Adnan Menderes University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Aydın, Turkey**
Adnan Menderes University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology and Reanimation, Aydın, Turkey
Hypnosis is one of the oldest treatment methods. Hypnosis is usually done with the help of a doctor using verbal repetition and mental images. When you’re under hypnosis, you usually feel calm and relaxed, and are more open to suggestions. Hypnosis can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviors or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain. Hypnosis that’s conducted by a trained doctor or health care professional is considered a safe, complementary and alternative medicine treatment. However, hypnosis may not be appropriate in people with severe mental illness. You may be able to practice self-hypnosis and you can use this skill as needed. Hypnosis, the subconscious mind is the golden key to the entrance and is limited to the boundaries of imagination.
Hypnosis is a scientific method that can be used both alone and complementary before and after the actual medical treatment of the patient. Hypnosis is an entirely natural mental state congenitally existing which one’s ability to increase taking subluminal message by moving away environmental and mental stimuli, for a certain period of time. It is natural because everybody can experience hypnosis for many times consciously or unconsciously. For instance, not noticing how the road ends while driving, or not hearing others’ call while watching a thrilling movie on TV. Because it means that person is concentrated and hypnotized even for a short period of time.
If we accept that our mind is the main force for controlling our body, and it allows us an opening in another aspect of our life. As Hippocrates mentioned, “the natural tendency of the body is towards health”. In other words, if the body is left in its natural state, it continues to work on a path that renews and restores itself. Consciousness is a part of mind that is setting up logic, analyzing, thinking, judging and seeking logical explanations for everything. Setting up logic is the most important task of conscious mind. Apart from its logical and analytical properties, our conscious mind is lets us to have willpower. Another feature of consciousness also is temporary memory. There is a weak and limited memory of our consciousness. On the contrary, subconscious state, where our dreams are, has the incredible and permanent power of keeping data, but it does not make any evaluation. For this reason, if you can open a door to subconscious part of our mind and put a suggestion in it in a way, the subconscious state will tend to perform these suggestions. There are many different ways and methods to open this door and make it permanent. Some of the methods and systems are below:
Repeating: It is difficult to repeat, but it works very well if there is enough time and if there is no strong subconscious resistance.
Authority figures: People who are in the position of authority, such as family members, teachers, doctors, administrators etc. that leave profound effects in our subconscious state.
Identity desire or identification: There is a child who wants to be loved, belonged, accepted, recognized, and protected, inside each of us. Sometimes, we can do unacceptable things, in order to get attention we need.
Hidden hypnosis: As hypnosis helps to change the subconscious state, people use hypnosis to change their lives. Self-hypnosis can affect subconscious state “unconsciously”. For example, while watching TV, the person suddenly finds the ashtray full of cigarettes, but might not remember that he smoked them.
Emotion: Emotions can lead to profound and long-lasting traces. An ambitious person has to overcome many obstacles to achieve his goal. A person, who was attacked by a dangerous dog, may carry dog phobia even if he find it unreasonable, throughout his life. Sometimes, an irrelevant event that leaves a mark subconsciously can return into a phobia suddenly. Irrelevant marks may lead to irrelevant effects and consequences.
Hypnosis is derived from the ancient Greek god sleep “Hypnosis”. However, the beginning of magnetism and scientific hypnosis in relation with Franz Antoine Mesmer extends to 1765. The beginning of scientific hypnosis is accepted in 1765 with Mesmer’s thesis “The Effects of Stars on the Human Body”. Mesmer did not succeed in Vienna at first, and in 1778 he opened a clinic in Paris and started to treat various diseases. Then, Marquis de Puysegur recommended mesmeric anesthesia to reduce pain during surgical operations, in 1784. John Eliot was affected by this recommendation and performed many operations with mesmeric anesthesia in 1837.
Hypnosis was first used by Braid in 1841, with fixation to a point. In 1843, his book named “Braid’s Neurology” was published, and it is considered as the end of this period of magnetism and the beginning of the hypnotism age. In 1863, Littre defined hypnosis as a kind of magnetic state, which was caused by looking at a bright object. S. Freud and Dr. Breuer applied hypnosis in 1885 as a spiritual device for the subconscious concept. Sigmund Freud was interested in hypnosis before his well-known technique, and then developed this method. His mentor Jose Breuer and he with together held this technique by hypnosis sessions, in 1885, in his foundation. Because of difficulties in hypnosis practice, Freud has looked another method for hypnosis-free therapy, and he found “Free Association Method” that became the fundamental of modern psychoanalysis. The sudden proliferation of war neuroses during World War II, forced the introduction of the hypnoanalysis method in 1944, instead of the psychoanalysis methods that required long time and labor. The British Medical Association accepted hypnosis officially in 1955 in England. In 1958, the American Medical Association in America accepted the use of hypnosis for medical purposes. In 1979, the World Hypnosis Association declared clarified ethical value about hypnosis, such as “who could use hypnosis for what purpose”.
Hypnosis in Turkey began in 1935, with a book translated by Cemil Sena Ongun from Janet’s book. Later in 1946, Dr. Bedri Ruhselman made publications on this subject. In 1950s, a surgeon named Sevil Akay performed tonsillectomy with hypnosis method and another doctor, Orhan Toygar also performed many operations with hypnotic anesthesia. During 1951-1979, Hüsnü İsmet Öztürk treated the more than 2000 patients using “Conscious Hypnosis” technique and performed operations on more than 250 patients by using only hypnoanesthesia. In terms of hypnosis in Turkey, Hüsnü İsmet Öztürk can be considered as a mentor and a master in conscious hypnosis area (1-3).
Hypnosis is not a sleep state, but the brain is actually between sleep and wakefulness states.
There are 4 types of waves of electrical activity of the brain detected by electroencephalograph records:
1. Delta waves: The frequency range of delta brain activity is 0-4 cps (cycles/sec). This period is a complete unawareness state and our knowledge is limited.
2. Theta wave: Frequency range is 4-7 cps. Theta is the part of the subconscious range, and hypnosis sometimes can occur in this range. All of our emotional experiences are almost like tetra-registered. Theta is a door that opens beyond of hypnosis both to consciousness and psychological experiences.
3. Alpha wave: Alpha frequency range is 7-14 cps. It is considered as the subconscious interval. Dreams, day dreams and hypnosis that occur while sleeping take place within this range. Meditation includes generally this kind of wave, even it has a few waves of theta. Psychic experiences can sometimes take part in the alpha waves. Alpha is the most important wave for hypnosis.
4. Beta wave: The frequency of the Beta is 14 cps and up. This wave is the sign of conscious mind. The wave allows using usual activities and logical decisions, while we are awake. Most of them are around 20 cps. We do not have a clear knowledge of over 60 cps, but acute hysteria crisis is known to happen at 60 cps.
Our brain is known to shift automatically from beta to alpha range while sleeping. Most of the sleep state is in the alpha range even it sometimes shifts to theta or delta intervals. The waves are changed according to the phases of sleep. Although, there are frequent transitions between waves during all the sleep, usually the beginning is related with alpha waves. Hypnosis uses this natural phenomenon to allow our brain to shift to the alpha range before full sleep occurs, and our subconscious mind is ready to receive suggestions in this interval.
Spontaneous Hypnosis: A spontaneous hypnosis that is naturally occurring without the knowledge of the person.
Auto hypnosis: The self-hypnosis of the person.
Formal hypnosis: Created by another person.
Another classification is:
Classic hypnosis: It can be done by using various techniques.
Conscious hypnosis: It is a psychological condition that is happening with the person self-request, in which the brain functions are working, the individual control is clear, absolutely without sleep state. This method is first revealed by Hüsnü İsmet Öztürk and in this method, the person who get hypnosis is completely conscious.
Hypnosis is a situation that the person accepts and applies the suggestions to be received by the person, depending on appropriate time and place, related with the natural, social and psychological characteristics of the person. For this reason, individuals with much more adaptability are more likely to be hypnotized easier. Nowadays, hypnosis, in which patients are informed and approved, is called conscious hypnosis. It is a condition that doctor uses verbal repetitions and mental images and hypnotized patient is calm, relaxed and open to recommendation.
Hypnosis is thought to be associated with right brain hemisphere activity and the prefrontal region. Hypnosis causes some changes in brain functions. These are;
1. Sensory changes: Loss of pain sensation, paresthesia-anesthesia, hallucination, deviation, sensory perception, memory increase/decrease.
2. Motor changes: Relaxation, weakness, flask-spastic paralysis, catalepsy, hyperkinesis, increase in muscle strength.
3. Autonomic changes: Breathing, slow pulse, change in secretion and metabolism, somnambulism (2,3).
Hypnosis susceptibility of the hypnotized patient is important. The tests that measure this tendency are:
- Weight of eyelids,
- Eyelid catalepsy,
- Loose arm test,
- Rising arm test,
- Rocking body test,
- Clamped hand test,
- Hypnotic induction profile (4,5).
According to the researches, hypnotized individuals are in:
- 5% mild hypnosis,
- 60% moderate hypnosis,
- 20% deep hypnosis,
- 15% the deepest hypnosis (the level that all kinds of surgery can be performed).
The treatment is decided to be done according to the depth of the hypnosis.
There are 3 rules of hypnosis. First, the person should demand to get rid of the complaint. Second, the person should believe in this method to be relieved from complaint. Third and the most important factor is actually the need of the person. Finally, it is necessary to trust the doctor and accept the applications of the treatment.
Hypnosis is a scientific method that can be used both alone and to support medical care in many fields of medicine. There are many techniques available for hypnosis. The technique for each case is also different. People can be assisted by appropriate hypnosis techniques under the following headings accompanied by educated people:
1. Hypnoanalgesia can be used for all painful conditions: migraine, burn, terminal stage cancer, birth, dentistry, regional anesthesia, premedication, trigeminal neuralgia.
2. Diurnal and nocturnal enuresis.
3. Behavioral disorders; Stuttering, tics, eating nail, phobia, smoking-alcohol control, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, anxiety, insomnia.
4. Social hypnotherapy; Work habits, self-doubt, weight loss therapy, excitement, nervousness, sexual problems, sporting concentration and performance enhancement, militaristic hypnosis, artistic hypnosis.
5. Other medical conditions, warts and simple dermal problems, nausea-vomiting (2-8).
A) Individuals on the threshold of psychosis,
B) Latent homosexuals.
There are also incorrect hypnotic practices that everybody applies unconsciously in normal life, e.g. every word that we say to our children can act like a suggestion, because they live in a dream world. While growing our children, we can make worse their health and their life because of the incorrect discourses we make unwittingly. There is a term called hammering, a subconscious caused by incorrect discourses we make unwittingly. For example, there are some sentences that parents often use to warn their children such as “Do not drink cold water while sweaty, otherwise you can be sick”, or “Do not eat ice-cream in winter, you can be sick”. Contrary, children of the families who use these sentences are constantly sick. The first three year-period of the childhood is very important. Their subconscious state is open to all kinds of suggestion and accepts without questioning. So the tendency of hypnosis in children is very high.
Finally, it can be said that “Hypnosis’s borders are limited to the borders of your imagination”. Hypnosis, with the increase in scientific studies and researches made, seems to reach the highest level in complementary and traditional medicine field, soon.
Peer-review: Externally peer-reviewed.
Concept: Ö.E., Design: Ö.E., Data Collection or Processing: Ö.E., K.V.E., Literature Search: K.V.E., Writing: Ö.E.
Conflict of Interest: No conflict of interest was declared by the authors.
Financial Disclosure: The authors declared that this study received no financial support.
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