Hypnosis Facts

What is hypnosis?

It's a state of deep relaxation and/or focused attention, where your mind is more receptive to making subtle changes in feelings and behaviors.

Have you ever been deep in thought while driving and all of a sudden your exit is right there? Been so focused on a movie or book that you didn’t hear someone calling you? Have you ever daydreamed? That’s what being hypnotized is like.

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is the use of the hypnotic state to solve problems. Hypnotherapy enables you to change habits, reduce stress and achieve your goals — much more easily than you can in a state of normal awareness. It’s been used for thousands of years to help people with a wide variety of mental and physical challenges.

What's a good place to learn about hypnosis?

Andrew Huberman is a neuroscientist at Stanford University. In this interview, he talks with Stanford Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences David Spiegel. Together they:

• give a great overview of how hypnosis works

• banish myths

• review the research on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for anxiety, pain and performance

Myths & Realities

If you think......the reality is:
I’ll give up my free will.When you’re hypnotized, you don’t lose your personality, your free will or your personal strength. Hypnosis is a heightened state of concentration and focused attention.
A hypnotist can control my mindA hypnotist only serves as a knowledgeable guide or facilitator. You’re perfectly capable of saying no and you can end the session any time you like.
I can’t be hypnotized.Generally speaking, there are two types of people who can’t be hypnotized: those who are scared and those who don’t want to be hypnotized. Almost anyone else can easily enter into a state of deep hypnosis with a skilled hypnotist.
It’s dangerous.It’s generally no more distressing than daydreaming. If you read the medical literature, you’ll see hypnosis is no more dangerous than taking aspirin. Clients don’t say anything they don’t want to say and don’t do anything they don’t want to do in a state of hypnosis. You will fully adhere to your usual moral standards. You’re in control…
Hypnosis is like sleep.It’s not. Hypnotized subjects are usually both relaxed and fully aware and awake.
It doesn’t work.Experts agree that it’s a powerful way to make rapid, positive changes for yourself. Read more in the Experts and Media section below.
I won’t remember the session.While it’s possible in some situations for a hypnotized subject to create amnesia for themselves, it’s rare. My clients remember everything that occurs in their hypnosis sessions.
I might give up my secrets.Clients don't say anything they don't want to say and don't do anything they don't want to do.
I won’t wake up.You can emerge from hypnosis any time you want (you really don’t ‘wake-up’ since you’re not asleep when you’re hypnotized).

Types of Hypnosis used at Boston Hypnosis

Experts and the Media Say…

"Research has shown the efficacy of hypnosis in treating conditions such as pain, anxiety, depression, headaches irritable bowel syndrome, eating disorders, OCD, phobias, shortness of breath and substance use disorder”
– Psychology Today, 2/24

“What Can Hypnosis Do for Your Health? This 200-year-old treatment can be effective for a variety of conditions, but it does take work.”
– New York Times, 2/23

“Major hospitals are finding hypnotherapy can help sufferers of digestive conditions like heartburn, colitis, acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome.”
– Wall Street Journal, 5/18

“As a neuroscientist, I consider the effects of hypnosis to be amazing.”
– Huffington Post, 2/16

“Hypnosis…can help you address the unconscious reasons for keeping weight on, and help you more easily shed those extra pounds.”
– Psychology Today, 12/14

“It’s hard to find a field that hasn’t used hypnosis successfully, everything from quitting smoking to IBS.”
– Good Morning America, 9/10

“Hypnosis can play a very real role in protecting and promoting health. Two meta-analyses of existing pain and hypnosis research…deemed hypnosis effective at lowering pain associated with a number of conditions…”
– Huffington Post, 7/14

“Hypnosis has been used in the treatment of pain; depression; anxiety and phobias…”
– American Psychological Association web site, 2/15

“When you’re under hypnosis, your attention is highly focused, and you’re more responsive to suggestions, including behavior changes that can help you lose weight.”
– The Mayo Clinic, 11/12

“Indeed, scientific evidence is mounting that hypnosis can be effective in a variety of medical situations, from easing migraine headaches to lowering blood pressure, controlling asthma attacks, minimizing hot flashes and diminishing side effects from chemotherapy.”
– Wall Street Journal, 4/12

“The British Psychological Society has now officially declared hypnosis a proven therapeutic medium to curb stress, anxiety, pain, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, and migraines.”
– Fox News, 2/14

“In [hypnosis], you can attain significant psycho-physiologic changes.”
Dr. Daniel Handel, National Institute of Health
– New York Times, 6/02

“…hypnosis has been a very successful technique to help heal the mind, body and spiritual aspects of life…there is no ‘down-side’”
– Psychology Today, 10/10

“Hypnosis has gained credibility in the past five years because of research using the latest brain-imaging technology…. Studies show hypnosis can help treat a multitude of disorders…”
– Business Week, 2/04

“Hypnosis can help. A growing body of research supports the ancient practice as an effective tool in the treatment of a variety of problems, from anxiety to chronic pain.”
– Newsweek, 9/04

“Though often denigrated as fakery or wishful thinking, hypnosis has been shown to be a real phenomenon with a variety of therapeutic uses…”
– Scientific American 7/01

“Studies show that people who combine diet and exercise with hypnosis lose more weight than they do with diet and exercise alone.”
– Allure, 1/10

“…hypnosis is not mind control. It’s a naturally occurring state of concentration; It’s actually a means of enhancing your control over both your mind and your body.”
Dr. David Spiegel, Assoc. Chair of Psychiatry
Stanford University School of Medicine
-Jane Pauley Show 9/04

“Hypnosis can actually help you lose weight.”
Harvard Medical School psychotherapist Jean Fain
– Oprah Magazine, 8/04

“Hypnosis can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviors or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain. It’s important to know that although you’re more open to suggestion during hypnosis, you don’t lose control over your behavior.”
The Mayo Clinic, 11/12

“[Hypnosis] has been used to counter the nausea of pregnancy and chemotherapy; dental and test-taking anxiety; pain associated with surgery, root canal treatment and childbirth; fear of flying and public speaking; compulsive hair-pulling; and intractable hiccups, among many other troublesome health problems.”
– The New York Times, 11/08

“Hypnosis: A safe and potent pain reliever”
– Consumer Reports, 1/05

“The purpose of hypnosis as a therapeutic technique is to help you understand and gain more control over your behavior, emotions or physical well-being.”
– The Mayo Clinic 12/03

“It’s a tool that can help you change your eating behavior so that certain patterns become easier to undo or resist. Hypnosis isn’t an automatic route to weight loss, but it can make it easier to undo bad eating patterns.”
– Shape Magazine, 7/05

“Hypnosis is the most effective way of giving up smoking, according to the largest ever scientific comparison of ways of breaking the habit.”
– New Scientist, 10/92

“On hypnosis…His total loss, 35 pounds.”
Losing It! The Ultimate Diet Challenge
– Dateline NBC 1/04

“… hypnosis often is used to modify behavior and overcome phobias and bad habits — it can help you make changes that you’ve been unable to make otherwise.”
– National Women’s Health Resource Center 11/03

“With weight loss the evidence is conclusive…hypnosis does help people reduce.”
– Smithsonian Magazine, 3/99

“I should have done it years ago…It’s amazing I didn’t even want cigarettes any more.”
Matt Damon describing his hypnosis experience to Jay Leno,
-The Tonight Show, 12/04

“…throughout the medical mainstream, it’s common to be used for addiction…and psychotherapy.”
– Diane Sawyer,
Good Morning America, 6/02

“[Hypnosis] can also be applied to improving study habits, stress reduction and raising self-esteem…If you are having difficulty controlling your appetite, sleeping or just need to relax, hypnosis might help you toward your goal.”
– Forbes, 11/05

“…today it’s considered a respected therapeutic tool, a well-established method of reaching the subconscious mind. Many patients have tried it and successfully cut back on smoking or overeating…”
Connie Chung,
– Eye-to-Eye, 12/94

“Hypnosis seems helpful in treating addictions, and the depression and anxiety associated with them…”
– Psychology Today, 9/96

“Want to lose weight? Kick a bad habit? Well you might want to try hypnosis! … no longer regarded as mere hocus-pocus, it’s been shown as an effective means of helping people quit smoking, shed pounds, reduce stress, and end phobias.”
– Jane Pauley Show, 9/04

“Approved as a valid treatment by the American Medical Association in 1958, hypnotism has become increasingly accepted by the medical community. Its use for chronic pain was approved in 1996 by the National Institutes of Health.”
– The Capital (Annapolis, MD), 4/04

“There’s entrancing news about hypnosis; it’s gaining credibility as a treatment for a multitude of troubles, from nicotine addiction to post-traumatic stress disorder.”
– Business Week, Feb 2/04

“It is employed today to combat phobias, control bad habits and enhance performance.”
– Smithsonian Magazine, 3/99

“Can Hypnosis Help You Lose Weight? I’m 32 Pounds Lighter.”
Ira Allen, Center for the Advancement of Health
– Washingtonian, 3/02

“…hypnosis can help adult patients control other forms of pain, relieve gastrointestinal problems, stimulate weight loss, clear up skin problems, and accelerate the healing of bone fractures and surgical wounds.”
– Consumer Reports, 1/05

Could I help you?

Nine out of ten Boston Hypnosis clients are successful because I limit my practice. Would you be a good fit?