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MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information
Mind & Emotion Therapies

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  • Hypnotherapy Description
  • History
  • Key Principles
  • Evidence & Research
  • Conventional Medical Opinion
  • Consulting A Practitioner
  • Self Help


    For centuries, different cultures have experimented with inducing trance-like states by hypnosis, to promote healing. The founder of modern hypnosis was Franz Anton Mesmer, whose treatment of patients in the 18th century gave his name to "mesmerism".

    Franz Anton Mesmer
    Franz Anton Mesmer practiced a form of hypnosis using magnets to balance the so-called "animal magnetism" in the human body. Mesmer's techniques were controversial, but interest in "mesmerism" has never faded.


  • Pain relief.
  • Fears and phobias.
  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Addictions (drugs, alcohol, and smoking).
  • Weight problems (obesity, bulimia, & anorexia).
  • Menstrual problems (endometriosis, secondary amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, fibroids).
  • Asthma and allergies.
  • Skin conditions.

  • MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Pain Control & Relief
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Fears & Phobias
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Stress
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Information: Anxiety
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Depression
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Information: Drug Abuse & Addiction
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Information: Alcoholism
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Smoking
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Obesity
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Bulimia Eating Disorder
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Anorexia Eating Disorder
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Endometriosis
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Amenorrhea Secondary
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Dysmenorrhea
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Uterine Fibroids
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Information: Asthma
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Information: Allergies
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Information: Dermatitis - Skin Condition Problems


    The ancient Egyptians and Greeks are said to have used healing trances, and tribal cultures in Africa and the Americas have long used dancing and drumming to hypnotic effect. Hypnotherapy, however, is generally understood to have evolved from the work of 18th century Austrian practitioner, Franz Anton Mesmer. He was eventually branded a charlatan and "mesmerism" was denounced, but in 1843 a Scottish surgeon, James Braid, attempted to explain trances in scientific terms. Surgery was performed under what Braid termed "hypnosis," but the medical establishment remained uninterested, especially after the discovery of the anesthetic properties of ether in the 1840s. In the 1890s, the publication of Braid's papers in both French and German sparked new interest, and a "school of hypnotism" was founded in Nancy, France.

    Franz Anton Mesmer treated patients
    Mesmer often treated patients by sending them into therapeutic "crisis" of shaking, coughing, and convulsions, after which they felt better.

    Sigmund Freud used hypnosis in his early work, but later preferred to work with the patient fully conscious. In the 1950s and 1960s and American psychotherapist, Milton H. Erickson, developed the modern form of hypnotherapy, which is widely used in the West. Although the US and UK medical authorities recommend its inclusion in medical training, medical students rarely receive such teaching.


    Practitioners believe that the mind has different levels of consciousness. Under hypnosis, the conscious, rational part of the brain is temporarily bypassed, making the subconscious part, which influences mental and physical functions, extremely receptive to suggestion. Although hypnosis may be light, medium, or deep, a medium trance is usually used, during which metabolism, breathing, and heartbeat slow and the brain produces alpha waves.

    It is claimed that 90 percent of the population is capable of entering a hypnotic state. Of these 10 percent are highly hypnotizable and can be taken into a deep trance, in which minor operations may be performed without anesthesia. Imaginative people who are easily absorbed in what they are doing make the best subjects, but much depends on a willingness to be hypnotized and on a good rapport with the practitioner. Hypnotherapists claim that it is impossible to hypnotize an unwilling person, since the subconscious mind is extremely unlikely to accept unreasonable suggestions.


    There is no doubt that hypnosis works, but how is still a mystery. Some researchers claim that patients "allow" themselves to be hypnotized, and that the relationship between practitioner and patient is the key.

    The laboratory of Hypnosis Research was established at Stanford University in California in the 1960s and similar projects were set up elsewhere in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

    Studies published in The Lancet in 1989 showed hypnosis to be successful at relieving irritable bowel syndrome.

    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    In 1984, an Australian study found that anxiety levels could be controlled with hypnosis, while research in the US revealed that it enabled patients to relax during dental surgery.

    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Anxiety Disorder
    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Relaxation

    Two trials published in the 1960s in the British Medical Journal showed hypnosis to be an effective treatment for asthma.

    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Asthma

    In 1953, a study conducted by the British Medical Association concluded that it was helpful for psychosomatic and psychoneurotic disorders, and for pain relief in surgery, dentistry, and obstetrics.

    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Phobias & Fears
    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Pain Relief


    Despite being tainted by the exploits of showmen, hypnotherapy is supported by more scientific evidence than any other complementary therapy. Most conventional health care providers would support the use of self-hypnosis as a relaxation technique.

    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Relaxation


    Treatment usually consists of one-hour weekly sessions, the number of which varies according to the problem. The practitioner asks you about your physical and mental health, and your motivation to resolve any problem. Hypnosis may not begin until the second session.


    There are different schools of hypnotherapy:

  • Classical Induction: You lie on a reclining chair or couch and the practitioner talks to you in a slow and soothing voice. You may be asked to visualize a walk down a country road, to stare at a pencil or light, or to listen to a series of monotonous statements. The practitioner will usually suggest that you feel heavy and relaxed, and that your eyes are closing. To take you deeper, she may count down from ten to zero or ask you to imagine descending in an elevator. As if in a relaxed daydream, you will still be aware of your surroundings.

  • Under hypnosis.
    Under Hypnosis: The practitioner may ask you about past experiences to establish reasons for current problems. Alternately, she may feed suggestions to the patient's subconscious mind, aimed at overcoming specific problems, such as a lack of self-confidence or an addiction to smoking.

  • Ericksonian Hypnotherapy: Ericksonian hypnotherapists tend not to use classical induction techniques, preferring to use suggestions "strategically" during the "everyday trance" of a patient's daydreams and imagination.

  • Suggestion Hypnotherapy: This is often used to treat addictions. The practitioner tries to "implant" positive suggestions - for example, that a symptoms will disappear or a certain pattern of behavior will change.

  • Analytical Hypnotherapy: A practitioner trained in this approach will "regress" you by asking you to recall any buried memories or emotions that might be at the root of your problem.


  • It is vital that you choose a trustworthy, qualified practitioner.
  • Avoid hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis if you have severe depression, psychosis, or epilepsy.


    Most people can learn to induce hypnosis for themselves. Self-hypnosis may be used to alleviate pain, foster self-confidence and other positive attitudes, and even ease conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. Although the technique can be learned with books and tapes, it may be useful to consult a hypnotherapist first. Many practitioners teach patients to hypnotize themselves as a follow-up to treatment.

    It is important to be clear about what you want to achieve from self-hypnosis. For example, if you want to be more confident, ask yourself what makes you nervous. Then try to empty your mind of distracting thoughts by repeating a simple statement such as "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better." Known as autosuggestion, this technique was introduced in the 1920s by a French pharmacist, Emile Coue, whose work has since been incorporated into therapies such as visualization.


    1: Be prepared to spend at least 20 to 30 minutes every day practicing self-hypnosis. Lie or sit in a quiet, comfortable place where you are unlikely to be disturbed. Relax and release any tension in your body.


    2: To induce a relaxed, focused state of mind, imagine yourself walking down a long path, or descending a staircase, counting from 10 to zero.

    a long pathway a staircase

    3: Repeat to yourself key statements that describe what you want to be. Use positive wording; say, "I feel confident" - for example, not "I will not be afraid", or try listening to an audio-tape on which you have previously recorded such messages.

    4: When you are ready, bring yourself out of hypnosis by reversing the image with which you induced the hypnotic state. You could walk back to the beginning of the long path, for example, or climb back up the stairs, counting up from zero to 10.


    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Hypnotherapy
    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Guided Imagery & Visualization
    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Meditation
    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Relaxation
    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Sound Therapy

    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Hypnotherapy Information & Techniques
    MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information: Therapy Index


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