It sounds like the work of sorcerers and scam artists, but hypnosis can play a very real role in protecting and promoting health.
This isn’t the “You are getting very sleepy…” hypnosis you’re used to seeing in pop culture references, but a clinical procedure used in conjunction with other therapies and treatments, according to the American Psychological Association. Hypnosis for health benefits “should be conducted only by properly trained and credentialed health care professionals (e.g. psychologists) who also have been trained in the use of hypnosis and who are working within the limits of their professional expertise,” according to the APA’s website.
The “state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention” brought on by hypnosis may help us use our minds more powerfully, according to the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH). And harnessing the powers of the mind has inspired researchers and clinicians in various fields to explore the use of hypnosis in a number of health outcomes.
Medical hypnosis, sometimes called hypnotherapy, uses verbal repetition and/or mental imagery (facilitated by a hypnotherapist or one’s self) to induce a “trance-like state” of increased focus. It’s typically described as feeling calm and relaxing and usually opens people up to the power of suggestion, according to the Mayo Clinic.