There exist a lot of misconceptions about hypnosis. The descriptions are given in certain books, films and picture stories also tend to promote such misunderstandings. Popular understanding is that some people have superhuman powers and mental powers gained through Pranayama, Yoga, training using skulls, activities facing the sun, training that claims to improve eyesight, etc. It is also believed that a mentally stronger hypnotist conquers the weaker ones and that hypnosis is the resultant phenomenon. Often times, the contributions of modern science are used to spread superstitions and turn people into mental patients.
What is hypnosis?
Does a hypnotist have superhuman powers?
Can we know the details of the past life of a person by hypnotizing her/him?
Are there any disadvantages in subjecting an individual to hypnosis?
Can all kinds of people be hypnotized?
These are some of the questions which normally people tend to ask about hypnosis. In order to find the answers to these questions, one has to understand what sleep is, what is the difference between normal and hypnotic state and the relationship between the mind and the body.
What is the Anatomy of Sleep? What Happens During Sleep?
During sleep, the muscles in the body are in a relaxed state. The heart functions slow down. The breathing becomes unhurried.
Sleep is regulated in the brain. Sleep is an incredibly important part of our biology, and neuroscientists are beginning to explain why it is so very important.
When you’re asleep, a part of the brain doesn’t shut down. In fact, some areas of the brain are actually more active during the sleep state than during the awake state. The other thing that’s really important about sleep is that it doesn’t arise from a single structure within the brain, but is to some extent a network property. Our biological clock tells us when it’s good to be up when it’s good to be asleep, and what that structure does is interact with a whole raft of other areas within the hypothalamus, the lateral hypothalamus, the ventrolateral preoptic nuclei. All of those combined, and they send projections down to the brain stem here. The brain stem then projects forward and bathes the cortex, this wonderfully wrinkly bit over here, with neurotransmitters that keep us awake and essentially provide us with our consciousness. So sleep arises from a whole raft of different interactions within the brain, and essentially, sleep is turned on and off as a result of a range of interactions in here.
So why do we sleep?
There are dozens of different ideas about why we sleep. The first is sort of the restoration idea, and it is somewhat intuitive. Essentially, all the stuff we’ve burned up during the day, we restore, we replace, we rebuild during the night.
What about energy conservation? Again, perhaps intuitive. You essentially sleep to save calories. Although, when you do the mathematics, though, it doesn’t really pan out. If you compare an individual who has slept at night, or stayed awake and hasn’t moved very much, the energy-saving of sleeping is about 110 calories a night.
But the third idea is brain processing and memory consolidation. What we know is that, if after you’ve tried to learn a task, you sleep-deprived individuals, the ability to learn that task is smashed. It is in fact hugely attenuated. So sleep and memory consolidation is also very important. However, it’s not just the laying down of memory and recalling it. What has turned out to be really exciting is that our ability to come up with novel solutions to complex problems is hugely enhanced by a night of sleep. In fact, it’s been estimated to give us a threefold advantage. Sleeping at night enhances our creativity. And what seems to be going on is that, in the brain, those neural connections that are important, those synaptic connections that are important, are linked and strengthened, while those that are less important tend to fade away and be less important.
So we have had three explanations for why we might sleep, and the important thing to realize is that the details will vary, and it is probable we sleep for multiple different reasons. But sleep is not an indulgence. It is not some sort of thing that we can take on board rather casually.
One of the things that the brain does is indulge in microsleeps, this involuntary falling asleep, and you have essentially no control over it. Now, micro-sleeps can be sort of somewhat embarrassing.
We need eight hours of sleep a night. That’s an average. Some people need more. Some people need less. All you need to do is listen to your body. Do you need that much or do you need more? It is as simple as that.
There is a belief that old people need less sleep. This is a misconception. The sleep demands of the aged do not go down. Essentially, sleep fragments and becomes less robust, but sleep requirements do not go down.
Sleep is regulated in the brain. The physical and mental functions are controlled by the brain. The brain can be divided into two hemispheres. Each of these has an Outer Cortex. And they both meet below at the Brain Stem. This then extends even lower till the Spinal Cord. The brain is covered by the skull.
When we are awake, the two hemispheres in the brain become active. The electric currents emerging from the brain stem, lying at the base of the brain, is the reason for aggravating activities in the outer cover of the brain and spinal cord. When the body is awake, the brain stem produces an electric current in the nerves. The hemispheres and spinal cord thereby become active. Being awake in this way helps us successfully face what is happening around us in a reasonable manner.
The brain center, which regulates the wakeful state, is located at the root of the brain. It is the cortex, the brain cover, which actually does the thinking.
The memories in the wakeful state do not disturb us during long sleep. Thoughts that disturb our mind produce vibrations in the brain stem. This inspires the body to remain awake to find solutions to those thoughts. This is how sleeplessness occurs.
What Are The Advantages Of Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is helpful for people who work in the artistic fields to rise high in their careers by involving in creative activities and management professionals to shine well in their activities. The possibilities of hypnosis have become beneficial to solving cases in the field of crime investigation. Familiarizing oneself with the primer of hypnosis is helpful in succeeding in the activities we get to involve in our daily life.
When the complex human mind is given instructions by focusing its attention after making them reach a calm and beautiful state, changes happen in its characteristics and behaviour. Learning is related to concentration. So hypnosis is able to make creative contributions in the field of education. The environment in which each one has grown up with affects her/ his education significantly. Each human being maintains her/ his uniqueness during various stages of growing up and development. Sociologists say that the damages occurring in the process of socialization are capable of adversely affecting education. Students face many problems related to studies. Exam fear, memory deficit, lack of interest in studies, lack of concentration, etc. are just a few of them. The method of learning is very important. Learning without understanding the ideas can affect memory. Learning becomes interesting when the idea has been understood and impressions are made on the unknown realms of mind after revving it onto a story. A swift advancement is then possible in the learning path.
Hypnosis is effective in overcoming memory deficits. It is possible to increase the memory power, concentration and imaginative powers available in human beings by giving instructions after mitigating any mental stress and getting the mind to a peaceful state. The memory power stimulated in the hypnotic state is known as Hypermnesia. Learning becomes interesting when the various subjects are stored in the mind after revving the ideas in a creative manner by stimulating the memory.
Hypnosis is making vital contributions to modern psychiatric treatment. Hypnotic methods are more effective than other treatment methods in solving certain minor mental disorders.