Self-hypnosis is said to be a skill one can improve as time goes by, and can help reduce stage fright, promote relaxation, and enhance physical well-being.[33]

Professor Charcot (left) of Paris' Salpêtrière demonstrates hypnosis on a "hysterical" patient, "Blanche" (Marie) Wittman, who is supported by Dr. Joseph Babiński.

Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis in psychotherapy.[34] It is used by licensed physicians, psychologists, and in stand-alone environments. Physicians and psychiatrists may use hypnosis to help treat depression, anxiety, eating disorders, sleep disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder.[35]

Certified hypnotherapists who are not physicians or psychologists often do treatments for smoking cessation and weight loss. (Success rates vary: a meta-study researching hypnosis as a quit-smoking tool found it had a 20 to 30 percent success rate, similar to many other quit-smoking methods,[36] while a 2007 study of patients hospitalized for cardiac and pulmonary ailments found that smokers who used hypnosis to quit smoking doubled their chances of success.[37])

In a July 2001 article for Scientific American titled "The Truth and the Hype of Hypnosis", Michael Nash wrote that "...using hypnosis, scientists have temporarily created hallucinations, compulsions, certain types of memory loss, false memories, and delusions in the laboratory so that these phenomena can be studied in a controlled environment."[25]

Controversy surrounds the use of hypnotherapy to retrieve repressed or past-life memories. The American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have cautioned against the use of repressed memory therapy in cases of alleged childhood trauma, stating that "it is impossible, without other corroborative evidence, to distinguish a true memory from a false one."[38] Past life regression, meanwhile, is often viewed with skepticism.[39]

Other uses[edit]

An Altay shaman beating a gong. Music was one way that Siberian shamans entered trance.[40]

Stage hypnotists use trance to entertain crowds. Due to stage hypnotists' showmanship, many people believe hypnosis is a sort of mind control. However, the real power of stage hypnosis comes from people granting hypnotists the ability to take over their critical thinking.[41] The desire to be the center of attention, having an excuse to violate their own inner fear suppressors and the pressure to please are thought to convince subjects to 'play along'.[42][page needed]

Influencing crowds through common longings and yearnings by a demagogue is called "mass hypnosis." "Religious trance" can be brought about through music and dance.[43][page needed]

Post-hypnotic suggestion can be used to change people's behavior outside of the trance state. One author wrote that "a person can act, some time later, on a suggestion seeded during the hypnotic session...A hypnotherapist told one of his patients, who was also a friend: 'When I touch you on the finger you will immediately be hypnotized.' Fourteen years later, at a dinner party, he touched him deliberately on the finger and his head fell back against the chair."[44]

Hypnotism has also been used in forensics, sports, education, physical therapy and rehabilitation.[45]

How hypnosis works[edit]

Twentieth-century psychological theories[edit]

The psychologist and physiologist Ivan Pavlov, who hypothesized that hypnosis was a form of "partial sleep."

In the twentieth century, psychologists who believed in hypnosis put forth theories about it ranging from the idea that it is "partial sleep" to the idea that it is "hyper-suggestibility." Other psychologists, skeptical of hypnosis, hypothesized that the phenomenon doesn't really exist -- that so-called "hypnotic" effects are caused by placebo, roleplaying, or social compliance.

The "hypnosis believers" included Pierre Janet, who proposed that hypnosis is a form of dissociation[46]; Ivan Pavlov, who thought that hypnosis was a "partial sleep" dominated by lower-brain-stem mechanisms;[47]; William Kroger, who hypothesized that hypnosis is a type of hyper-suggestibility brought about by focused attention ("in terms of neural science concepts...transmitting a message in a minimal noise environment")[48]; and J.D. Morgan, who put forth the idea that hypnosis is a process of enhancing or depressing the activity of the nervous system, possibly involving feedback loops.[49]

Skeptics included psychologists Robert A. Baker and Graham Wagstaff, who claimed that the state called hypnosis is not an altered state of consciousness[50], but rather a form of imaginative social behavior.[51][52] (See also Hawthorne effect, Pygmalion effect, and placebo effect.) Another skeptic was the psychologist Nicholas Spanos, who believed hypnotic effects originated from the subject's desires to please the hypnotist "by having the experiences suggested to him - or seeming to have them."[53]

Brain imaging[edit]

PET scan of a healthy brain.

In the last decade, brain scanning technology has made it possible to observe hypnosis' effects in the brain. PET scans, fMRI scans, and EEG coherence measures have shown that hypnotic hallucinations can elicit the same brain activity as real experiences.

Stated another way, the brain-scan of a "highly hypnotizable" person is the same whether they are seeing color or being told, under hypnosis, that grayscale drawings are colored.[54]

Similarly, PET scans of highly hypnotizable people showed that subjects' anterior cingulate cortexes were just as active when subjects experienced audio hallucinations as when subjects heard real sounds. Scientific American noted that " contrast, that brain area was not active while the subjects were imagining that they heard the stimulus."[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Information for the Public. American Society of Clinical Hypnosis."[1]
  2. ^ Lyda, Alex. "Hypnosis Gaining Ground in Medicine." Columbia News. [2]
  3. ^ p. 22, Spiegel, Herbert and Spiegel, David. Trance and Treatment. Basic Books Inc., New York. 1978. ISBN 0-465-08687-X
  4. ^ Hellenic Ministry of Culture. Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus. [3]
  5. ^ "Heawood, Jonathan. "Daydream Believer." The Guardian. [4]
  6. ^ "New Definition: Hypnosis" Society of Psychological Hypnosis Division 30 - American Psychological Association [5].
  7. ^ Ryan, Caroline. "Imagine your gut as a river..." BBC News Online, 4 January 2004 [6]
  8. ^ "Physician Studies Hypnosis As Sedation Alternative," University of Iowa News Service, 6 February 2003 [7]
  9. ^ "Pain Decreases Under Hypnosis," [8]
  10. ^ "Hypnosis in Surgery," [9]
  11. ^ "Hypnosis: Another way to manage pain, kick bad habits." Mayo Clinic. [10]
  12. ^ Bausell, R Barker, quoted in The Skeptic's Dictionary [11]
  13. ^ [12]
  14. ^ [13]
  15. ^ "History of the Stage Hypnotist and Stage Hypnosis Shows." [14]
  16. ^ "Clinical Research." [15]
  17. ^ "Hypnosis for Pain." [16]
  18. ^ Kirsch, Irving. "Hypnotic Enhancement of Cognitive-Behavioral Weight Loss Treatments--Another Meta-reanalysis." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, v64 n3 p517-19 Jun 1996 [17]
  19. ^ Shenefelt, Philip D. "Applying Hypnosis in Dermatology." 6 January 2004 [18]
  20. ^ Barrett, Dierdre. "The Power of Hypnosis." Psychology Today. Jan/Feb 2001. [19]
  21. ^ "Hypnosis. Another Way to Manage Pain, Kick Bad Habits." [20]
  22. ^ Vickers, Andrew and Zollman, Catherine. "Clinical review. ABC of complementary medicine. Hypnosis and relaxation therapies." (BMJ) British Medical Journal 1999;319:1346-1349 ( 20 November ) [21]
  23. ^ "Hypnosis and Sport Performance." [22]
  24. ^ "Discovery Health: All About Hypnobirthing," [23]
  25. ^ a b c d Nash, Michael R. "The Truth and the Hype of Hypnosis". Scientific American: July 2001
  26. ^ Spiegel, D. and Moore, R. (1997) "Imagery and hypnosis in the treatment of cancer patients" Oncology 11(8): pp. 1179-1195
  27. ^ Garrow, D. and Egede, L. E. (November 2006) "National patterns and correlates of complementary and alternative medicine use in adults with diabetes" Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 12(9): pp. 895-902
  28. ^ Mascot, C. (2004) "Hypnotherapy: A complementary therapy with broad applications" Diabetes Self Management 21(5): pp.15-18
  29. ^ Kwekkeboom, K.L. and Gretarsdottir, E. (2006) "Systematic review of relaxation interventions for pain" Journal of Nursing Scholarship 38(3): pp.269-277
  30. ^ Montgomery, Guy. "Reducing Pain After Surgery Via Hypnosis". Your Cancer Today. 
  31. ^ Shenefelt, Philip D. "Hypnosis: Applications in Dermatology and Dermatological Surgery." [24]
  32. ^ Kirsch, Irving. "Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments : Another meta-reanalysis." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. [25]
  33. ^ "Self-hypnosis as a skill for busy research workers." London's Global University Human Resources. [26].
  34. ^ "Hypnosis." Wordnet search. [27]
  35. ^ "Cognitive Hypnotherapy: An Integrated Approach to the Treatment of Emotional Disorders." [28]
  36. ^ O'Connor, Anahad. "The Claim: Hypnosis Can Help You Quit Smoking." [29]
  37. ^ "Hypnotherapy for Smoking Cessation Sees Strong Results." ScienceDaily. [30]
  38. ^ "Questions and Answers about Memories of Childhood Abuse". American Psychological Association. Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  39. ^ Astin, J.A. et al. (2003) "Mind-body medicine: state of the science, implications for practice" Journal of the American Board of Family Practitioners 16(2): pp.131-147
  40. ^ Gulliford, Tristan. "Music and Trance in Siberian Shamanism." [31]
  41. ^ Yapko, Michael (1990). Trancework: An introduction to the practice of Clinical Hypnosis. NY, New York: Brunner/Mazel. p. 28. 
  42. ^ Wagstaff, Graham F. (1981) Hypnosis, Compliance and Belief St. Martin's Press, New York, ISBN 0312401574
  43. ^ Wier, Dennis R (1996). Trance: from magic to technology. Ann Arbor, Michigan: TransMedia. ISBN 1888428384. 
  44. ^ Waterfield, R. (2003). Hidden Depths: The Story of Hypnosis. pp. 36-37
  45. ^ André M. Weitzenbhoffer. The Practice of Hypnotism 2nd ed, Toronto, John Wiley & Son Inc, Chapter 16, p. 583-587, 2000 ISBN 0-471-29790-9
  46. ^ Haule, John Ryan. "Pierre Janet And Dissociation: The First Transference Theory and Its Origins In Hypnosis." Originally published n the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 29(2) (October, 1986): pp. 86-94 [32]
  47. ^ "Hypnosis Theory." School of Professional Hypnosis. [33]
  48. ^ Kroger, quoted on p. 112 of Trancework: An Introduction to the Practice of Clinical Hypnosis, Michael D. Yapko, Routledge, 2003 ISBN 041593589X -- this passage is accessible via Google Books
  49. ^ "electronic copy of The Principles of Hypnotherapy". Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  50. ^ Prendergrast, Mark. "Hypnosis: Memory Prod or Production?" [34]
  51. ^ "They Call It Hypnosis -- Robert A. Baker." [35]
  52. ^ "Professor Graham Wagstaff." [36]
  53. ^ Goleman, Daniel. "Hypnosis Still Provokes Some Skeptics." March 31, 1987. [37]
  54. ^ Abrams, Michael. "Hypnosis Works." Discover Magazine. November 2004. [38]

External links[edit]