Is Hypnosis Real ?
Does hypnosis really work? I used to wonder that myself. Even as I was in my first hypnosis training, which I ended up in by default as part of a Master NLP training series.
My doubts lingered, until one day in class when the trainer taught us about ‘ideomotor’ movements (these are small muscle twitches and movements that come from the subconscious mind). We were sitting in class and I watched with a mixture of wonder, amazement, fear and awe, as the students volunteered one a time to be the subject for a demo. As they sat in a chair, and the trainer gave hypnotic suggestions, their arm began to rise into the air!
You might wonder, didn’t they raise their own arm? Well..yes..and no. Yes, their subconsious mind did make their arm rise, but they were not doing it consciously. It was a powerful demonstration of the power of the unconscious mind.
Finally it was my turn to experience this sensation, and being the analytical sort that I am, my ‘conscious’ mind stayed busy analyzing, as the instructor put me into hypnosis, and then gave suggestions that my arm would begin to ‘lift and rise’. My conscious, analytical mind continued to wonder, “Will it happen? Will my arm actually MOVE??!! Does this hypnosis stuff really work?”
And to my amazement, I felt my finger twitch, and then my hand jerked a couple of times, and then my arm began to twitch, and then to lift!! And my arm slowly, slowly, in twitching, jerky movements, began to lift and rise into the air!
I sat there watching, in amazement! Ah…I can hear you now…
“But you were doing it, right? You were making your hand rise! You wanted it to happen!” or…You are just gullible!”
Yes, of course “I” was doing it. BUT…it was my “SUBconscious mind” not my ‘conscious’ mind that was doing the work. My conscious mind was still analyzing, asking questions:
“Will this work? What if it doesn’t work? Oh, there was a twitch! Was that me? My hand is moving!! Am I doing that? Look, its rising, and twitching in a weird way! It’s me, but I’m not doing that! But I am doing it!!”
Yes..I was doing it. Because I ‘allowed’ it to happen, which is key in hypnosis. No hypnotist can ‘make’ you do anything against your will..you have to allow it to happen. And I was in a state of ‘allowing’ it to happen but not ‘making’ it happen, but just observing, with curiosity, to see ‘what’ would happen.
In reality, you experience these ‘idiomotor movements’ everyday (pronounced Id EE OH motor) Have you ever been off on a nice daydream somewhere, but then you feel a sudden ‘quick, short, inhale’ that almost brings you out of the daydream? Have you ever felt your belly have a sudden, quick contraction? Or perhaps you have had one of those unexpected ‘twitches’ in your neck, or your arm, or your shoulder.
Have you ever been watching television with your legs crossed, one foot dangling loose and limp, and suddenly it jerks into the air, almost like a reflex? It just suddenly ‘moves really fast and quick’ like a little ‘twitch’.
These movements come from your subconscious. In fact, all your reflex movements come from your unconscious as well, as your body moves you quickly to safety before your conscious mind has time to think, and you duck your head to avoid walking right into that tree branch that appeared from nowhere!
The quick sudden breath, or arm twitch, or foot jerk, and other ‘involuntary, short, jerky movements’ are idiomotor movements. They come from your subconscious mind.
Begin to notice now when this happens. You obviously were not sitting there thinking, hey, I am going to make my belly suddenly contract and expand in a very short quick way. Or, make my foot suddenly move up and one quarter inch to the right! You do not thnk about this..it just happens.
But it is YOU doing it. NO one walked over and moved your foot or contracted your belly. YOU did it.
In hypnosis, we can activate these ‘idiomotor’ responses to communicate directly with the subconscious mind. This is often used to receive a yes or no response from the unconscious.
Perhaps some of you have experienced dowsing, or some may call it a pendulum. People hang a small pendulum or object from a string, and holding onto the string, they watch for movements to get YES/NO answers. Some people believe the answers are channeled or come from spiritual guidance…and while that may be true, what is actually happening (even though it may truly be guided) is that your SUBCONSCIOUS mind is answering with idiomotor movements, causing that pendulum to move (see the next article for how to do your own dowsing experiment, and get in touch with your unconscious mind)
Those ‘micromovements’ that you can barely perceive are movements from your unconscious. One way to recognize an idiomotor movement, (and how I could discern the difference between my conscious mind and my unconscious mind in my hypnosis training) is that idiomotor movements typically happen in short, jerky, quick movements. Similar to the way my arm began twitching and rising in my class.
So..does hypnosis really work? After my experience of watching my hand rise, as my trainer communicated directly with my subconscious mind….my answer to that question is “absolutely!”
But if you have any doubt, I invite you to visit the store and browse the self hypnosis downloads. You might decide to choose a Self Hypnosis Download (or Audio CD) and experience it for yourself. You won’t be doing any arm levitations..but you will experience a wonderfully pleasant relaxing feeling as you go into hypnosis.