I would like to share with you some current medically based ideas about hypnosis that I was just reading about:
DAVID SPIEGEL , associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Stanford University, co-author Trance And Treatment
"It's been shown that the post-hypnotic suggestion to find one's own language incomprehensible causes regions of the brain specialized for processing language to react to meaningful words as if they were gibberish. The suggestion that one's sensation of intense heat or electric shock will be decreased results in the reduction of neural responses in brain regions that support the experience of touch and pain. It's as if the volume knobs on the experience of pain have been turned down. We're equipped with immense power to regulate [our] thoughts and emotions. The kicker is, this power can be used for better or worse: turning up the pain of a recent breakup, for instance, by focusing on thoughts of loss, or turning it down by focusing on a newfound freedom. The trick is to harness this power for well-being. Nature has clearly equipped our brains with the means to regulate the perception and meaning of worldly events. Luckily, this power is not only revealed through hypnosis but can be cultivated consciously by all of us."
MICHAEL NASH , professor of psychology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
"There is no broad consensus about how hypnosis works neurally. The most consistent neural finding is that hypnosis affects the functioning of the anterior cingulate, a frontal/limbic area. With people who have high hypnotic ability, it is possible to alter the functioning of the anterior cingulate such that the unpleasantness of pain disappears. There's evidence that hypnosis may affect functioning in other parts of the brain as well. If a hypnotized person looks at a picture in shades of grey but is told it's in colour, the colour perception areas of the brain become active. This does not happen if the person has low hypnotic ability."