What Is Hypnosis? 


"The Power of Your Mind"

Hypnosis can help you as it has helped thousands of others,

to make those life changes you thought impossible.



Hypnosis: The Power of Your Mind


Hypnosis has too long suffered under the shroud of mystery and misbegotten myth. As a result of superstitious self-hypnosis, untold numbers of people have needlessly suffered.

This section is going to answer some basic questions about hypnosis and then we'll move on to some direct applications.

Please think carefully about this one point: whether or not a person "believes" in hypnosis, it does exist. It is a specific, measurable state of mind and body. And, the documentation supporting the sometimes miraculous applications of hypnosis is becoming undeniable even to those most dedicated to disapproval.

So, if some well meaning friend or family member says that hypnosis doesn't exist, doesn't work or is a "tool of the devil", please realize their advice is "educationally underfunded". Heck, they just might not want you to get better because then they would have to look at their problems instead of yours. This happens in families, you know.

Anyway, my point to this preamble is that hypnosis truly is the power of your mind. Learn how to use it and your life will change for the better. If you do not learn how to use hypnosis then the power of your mind is very likely to be influenced by whatever strong, emotional wind blows through your life.

Let's now look at the 8 most frequently asked questions about hypnosis.

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(1) "What is hypnosis?" Before I give you the answer please understand that I have been studying this field for over 24 years. Also note that I love to research stuff and so you can bet money that my answers are based on a very solid educational foundation.

So what is hypnosis? First realize that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. I have yet to see "hypno-rays" shoot out of anyone's head and take control of another person's mind (except in Bugs Bunny cartoons, which I love).

Now, get ready to understand the deep and mysterious nature of real hypnosis (vs. stage hypnosis, which we'll talk about shortly.)

Real hypnosis is any human being's ability to convince themselves of any belief.

Hypnosis happens when you allow an idea to influence your thoughts, feelings and/or behavior. This means hypnosis is not brainwashing because you are in control.

In fact, in a state of trance (trance is defined in next frequently asked question), you are more in control of your body. It's true. How else can people have surgery, chat with the doctor and control their bleeding and have no pain? You don't see people on the bus doing that, do you? J

I had 9 fillings drilled out of my teeth and replaced using no pain killers except hypnosis.

David Calof is an amazing hypnotist who wrote an excellent and fun to read book titled: The Couple Who Became Each Other: Stories of Healing and Transformation from a Leading Hypnotherapist.

One astonishing client that Calof talks about, needed surgery for a tumor in her cheek. Chemical anesthesia might kill her so she had to have hypnotic pain management for her 5-hour operation. During this time, "The surgeon would be peeling back both sides of her face, separating the underlying layers, scraping the growth from her delicate facial nerves, then sewing her back together," (page 195)

Now, are you ready for a demonstration of how a person has the ability to convince themselves of anything? Read what David Calof next says in his book: "In my career I'd often seen clients cure persistent headaches in a single hypnotic session; seen others permanently banish chronic pain; helped others open the airways of their lungs to halt an asthma attack or increase circulation to their fingers to reverse the uncomfortable whitening of Reynaud's Syndrome". (page 195)

Calof goes on to say: "Psychophysiological phenomena were almost routine to meyet I was humbled by Terry's ability to stop her bleeding on demand. This ability of the body to heal and self-control struck me as so profound, so generative, that it seemed to have a spiritual dimensionand I believe the potential for it resides in the core of every human being." (page 195)

David's book is very enjoyable reading and his voice is incredible so, if you are interested in studying hypnosis and hearing a true master, get his 6-audiotape program titled Hypnotic Techniques.

So what is hypnosis? It is an amazing power of the mind that you control. Learn to use it.

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(2) "What Is Trance?" There are two answers. One is scientifically known. The other is known by your soul, spirit or intuition as referred to earlier by David Calof.

First, trance is a physiological state of the brain. As such it is virtually identical to meditation and other similar states of mind including biofeedback, guided imagery, prayer, being in "the zone" or being "in flow".

Before explaining what level of brain activity trance is found in, you need to know that there are four levels of brainwave activity. These four brainwave states range from high frequency 'Beta' (frequency = speed or activity) to the low frequency 'Delta'. These four states range from high arousal (beta) to deep dreamless sleep (delta). The four levels, from highest to lowest activity are Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta.

Trance is a state of influential imagining that is experienced in the Alpha-Theta range.

Now, to talk about the 'spiritual' side to trance. It is one of those things that you don't know until you've experienced it. As the old (hypnotic?) commercial used to say:

"Try it, you'll like it!"

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(3) "Is Hypnosis Harmful?" No. Now, there are some who say that it is but, I have yet to see any of them hypnotize someone to do something that violates their values, morals, ethics or beliefs. Besides, remember that hypnosis is your ability to convince yourself of a belief. So, if a person chooses to be hypnotized into doing things that are anti-social, what this really means is that it was okay for them to do those things anyway.

The truth is, that the worst thing that can happen during trance is that the hypnotist could trip and fall on you.

(4) "Can a hypnotist make me do things against my will?" Same question as above, just stated differently. But, as a consideration it is so important that I treat it as a separate question.

Let me ask you this: if hypnosis could make people do things they don't want to, then why do jails still exist? If a hypnotist really had some irresistible mind power, couldn't s/he just walk into a jail, get paid a boat load of money, hypno-zap all the inmates and turn them into law abiding, do-gooders? You'd think so if they could. Easy money and doing a heck of a public service.

So here's the straight stuff: hypnosis never has and never will, make anyone do something they don't approve of. And you bet we're going to talk about stage shows and what they're really about.

But first, let's answer a few more important questions.

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(5) "Does hypnosis really work? If so, is it guaranteed?" Okay, there are a couple of things to cover here. First of all, let's review what hypnosis is: it is your ability to convince yourself of anything.

Therefore, what a hypnotist really does is they coach you to that state of mind where you can convince yourself of some things and unconvince yourself of beliefs that don't work anymore. So, does hypnosis work? Yep.

However, this does not mean that every person calling themselves a hypnotist can coach you so that you create new beliefs and/or let go of old ones. So, can a hypnotist honestly guarantee you results? Absolutely not. Guarantees are a nice advertising gambit but read the fine print. They usually guarantee money back or something of that sort.

Again, if a hypnotist could guarantee results, why not march into a jail and empty it so that we could have more room (and money) for our schools?

Speaking of schools and such, have you ever been to a prom/graduation night hypnosis show? Well, let's talk about stage shows now because those seem to be a big reason why some people are afraid of hypnosis.

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(6) "Are hypnosis stage shows real?" Television, movies and live performances all have one thing in common: entertainment. The more mystifying, shocking, and/or humorous they are, the more entertaining they are.

Now, good hypnosis stage shows combine all 3 key ingredients. Hypnosis is definitely mystifying and a savvy stage show hypnotist definitely makes sure their shows are humorous and shocking.

For example, my most excellent friend, Ron Stubbs of Seattle, Washington, is an amazingly talented stage hypnotist. My wife and I laughed for over 2 hours. Ron's show is a riot and we laughed so much it made our faces hurt. (www.hypnodude.com)

We also have a dear friend in Minnesota who is always in very high demand because of his incredible talents and unique hypnosis presentations. Tom Kruger has a devilishly creative sense of humor that will have anyone laughing. (www.krugerentertainment.com)

But, are the people on stage with Ron or Tom really under their total control? No. If you think back to a stage show you have seen (except for television where that stuff is totally staged), do you remember that a lot of people were invited onto the stage and several then left during the show? This begs the question: why weren't they under the hypnotist's control? Because no one ever really is under the hypnotist's control.

Here's the bottom line on stage shows: they need volunteers. Volunteers tend to do what you ask them to do because….they volunteered to follow your suggestions. I can hear someone saying now, "Whoa Dude…that's deep. They volunteered so, like, they're going to do what you ask them to do."

Some people however, leave the stage early because they discovered that they are uncomfortable with volunteering to participate in humorous skits that the stage hypnotist directs.

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That's right–the stage hypnotist is merely a director and the volunteers are the stars. Think about the last sitcom you watched. (Frasier, Friends, Seinfeld, The Nanny, M.A.S.H., Everybody Loves Raymond, etc…) Don't those stars volunteer to do funny, sometimes embarrassing skits? Sure.

And, a good stage hypnotist (director) will quickly spot two types of volunteers:

(1) The ones who will not participate and so, they are politely asked to leave the stage and, (2) The ones who will whole-heartedly participate and make for a fun show. These are the volunteers who add to the 'mystery' of hypnosis because they are participating without reservation and they make it look like they're under the hypnotist's power.

So let's have a look at what we've just talked about because this is important. The real question could have been: "Are stage shows truthful examples of the mind control power of hypnosis?" The answer? Hell no. They are however, great examples of that rare talent who can befriend an audience, get volunteers and direct them in such a way that the performance is mysterious, humorous and, appropriately shocking.

Speaking of mysterious, have you ever thought about past lives? I have a favorite joke whenever I do presentations. I ask my audience: "Does anyone here believe in past lives? If so, please raise your hands." Then, I wait while the hands go up in the air.

I then say: "It's good to see you again."

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Yeah, I know, kind of goofy humor but at least it's clean. A dear friend of mine, Terrence Watts, shared this goofy little gem with me: "Two thieves stole a calendar.  They got 6 months each." J

By the way, Terry has written some great self-help books that are worth checking out. Also, when you go to his website, he has a lot of excellent self-help information for free. So, after visiting Ron and Tom, drop by to see Terry's stuff at: www.hypnosense.com.

Now let's move onto the last question which is very intriguing.

(7) "Are past lives real or is it just a bunch of metaphysical mumbo-jumbo?" Well, depends on what you read I guess. For instance, there is a great website that debunks a lot of stuff. It is www.skepdic.com. They also publish a magazine that makes for very good reading. According to their website that I just visited, they think past lives are false memories.

Then, there is a 2 book set titled: Regression Therapy a Handbook for Professionals: Past-Life Therapy, by Winafred B. Lucas. There are some very well-credentialed contributors to this informative book set.

And, there is Children's Past Lives, by Carol Bowman. If you want to read some nifty stuff before buying this excellent and enlightening book, go to http://www.childpastlives.org/

Now, I suppose you're wondering how I feel about past lives. And, you may be curious about whether or they possibly relate to OCD and/or anxiety disorders. This brings us to the next question:

(8) "Can past life therapy help someone with anxiety disorders?" Okay, well first I have to tell you that when I first started doing hypnosis in 1982, I definitely had no interest in past life stuff. Figured that PLR (past life regression) people were, well, kooky. I mean, geez, a past life? I thought they should get a present life.

And, I am a "show me the research" kind of guy. I don't like unsubstantiated miracle claims. Too many con artists out there. Hey, I do a lot of diabetes/hypnosis work and man, I have to tell you, I get royally pissed at that garbage that dishonest people are selling as "diabetes cures".

My point is that I am a hard sell on stuff unless there is credible, verifiable information. So, past lives belonged in the "Hey, if it works for you, that's great." category.

But, my clients had different plans for me. Over several years, many of them would spontaneously go into past lives and, I have to tell you, they sure didn't seem like they were 'faking it'. Some of them you would never have suspected of that kind of stuff.

"Okay" I thought. "I have to find out what's going on here." That's when I picked up a life-changing book by Dr. Brian Weiss: Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives. Before you buy the book (because it is a mind-blowing read), you can read the first chapter free here: http://www.brianweiss.com/ml_chap1.htm

So, do I believe in past lives? Yes, for 3 reasons. One, I have seen too many convincing instances in my office. Many of my clients have changed because of past life insights. The second reason I believe they are real is because I honestly believe our Creator is very creative and that it just seems right that we would have more than one chance to "get it right".

Finally, I think past lives are valid because there is some very, very compelling research that cannot be ignored except by those who actively choose to deny what appears to be a real part of our universe.

Remember: television, Star Trek style communicators, space ships, and so many other impossibilities are now very much a part of our so-called 'real' world.

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So, can past life therapy help with OCD/anxiety disorders? It has in my office. I had one client many years who discovered that she had been hanged in a past life. The emotional aftermath followed her from one life to the next. Once she became aware of two important things, her life radically changed. First, she realized that she could let go of the anxiety hanging over from her past life.

The second insight that helped her to change her life was realizing that Death is not the end of it all. A common past life experience is going to the point of one's death in a past life and discovering a peace that is life-altering.

If you want to read some more very interesting past life information and stories, please visit my friend Mary Lee LaBay by clicking here. There are several articles there and, if you want, she has some great books too.

Now, there is one more question that a lot of people are curious about.

(9) "Does hypnosis have medical uses? If so, is there any support for it?" Clinical applications of hypnosis have been studied and documented for decades. Hypnosis has been used as a healing tool for centuries but, it wasn't until 1958 that the American Medical Association 'legitimized' the use of hypnosis.

"The use of hypnosis has a recognized place in the medical armamentarium and is a useful technique..."
- Journal of the American Medical Association, Council on Mental Health Report, Sept. 13, 1958

"The evidence supporting the effectiveness of hypnosis in alleviating chronic pain associated with cancer seems strong. ...other data suggest[s] the effectiveness of hypnosis in other chronic pain conditions, which include irritable bowel syndrome... tension headaches [and numerous other conditions]."
- National Institutes of Health, Technology Assessment Conference Statement, October 16–18, 1995

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"Hypnosis, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, and various relaxation procedures have all been shown to be effective…"
-Journal of the American Medical Association
July 24/31, 1996 - Volume 276. No 4

For an extensive list of medical applications and more documentation of hypnosis, click here.

Many, many doctors and psychologists state that there are no dangers involved with hypnosis-- only in being ignorant of it. 

Here is what some doctors are saying:

Dr. David Cheek, M.D., a noted authority writes:

"We can do more harm with ignorance of hypnotism than we could ever do by using hypnosis and suggestion constructively"


Dr. William S. Kroger, author of "Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis," states:

"Platonof, an associate of Pavlov, who used hypnosis over fifty years on over fifty-thousand cases, reports as follows: 'We have never observed any harmful influences on the patient which could be ascribed to the method of hypno-suggestion therapy, or a tendency toward the development of unstable personality, weakening of the will, or pathological urge for hypnosis."


As stated in "The Psychology of Mental Health," Dr. Louie P. Thorpe, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California, writes:

"Hypnotism is a natural phenomena, and there are no known deleterious effects from its use."


Leslie N. LeCron, Psychologist, states:

"As to self-induction, many thousands have learned it and I have yet to hear a report of any bad results of its use"


Andre M. Weitzenhoffer, Ph.D., a highly regarded authority in the field of mind science, writes:

"As far as it is known today, hypnosis per se is no more dangerous than natural sleep. There is no evidence that hypnosis in itself weakens the will, damages the nervous system or in any way adversely affects the physical or mental well being of individuals."

In conclusion, hypnosis is a force of nature like electricity.  And like electrical current, it can be used to illuminate or kill.  You determine how it used.  Learn how to determine the current of your life at the Minnesota Institute of Advanced Communication Skills for free by attending one of our free seminars.

Click here to return to Become A Certified Hypnotist

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