The term “hypnosis” conjures images of hypnotists swinging pendulums and slowly chanting “You are getting sleepy.” But for a growing number of clinicians, hypnotherapy is serious business, with exciting treatment potential. Therapeutic hypnotism has been shown to manage conditions as diverse as chronic pain, insomnia, and eating disorders, according to the Mayo Clinic.
And now, some practitioners believe that hypnotherapy can be an alternative or supplemental treatment to help manage ADHD symptoms.If you’ve ever lost yourself in a movie or daydreamed through a boring conversation, you’ve experienced the kind of trance-like state hypnotists induce. Kimberly Fishbach, Psy.D., of New York Health Hypnosis and Integrative Therapy, says that people with ADHD are excellent candidates for hypnotherapy because they are naturally prone to slipping into these deep, imaginative states.Hypnosis is usually done by a trained therapist using verbal repetition and mental images.
When under hypnosis, people often feel calm and relaxed, and are more open to suggestion. This altered state of consciousness, Fishbach adds, “heightens awareness and increases a sense of focus.”It’s been more than 200 years since German physician Franz Mesmer (whose work gives us the word “mesmerize”) first used unorthodox, and long-debunked, methods of hypnosis.
Today, thanks to brain-imaging technology, neuroscientists are beginning to understand what happens in the brain during hypnotherapy.In 2017, researchers studying hypnosis used fMRI scans to discover changes in activation and increased connectivity between brain regions that support attention and emotional control. They also found that slipping into a hypnotized state involved the same brain networks
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