Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is a trance-like state in which you have heightened focus and concentration. Hypnosis is usually done with the help of a therapist using verbal repetition and mental images. When you're under hypnosis, you usually feel calm and relaxed, and are more open to suggestions.
Hypnosis can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviors or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain. It's important to know that although you're more open to suggestion during hypnosis, you don't lose control over your behavior.
Why it's done
Hypnotherapy can be an effective method for coping with stress and anxiety. In particular, hypnosis can reduce stress and anxiety before a medical procedure, such as a breast biopsy.
Hypnosis has been studied for other conditions, including:
Pain control. Hypnosis may help with pain due to burns, cancer, childbirth, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint problems, dental procedures and headaches.
Hot flashes. Hypnosis may relieve symptoms of hot flashes associated with menopause.
Behavior change. Hypnosis has been used with some success in the treatment of insomnia, bed-wetting, smoking, and overeating.
Cancer treatment side effects. Hypnosis has been used to ease side effects related to chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Mental health conditions. Hypnosis may help treat symptoms of anxiety, phobias and post-traumatic stress.