Research

Does hypnosis work? And can you quit smoking with it?

What do you know about hypnosis?For example, I have always thought that hypnosis is a kind of self-hypnosis and that there are both hypnotizable people and those who do not react in any way to the work of a hypnotherapist. In short, I'm pretty skeptical about hypnosis, but is my skepticism justified? In trying to figure out if hypnosis works, I stumbled upon a large amount of scientific research on the topic and was very surprised. According to scientific research, hypnosis is really effective, for example, if your goal is to quit smoking. Yes, yes, my colleagues in tobacco, it turns out, hypnosis is quite a good way to part with this destructive habit. Many people find it extremely difficult to quit smoking, so much so that it can take about 30 attempts to quit successfully! And yet, quitting tobacco is one of the best gifts for oneself - smoking leads to the development of cancer and other dangerous diseases. So maybe you should try hypnosis as a way to get rid of tobacco slavery? Of course, the fight against addiction is a difficult path, but you hardly want to die a couple of years earlier, and even in torment. Here we go?

The debate about the effectiveness of hypnosis has been going on for a long time. But what does science say about this?

Content

  • 1 How does hypnosis work?
  • 2 One interesting experiment
  • 3 Will hypnosis help you quit smoking?
  • 4 No smoking, pardon

How does hypnosis work?

When we are awake, information is processed andtransmitted by different parts of our brain - this process provides flexible responses to external stimuli. Moreover, recently researchers from the University of Turku, Finland, found that during hypnosis the brain goes into a special state - its individual areas act more independently of each other.

In a normal waking state, variousareas of the brain exchange information with each other, but during hypnosis, this process seems to be disrupted, and different areas of the brain are no longer synchronized in this way, explains one of the authors of the scientific work Henry Railo from the University of Turku.

This discovery shows that the brain can function completely differently during hypnosis compared to the normal waking state.It turned out that hypnosis not only changes the neural processing of information in the brain, but also helps to better understand what types of changes can explain the changes in experience and behavior associated with hypnosis.

We are all hypnotizable to one degree or another, and science confirms this.

Despite the growing interest in clinicalthe potential of hypnosis, little is known about its neurocognitive basis. The authors of the new study were interested in how hypnotizability relates to executive function and information processing.

See also: Why do "clairvoyants" hear the voices of ghosts?

One interesting experiment

So the research focused on one thing.a person who took part in such studies more than once, and as it was shown, reacted strongly to hypnotic suggestions. This means that during hypnosis, the subject could experience, for example, vivid and controlled hallucinations. Here is what the scientists themselves write about the experiment:

Although these results requireFurther studies on a larger sample of subjects, we demonstrated what changes occur in the nervous activity of a person who reacts especially strongly to hypnosis, explains Jarno Tuominen, senior researcher at the Department of Psychology and Pathology of Speech at the University of Turku.

Remember the hypnotoad from Futurama? All glory to the hypnotoad!

During the experiment, the researchers trackedhow a magnetically induced electric current travels through the brain during hypnosis and while awake. This method has previously been used to measure changes in the brain in various states of consciousness such as anesthesia, coma, and sleep. And the new study is the first of its kind. So hypnosis works?

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Will hypnosis help you quit smoking?

According to the World Health Organization(WHO), over 1.1 billion people smoke worldwide. While this may sound like a shockingly high number - and it is - the number of people who smoke is actually shrinking worldwide - today there are 29 million fewer smokers than in 2000.

Smoking is the single leading causecancer worldwide, cause 70% of all lung cancers and has even been found to accelerate aging. Thus, smoking is more dangerous to health than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, car accidents and firearm-related incidents combined.

You will be wondering: Why is there cigarette smoke even in non-smoking areas?

But there is a small problem - to refuse thishabits are hard. Only a few manage to say goodbye to cigarettes forever on the first try. So maybe you should try hypnosis? Another curious study has shown that the propensity to respond to hypnosis is associated with cognitive flexibility. The results show that people with higher levels of hypnotizability tend to switch better between different mental attitudes.

In a state of hypnosis, our brain works differently.

I am especially interested in understanding cognitiveand neural mechanisms underlying therapeutic processes. In other words, I'm working on a study of how neurocognitive interventions lead to better symptoms, '' explains study author Afik Faerman (@Afikfaerman) of the University of Palo Alto.

Hypnosis has proven to be an excellent non-pharmacological alternative to several psychological and medical smoking cessation strategies. But still, not everyone gets the same benefits from hypnosis... The authors of the scientific work wanted to understand why hypnosis is effective for some, but not very much for others.

See also: What role does dopamine play in social media addiction?

During the study, scientists asked 545potential subjects to complete the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. From this initial sample, 72 participants were selected based on the high and particularly low scores on the hypnotizability test.

Then the selected subjects passed twoneuropsychological tests that were used to assess the cognitive phenomenon of hypnotizability. Test results have shown a link between people's ability to respond to suggestions in hypnosis and how easily they can switch between different cognitive states.

Quitting smoking prolongs life, no more, no less

In practice, the more hypnotizable a person is, the easier it is for him to abandon the old system of rules and move on to new ones.

The researchers also predicted thatHypnotizability is associated with higher performance on simple attention tasks - and lower performance on more complex cognitive tasks. However, the results of neuropsychological tests found no evidence this assumption.

In other words, in scientific circles there is still no singleopinions about the neurocognitive mechanisms of hypnosis, and much remains to be done to better understand this process. To identify several areas of the brain with altered activity and connectivity during a hypnotic state, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging. However, knowledge of the brain mechanisms underlying hypnosis is still a mystery to scientists.

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No smoking, pardon

So is it possible to quit smoking through hypnosis?Very similar to that. Another study that sought to determine if hypnosis would help people quit smoking or if standard therapy would be more effective, as shown by the results of another scientific study. A total of 286 smokers took part in the experiment.

If you are hypnotizable (you can take the test) - hypnosis will really help you quit smoking.

The results showed that 26% of the subjectsabstained from smoking for 6 months compared with 18% of the control group (did not use hypnosis). Moreover, 20% of the subjects abstained from smoking for 12 months! (Compared to 14% of the control group).

This is interesting: How to recognize addiction to TV shows and get rid of a bad habit?

Interestingly, among the subjects with depression inmedical history, hypnosis was found to be more effective than in healthy subjects. It turns out that quitting smoking using hypnosis is not such a bad idea. How do you feel about hypnosis and would you agree to a hypnotherapy session to get rid of bad habits? We will wait for the answer here, as well as in the comments to this article.