Anisha AdkeHuman beings are creatures that are locked in their minds. We are perpetually subjected to the ramblings of our thoughts, the nature of our minds and the anxieties that come with human existence. And sometimes it is nice to be lifted out of your mind and allowed to float, above the body, above the consciousness, and allow the inner workings of your brain to rest.

This, of course, sounds impossible. Reaching such a state would be defying the exact nature of a human. However, we can reach this point through hypnosis. Now, I am perfectly aware of the stigma behind hypnosis. But I am not referring to the form of hypnosis that many are aware of: a magician waving a pendulum in front of one’s face before taking control of their mind. Hypnosis is much, much different than that.

In fact, it’s quite similar to a state of meditation. It is a psychological state in which certain physiological attributes superficially resemble sleep. However, while an individual is in this trance-like state, he or she is aware and functioning in a way that is more conscious than sleep. The subconscious shines through, and through heightened focus and concentration, the individual has the ability to concentrate intensely on a specific thought or memory, while blocking out sources of distractions.

In 1929, Hans Berger, a German neurologist and inventor of electroencephalography, measured human brain waves at different states of consciousness. His goal was to discover “the correlation between objective activity in the brain and subjective psychic phenomena.” Berger discovered four levels of the mind: delta, theta, alpha, and beta. The delta frequency is the state of total unconsciousness and the theta frequency is the frequency at which emotional and psychic experiences occur. The alpha frequency is the main range of the subconscious.

Daydreaming, dreaming, meditation, and hypnosis mainly occur here, however occasionally deep meditation and hypnosis can breach the level of theta frequency. Beyond the alpha frequency exists the beta frequency, which essentially is the conscious mind. The key to entering a hypnotic state is breaching from the beta frequency to the alpha frequency of mind.

A huge part of hypnosis is relaxation. The first step in hypnotic induction is to allow the patient to enter a state of deep emotional and physical relaxation. This allows the mind to slip into the alpha range and walk on the fine line between sleep and consciousness. Once this state is achieved, the subconscious mind is coaxed from the mind.

William Hewitt, a freelance writer and seasoned hypnotist, described the subconscious mind as “an obedient slave,” entirely lacking in reason and highly responsive to suggestions. It is here that hypnosis becomes extraordinarily useful. Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy that can be used to make changes in the subconscious, causing unconscious changes in a person. This eventually forms new responses, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors or feelings within the subject. Some of you may be laughing under your breath at the legitimacy of this, which I understand. However, there have been many studies that have showed that hypnotherapy is a highly effective form of treatment. In particular, hypnotherapy is said to be highly useful in treating those with dissociative disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Hypnosis’ uses include almost every personal problem one could have. Results have been shown while solving issues including habit control, substance abuse, addictions, weight loss, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, insomnia, guilt, pain control, concentration, procrastination, memory, speaking skills, money management, social confidence, self confidence and strengthening memories. Additionally, practices such as hypnobirthing and hypnosurgery do exist, but to questionable ends.

I am surprising myself by writing a column about hypnosis. To be quite honest, I knew nothing other than the stereotype before I began a research project for psychology. However, after delving more into the world of hypnosis and the subconscious and conducting a few self-experiments, I am beginning to believe in the legitimacy of hypnosis. I do believe that the subconscious mind has the power to heal individuals or improve certain areas. Although it has been proven that hypnosis can transform and heal an individual, it is not a very common form of therapy. My hope is that if someone reading this column is experiencing difficulty, they may benefit. Go into it with an open mind, and you could be surprised by the results. But if nothing else, you will get out of your mind for about an hour, which is something we could all use these days.

Anisha Adke is a senior at Lakeridge High School, and she writes a monthly column for the Review. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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