“Hypnosis” comes from the Greek word ipnos meaning “sleep”, but really hypnosis is not a sleep state, rather a natural state of deep relaxation. For most people this means lowering the brainwave frequency from waking (beta) to (alpha), the same level as in meditation. Some experienced meditators may just naturally drop into the lower (theta) brainwave range during hypnosis, a level at which we start to merge in and out of conscious awareness, but we are not asleep and our subconscious mind is fully alert.
Many people are under the misconception that hypnosis is something magical and mystical where we totally lose awareness of where we are and what is happening to us. No wonder some people are frightened of hypnosis! I have also had a number of people ringing me up to “take the spell/curse off them” that someone has allegedly put on them with “hypnosis”. It seems hypnosis is akin to voodoo for some.
The reality, however, is that hypnosis is a natural state of relaxation where the activity of the conscious mind slows down while the subconscious mind remains alert and active. It is a form of focused concentration by the subconscious mind. Have you ever tried to communicate to someone watching their favourite show on television, only to be met with absolutely no response? Well that person has been “hypnotized” by the TV set and their conscious mind has been switched down or off, so consciously they really are not hearing you. Obviously at some level they are comfortable like this otherwise the conscious mind would not allow itself to relax down this way.
There is a well-known saying in hypnotherapy circles, “All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.” No one can force you to be hypnotised against your will. Even that 35% of the population with controlling personalities will often need extra support and guidance to surrender control temporarily during a hypnotherapy session.
The main difference between meditation and hypnosis is that in meditation the person often has the intention to turn off both the conscious and subconscious mind through use of something like the mantra “ohm”, whereas in hypnosis the subconscious mind remains alert and active. Of course this distinction blurs when we listen to a guided meditation or visualisation on a CD as we are keeping the subconscious mind active and are actually doing self-hypnosis.
A vividly imagined scene or experience in a relaxed hypnotic state is interpreted as reality by the subconscious mind, so it is little wonder self-hypnosis has the potential to be an amazing healing tool for personal growth and stress management.

Effective self-hypnosis will include finding a quiet place to sit or lie comfortably for at least 20 minutes where you will not be disturbed, creating a relaxing ambience with a rug, and maybe relaxation music, candles and aromatherapy oils. Set your intention for the session, such as for relaxation, getting rid of emotional rubbish, detaching yourself from troublesome people and so on. You may like to record some self-hypnosis scripts in your voice, being conscious of timing, intonation and voice modulation. If you don’t like listening to the sound of your own voice, you may like to get a friend to record it in their voice. Alternatively, just memorize the basic outline of a script and you will be able to lead yourself through it in trance.
Each of your self-hypnosis sessions should ideally start with an Induction, such as deep breathing, to start relaxing down, a Deepening Technique, such as walking down steps, to deepen the relaxation even further, a Healing Focus for the session and then a Count-up to bring you back to full waking consciousness when you are ready. You might also like to imagine setting a timer on a clock at the start of your self-hypnosis so that the timer goes off after the desired number of minutes and brings you back to full waking consciousness.
If I get a short break in between clients I will often drop into a “power nap” mini self-hypnosis with the intention to be back at full alertness five minutes before my next client arrives. Works every time, regardless of whether the client is early or late!
Never listen to guided visualizations or self-hypnosis scripts while driving a car or operating machinery. Self-hypnosis is contraindicated for people suffering from grand mal epilepsy or psychosis as there is a slight risk the altered brainwave state may trigger an episode.

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Author's Bio: 

Michelle Mayur is the creative Conscious Entrepreneur behind the Heal the Healer Membership and Mentoring Program. http://www.heal-the-healer.com. A published author of Angels Are Watching, she is based in Melbourne, Australia and has worked as a professional healer in private practice since 1995 at Angel Wings Healing, specializing in Spiritual Healing, Clinical Hypnotherapy and Reiki. Contact michelle@heal-the-healer.com.