Have you ever been hypnotized? Maybe while you were in college or at a company retreat a hypnotist might have been hired as the entertainment. You’ve probably seen shows on television that show a hypnotist making people onstage doing strange things, such as making them think they were a monkey, a dog, or make them think they are even a member of the opposite sex.

Hypnotists are great as entertainment, but there are other ways hypnosis works. There are therapeutic hypnotists who help people with pain management, to quit smoking, or to lose weight.

Ever wondered how hypnosis works? You may be thinking the person that is hypnotized is under a “spell” or in a trance. This is false. When a person is being hypnotized, they are in a heightened sense of awareness and still have total free will. Although we have made outstanding advances in the field of hypnosis, there is still an air of mystery to it.

Psychologists have begun to recognize some of the general characteristics of being hypnotized. Mostly, it is a sort of trance that allows for extreme suggestibility, relaxation and a heightened sense of imagination. The person being hypnotized is not asleep, but more of a feeling like you would get when you “lose yourself” in a book or a movie. Your focus is totally aimed on that particular subject and nothing else.

When you have been hypnotized, you see the suggestions of the hypnotist as a reality. Just like when you get into a horror movie, you feel so close to being caught up in the movie, you jump out of your seat when you become frightened. While under the hypnotic “trance,” the hypnotist has a more direct link to your subconscious mind.

The differentiation linking the conscious mind and the subconscious mind is the conscious mind is your main inhibitive section in your brain. This is the part that puts the brakes on when you know something isn’t right and the subconscious mind is in the driver’s seat for your imagination and impulse. When your subconscious mind is in charge, you feel freer and may be more imaginative and less withdrawn. Hypnotized people sometime will do crazy things because their conscious mind is not filtering through everything.

Many studies have been done of how the brain and body works when a person is under hypnosis. These studies show there were no physical changes in the body. However, the heart rate and respirations were dropped, due to the heightened sense of relaxation.

There seems to be a change in the makeup of the brain while the subject is hypnotized. While looking at EEGs (electroencephalographs), the research has shown that under hypnosis, different brain waves are created. Different brain waves are also used when a person is asleep, or dreaming, as well as when they are fully alert and thinking.

One may not realize that you don’t necessarily need a specialized hypnotist to arrive at this heightened sense of your subconscious. It is easy to hypnotize yourself by using the appropriate relaxation and focusing techniques.