People choose to get hypnotized for a number of reasons. According to Penn Medicine, research has shown that the practice can help with sleep problems; anxiety; irritable bowel syndrome; chronic pain; quitting smoking; and weight loss.
Researchers have found that, during guided hypnosis, certain areas of the brain that are responsible for controlling your body show more activity during the process (via Stanford Medicine). Several doctors told Time that, despite what media misrepresentations may lead you to believe, hypnosis has been shown to help with weight loss, pain management, and smoking cessation.
Although the consensus is that hypnosis is a legitimate medical treatment, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone or that it’s always the best option. For example, if you’re experiencing chronic pain, the first thing you should do is get a medical evaluation to determine whether or not you have a condition that requires surgery or specific medical treatment (via Cleveland Clinic).
People living with certain conditions should avoid hypnosis
Per Heathline, some people use hypnosis as part of their treatment regimen for mental illnesses like depression and anxiety disorder. But if someone has a mental illness that includes symptoms like hallucinations and delusions, hypnosis is probably not the best option. Overall, the biggest risk associated with hypnosis is false memories, also known as confabulations.
As reported by Very Well Mind, people who experience mental health struggles as adults sometimes wonder if these issues are related to repressed memories of childhood abuse. The outlet notes that certain adults don’t remember incidents of childhood abuse because they disassociated in order to protect themselves.
While it is easier to access memories during hypnosis, the problem is that hypnosis puts you in a state where your mind is more imaginative. Certain hypnotherapists who believe their client has been abused may inadvertently guide their mind to create false memories. Although it’s certainly possible to access real memories of child abuse during hypnosis, it’s not a reliable way to determine whether or not childhood abuse occurred.
Before going to a hypnotist, be sure to check in with your doctor or psychiatrist to tell them what problem you hope to address and ask if they have any concerns.
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