Does Hypnosis Work?
The answer to this question is an absolute "YES"! Hypnosis has been around for a very long time and if it didn't work, it would have become extinct a long time ago. Ancient Egyptian, Greek & Persian cultures all have documentation describing trance-inducing procedures used over 2,500 years ago.
Hypnotism was commonly practiced in England during the nineteenth century. It was not unusual to read in birth announcements, from the newspapers of the day, that a baby was born, "… painlessly, during mesmeric trance".
James Esdaile (1808 -1859), a Scottish surgeon working in Calcutta, India, performed over 300 operations, including stomach surgeries and amputations, using hypnosis as the only form of anaesthesia. Hypnosis is still around and is very healthy because it is so wonderfully easy, effective, and quick.
The definition of hypnosis is "the bypassing of the critical faculty and the establishment of acceptable selective thinking". What this very simply means is that Hypnosis bypasses that part of the mind that normally prevents new ideas from reaching the sub-conscious mind. As this part is bypassed, the new ideas make their way into the sub-conscious mind and they become the newly established sub-conscious thinking, but only if these ideas are acceptable to the individual being hypnotised. People in hypnosis won't do anything they don't want to do, and are always in control.
Once a new idea gets into the subconscious mind, the subconscious is so awesomely powerful, it immediately gets to work, making these new ideas into reality. The subconscious mind is awesomely powerful, and hypnosis is the most effective means of harnessing this power. Elite professional sportspeople use hypnosis to enhance their ability in their chosen sport. Law enforcement agencies use forensic hypnosis to help witnesses recall vital details of crimes, including license plate numbers. Medical professionals use hypnosis as the sole form of anaesthesia for a range of surgeries and dentistry work.
In 1892, the British Medical Association (BMA) commissioned a team to research the nature and effects of hypnosis. They reported:
"The Committee, having completed such investigation of hypnotism as time permitted, has to report itself satisfied of the genuineness of the hypnotic state."
They further added, "The Committee is of the opinion that, as a therapeutic agent, hypnotism is frequently effective in relieving pain, procuring sleep, and alleviating many functional ailments (i.e., psycho-somatic complaints and anxiety disorders)." (British Medical Journal, 1892)
In 1955, the Psychological Medicine Group of the BMA commissioned a subcommittee, led by Prof. T. Ferguson Rodger, to deliver a second, and more comprehensive, report on hypnosis. The Subcommittee consulted several experts on hypnosis from various fields, including the eminent neurologist Prof. W. Russell Brain, and the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion. After two years of study and research, its final report was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), under the title 'Medical use of Hypnotism'. It reported:
"The Subcommittee is satisfied after consideration of the available evidence, that hypnotism is of value and may be the treatment of choice in some cases of so-called psycho-somatic disorder and psychoneurosis. It may also be of value for revealing unrecognized motives and conflicts in such conditions. As a treatment, in the opinion of the Subcommittee, it has proved its ability to remove symptoms and to alter morbid habits of thought and behavior. In addition to the treatment of psychiatric disabilities, there is a place for hypnotism in the production of anesthesia or analgesia for surgical and dental operations, and in suitable subjects it is an effective method of relieving pain in childbirth without altering the normal course of labour."
In 1958, the American Medical Association similarly conducted a report on hypnotherapy and likewise approved hypnosis as a legitimate therapeutic tool in the treatment of certain illnesses.