If you’re like most folks, you know that hypnosis can be an effective tool at helping you reach a wide variety of goals.
But how powerful is hypnosis really?
A recent article in The New York Times , published April 2011, sheds some light on the subject.
According to the article, Kirsten Ritchie used hypnosis to heal herself after a MAJOR surgery.
Earlier this year, Kirsten had a plum-sized tumor removed from her brain. As you can guess, it was a pretty invasive surgery.
What surprised her neurosurgeon the most wasn’t the size of the tumor. It was Kirsten’s speedy recovery and the very little amount of medication she needed before and after the surgery.
Instead of waking up groggy and in pain after having the tumor removed, she felt “alert and awesome.” In fact, she even ate a full dinner the same night as the surgery and went home in two days.
How’d she do it?
Prior to the surgery she’d gone to four hypnosis sessions at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine. There she addressed her fear of the surgery.
In addition to that, Kirsten also practiced self-hypnosis daily.
Here’s another story about the power of hypnosis:
“I recently had elective surgery for the first time and was very nervous about it. Once I began to listen to Dr. Ginandes, I felt less anxious in general and I was able to sleep peacefully every night. When the big day came, I took my CDs with me in the waiting room – it was wonderful to be able to feel peaceful and calm during that time!
After the surgery I listened to the final session and healed so quickly that I did not even need to take any pain medication. The CDs were the most wonderful tool to get me through this stressful time – from beginning to end. I would highly recommend them to anyone going through a surgical procedure, whether it is your first time or not.”
- J. Tyler, Image Coach, Co-founder of Fabulous Over Forty
It’s no surprise here that hypnosis helped Kirsten and J. Tyler recover so quickly. After all, hypnosis has been used for more than two centuries.
In certain cases, hypnosis has been used in place of anesthesia for certain surgeries – with amazing success.
It’s why many respected hospitals, such as the Cleveland Clinic, Mount Sinai Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in New York are welcoming it with open arms.
A Harvard Medical School study done in 2000* found that patients who receive hypnosis during surgery required less medication afterwards. But that’s not all – the patients had fewer complications and the procedures went faster than patients who did not receive hypnosis.
The Power of Your Unconscious Mind
If you don’t know already, your unconscious mind is pretty much “at the helm” when it comes to creating your experiences and your reality.
Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Stephen M. Kosslyn puts it best: “Top-down processes override sensory, or bottom-up information. People think that sights, sounds and touch from the outside world constitute reality. But the brain constructs what it perceives based on past experience.”
Simply put, your reality and the way you experience it is created by your brain and the unconscious.
It’s what explains things like the placebo effect.
Dr. Amir Raz, professor of neuroscience at Columbia University, studied the nature of this very phenomenon.
His study used the Stroop effect.
Rather than go through a lengthy explanation, let’s see the Stroop effect in action right now.
You’re going to read a series of two words in just a moment. What I want you to do, is to identify (as quickly as you can) the color that the word is written in.
Here we go:
How’d you do?
If you’re like most people, it probably took you a second or two to identify the correct colors as red and blue.
The reason this is challenging – especially when you have to answer quite a few in a row – is that reading is deeply ingrained in the mind. So it might take a few seconds to identify the word GREEN (colored in red) as the color red.
Here’s how this was used in the study…
Dr. Raz split the subjects into two groups. One group was hypnotized and given the posthypnotic suggestion to see the words on the screen as gibberish. The other group was not under the influence of the posthypnotic suggestion.
The subjects entered a brain scanner, where the Stroop effect test took place. For the group who received the posthypnotic suggestion, the Stroop effect was null and void. They identified the correct colors instantly. The second group took a lot longer to identify the correct colors shown.
Dr. Raz then analyzed the brain scans and found that those under the influence of the posthypnotic suggestion had somehow shutdown the visual area of the brain that is used to identify words and language.
Use your mind to accomplish your goals
If the mind is so powerful to be able to act as an anesthetic during major surgeries… help patients heal faster, with less need for drugs… and able to shut down major areas of the brain at will… then the sky’s the limit when it comes to achieving your goals.
All it takes is giving yourself the right “programming” and overriding the beliefs that are creating limitation.
That said, I’d love to hear about your experiences with hypnosis and the results you got. Have you ever used hypnosis to help an ailment or disease? Any occasions where you used it to achieve your goals faster than you thought possible?
*Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2000 May;18(2):327-38, x. The use of hypnosis in emergency medicine. Peebles-Kleiger MJ, Menninger School of Psychiatry and Mental Health Sciences, Menninger Clinic, Topeka, KS, USA
* Raz, A., Kirsch, I., Pollard, J., & Nitkin-Kaner, Y. (2006). Suggestion reduces the Stroop Effect. Psychological Science, 17(2), 91-95