Hypnosis - A Great Mental Tool
   Date :24-Sep-2023

Hypnosis is a subject of great curiosity for common persons. Hypnosis is a Greek word meaning sleep.The history of modern hypnosis may be traced back to F A Mesmer, a German doctor who presented his dissertation at the University of Vienna, Austria about cosmic fluid present in human body. He used to treat patients by applying magnets to their bodies. According to his belief there was a cosmic fluid present in the human body which got activated by a magnet and cured it. Hypnosis is called mesmerism also after the name of Dr Mesmer. The theory of cosmic fluid was modified by one of his disciples named Marquis de Puysegur as electric. He used to treat patients under a tree and he believed that the tree had innate healing power. During his treatment he found that some of his patients had entered a somnambulistic state, but were still communicating and expressive. That was the hypnotic trance . Hypnotic trance was mainly used to relieve pain. Many doctors had performed surgeries under this hypnotic trance. In India one Scottish doctor named James Esdail ( 1808- 1859) performed many surgeries, using these techniques. He used to call it magnetic sleep. French physicians A A Liebeault and H Bernheim suggested that hypnosis is a normal phenomenon and expectation is the most important factor in it.
Increased suggestibility is the essential symptom which works on the patient by mental influence. The great psychologist Sigmund Freud studied hypnosis and recognised the unconscious state through it. But he rejected the possibility of unlocking repressed emotions through hypnosis. He devised the method of psychoanalysis favouring his theory of free association and dream interpretation. But in the mid fifties hypnosis again emerged as a great tool in the field of curing diseases and even today hypnotherapy is very effective in treatment of many ailments. In the IndianYogic system hypnosis may be compared to Prana Vidya. According to this branch of Yoga, there flows life energy in the body. Through differentYogic techniques this life energy can be rotated in different parts of the body for healing purposes. In some of the Yogic and Tantric texts we find mention of Mohini Vidya or Vashikarana where an adept practitioner takes control of the mind of others by using different mental techniques. Psychology suggests that the human mind has two layers- conscious and subconscious. The conscious layer is the awakening state, while the subconscious contains all our phobia, habits , deeply ingrained behavioural patterns. Through hypnosis an artificial sleep is generated and the subject is transported to his subconscious state of the mind. There are many techniques to induce the hypnotic trance.
These techniques may be learnt from some certified hypnotist. Stress release, removal of phobias, reprogramming of the mind, increasing focus, improving athletic performance, etc are some of the benefits of hypnosis. An expert hypnotist easily induces one to this hypnotic state. But everyone is not amenable to hypnotic trance. During hypnotic trance suggestions are given which are picked up by the subconscious mind and required change is observed in the behaviour. The subconscious mind has no reasoning. It accepts the suggestions given to it. One person can hypnotise oneself also and it is called self-hypnosis. For stress release and tackling anxiety, the following simple hypnosis exercise is very effective; Lie down on the bed on your back. Observe breath for five minutes. Bring attention to your toes and visualise that they are relaxed. From toes bring attention to upper parts of the body visualising relaxation. After ten minutes a light hypnotic state is generated relaxing the entire body and mind. Positive suggestions may be mentally uttered. This is like the practice of Yoga Nidra. (The writer is DG Police & CG, Homeguards, Maharashtra)