Hypnosis for Health Problems
Are you afraid that if you were hypnotized, you would do something silly and embarrassing? Well, no worries. There's very little chance you're going to quack like a duck. Hypnosis, once belittled as mere showmanship, is now accepted by medical, dental, psychiatric and psychological associations, more than 75,000 of whose members practice hypnosis or refer patients for the same.
Americans are now going under a hypnotist's suggestions for conditions ranging from high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms and arthritis, to nail biting and every sort of phobia from fear of flying or swimming to an aversion of insects.
Hypnosis is not a trancelike condition; instead, it’s an altered state of consciousness. It's an intense alertness in which the mind can screen out extraneous matters and focus on particular details.
Brain scans taken of people under hypnosis show that despite the relaxed state of our bodies, our minds are extremely attentive. Hypnosis doesn't involve giving up one's will or being controlled by someone else. It does allow the subject to suspend logical reasoning and be more open to accepting suggestions.
Experts estimate that between 70 and 90 percent of the population is capable of being hypnotized to some extent, and that the most successful subjects are imaginative, motivated and intelligent. Whether hypnosis can actually help improve your Scrabble score, help you get a hole in one on the golf course, or gear you towards million dollar profits in the stock market, is still under debate. But it can help you stop smoking or lessen your anxiety.
What happens in a session of hypnosis varies with the patient, the problem, and the hypnotist. Sessions usually last half an hour to an hour and fees can range from $125 to $350. In choosing a hypnotist, it's important to make sure he or she is licensed and well trained.
Robin Westen is ThirdAge’s medical reporter. Check for her daily updates.
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