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Stanford Study on Hypnotherapy

By scanning the brains of subjects while they were hypnotized, researchers at the School of Medicine were able to see the neural changes associated with hypnosis.

A serious science


For some people, hypnosis is associated with loss of control or stage tricks. But doctors like Spiegel know it to be a serious science, revealing the brain’s ability to heal medical and psychiatric conditions.


“Hypnosis is the oldest Western form of psychotherapy, but it’s been tarred with the brush of dangling watches and purple capes,” said Spiegel, who holds the Jack, Samuel and Lulu Willson Professorship in Medicine. “In fact, it’s a very powerful means of changing the way we use our minds to control perception and our bodies”.


First, they saw a decrease in activity in an area called the dorsal anterior cingulate, part of the brain’s salience network. “In hypnosis, you’re so absorbed that you’re not worrying about anything else,” Spiegel explained.


Secondly, they saw an increase in connections between two other areas of the brain — the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the insula. He described this as a brain-body connection that helps the brain process and control what’s going on in the body.


Hypnosis sessions have been shown to be effective in lessening chronic pain, the pain of childbirth and other medical procedures; treating smoking addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder; and easing anxiety or phobias. 


The study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (grant RCIAT0005733), the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (grant P41EB015891), the Randolph H. Chase, M.D. Fund II, the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation and the Nissan Research Center.

Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences also supported the work.


The full report is available on this link:

Hypnotherapy enables self-mastery through reflection, healing and growth, empowering you to perform at your best.

It is akin to guided meditation, with the therapist serving as an objective sounding-board.

This technique is established, proven in clinical studies, increasingly present in hospitals for pain management/recovery. Hypnosis makes it possible to thwart acquired defense mechanisms which become limiting during the evolution of a person. Hypnosis unblocks subconscious limiting beliefs and helps adaptation to current life situations, to live a full life.

The subconscious mind can fuel your daily life positively and optimize your responses to unavoidable stressors and life events. The key is to stay in control and not let uncontrollable external factors overpower and snatch our sense of balance and peace. The mind is like a rubber band that can stretch and adapt/heal; Hypnotherapy aids in the creative process of the subconscious mind to build resilience.


If you'd like to dig a little deeper, lets take a concrete example like self sabotage. Self sabotage is a way to support our own dysfunctional hypothesis - so if our hypothesis is 'I am a failure', we will automatically find ways to make that a reality through self sabotage. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from proving our hypothesis right, and its an upside down win - its a win that proves that we can control at least a part of our lives. Our limiting beliefs become our identity and that's what feeds self sabotage. We can deconstruct our limiting beliefs through hypnotherapy because these beliefs are created at a sub-conscious level - so that's where we have to meet it and break it. 

A deep dive into past traumas (even if they are non catastrophic micro traumas), unconscious conflicts and family history, will reveal the root of current beliefs, feelings and behaviors that may block us in our present day life. When we access our minds through a different door via hypnotherapy, we can get a birds eye view of the patterns we have created on our journey. The different perspective that we will develop through this work, will help us reset ourselves to take on all the present day challenges in a peaceful and enjoyable state.

We don't think twice about going to the spa for an indulgent massage for tired muscles or a nice vacation to break the monotony of routine. There is nothing taboo about therapy. Therapy is a vacation for our overworked brains. Therapy is a tool for continued personal development, to constantly raise the bar for ourselves, to become the best version of ourselves. Self knowledge is always a worthwhile endeavor, aiding balance and joy. Therapy is a smart tool, to look under the hood and catch blind spots, to avoid disappointments from strategies that are not well rounded because of those blind spots. Everyone will benefit from therapy, especially if they want to live their best lives.  

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