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The Science Behind Hypnotherapy

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Is there a scientific basis for hypnosis as a therapeutic practice that is backed by science? Science and hypnosis may seem to be opposites. However, more and more scientific literature in recent years has put forth valid arguments that hypnosis does indeed have a scientific basis. During hypnosis, a unique state of consciousness affects some significant brain regions.

Hypnosis performed during the eighteenth century was called ‘Mesmerism’ and said to involve an unusual force or magnetic field. This ‘scientific’ theory abandoned this premise for lack of evidence. In the area of modern psychology, two main approaches have competed for years to explain the extraordinary effects of hypnosis. One states theorists who claim that an altered state of consciousness happens. People who are considered to be highly suggestible enter a hypnotic trance in which they are willing to follow suggestions or exhibit strange behavior such as obeying suggestions, forgetting events, or performing embarrassing actions on cue. Non-state theorists believe that suggestibility and role play explain hypnotic effects. While there is a lot of ongoing scientific research, there is little agreement on the best explanation for the consequences of hypnosis.

Science plays a remarkable role in the world we live in, but not everything in the universe is clear. Scientists need proof in the form of randomized, double-blind studies and placebo-controlled crossover trials to base their scientific data. However, some medical professionals and scientists are beginning to realize the best uses of hypnotherapy and the limiting aspect of trying to prove all things scientifically. First-hand observational data with incredible results with miraculous changes to people’s lives after the use of hypnotherapy has happened. And scientific literature exists that suggest that there is, in fact, a neural basis that explains the effects of hypnosis.

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