Hypnosis, also called "hypnotherapy" or "hypnotic suggestion," is a trance-like state in which you experience heightened focus and concentration. Hypnosis is usually done with the help of a therapist who uses verbal repetition and mental imagery. When a person is under the influence of hypnosis, they usually feel calm and relaxed and are more open to suggestions.

Hypnosis can be used to help you control unwanted behaviors or to help you better cope with anxiety or pain. You must know that although you will be more open to receiving suggestions during hypnosis, you will not lose control of your behavior.

Hypnotherapy can be an effective method of coping with stress and anxiety. In particular, hypnosis can reduce stress and anxiety before a medical procedure, such as a breast biopsy.

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Hypnosis has been studied for other conditions, including:

• Pain control. Hypnosis can help relieve pain from burns, cancer, childbirth, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint problems, dental procedures, and headaches.
• Hot flushes. Hypnosis can ease the symptoms of hot flashes associated with menopause.
• Changes in behavior Hypnosis has been used with relative success in the treatment of insomnia, nocturnal enuresis, smoking, and excessive food consumption.
• Side effects of cancer treatment. Hypnosis has been used to alleviate side effects related to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
• Mental health disorders. Hypnosis can help treat symptoms of anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress.

Hypnosis performed by a trained health professional or therapist is considered a safe, complementary, and alternative medical treatment. However, hypnosis may not be suitable for people with severe mental illness.

Adverse reactions to hypnosis are rare, but may include the following:

• Headache
• Drowsiness
• Dizziness
Anxiety or suffering
• Creating false memories

Be careful before using hypnosis as a way to overcome stressful past events in your life. This practice can cause strong emotions and lead to the creation of false memories.

You don't need special preparation to undergo hypnosis. But it is a good idea to wear comfortable clothes that help you relax. Also, make sure you're well-rested so that you don't tend to fall asleep during the session.

Choose a therapist or healthcare professional who is qualified to perform hypnosis. Seek the recommendation of someone you trust. Get to know the therapist you are considering.

The therapist will explain the hypnosis process and discuss the goals of the treatment. The therapist will then speak, usually in a gentle and calm tone, describing images that create a sense of relaxation, security, and well-being.

When you are in a receptive state, the therapist will suggest ways to achieve your goals, such as reducing pain or eliminating the urge to smoke. The therapist can also help you visualize vivid and meaningful mental images of yourself as you reach your goals.

At the end of the session, you can come out of hypnosis on your own, or the therapist can help you come out of the relaxed state.

Unlike the way hypnosis is often portrayed in movies or on television, you don't lose control over your behavior while under hypnosis. Also, you usually stay conscious and remember what happens during hypnosis.

Over time, you can practice self-hypnosis, in which you induce yourself into a state of hypnosis. You can use this skill as needed, for example after a chemotherapy session.

While hypnosis can be effective in helping people cope with pain, stress, and anxiety, cognitive-behavioral therapy is considered the first-line treatment for these conditions. Hypnosis can also be part of comprehensive smoking cessation or weight loss program.

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Does hypnosis work? There's evidence backing it up for weight loss, addiction and more.