You’d be surprised how much scientific research has been focused on hypnosis. According to this article in Penn State News, there have been more than 12,000 scientific articles on the subject! Technology is giving researchers more and more toys to use in their studies, including brain imaging techniques that let them see how brain activity changes under hypnosis. It changes a lot!
People in a hypnotic trance tend to be very relaxed, that kind of delicious relaxation where you’d prefer to enjoy it and not talk or move much. This lethargy is misleading, because it conceals a heightened level of mental activity. With this heightened level of mental ability, more than ever, it’s easy to think, imagine, remember, face previously troublesome issues serenely, connect with all your mental, physical, and emotional resources, make decisions that are right for you, and change.
Some of the researchers even admit that their results are gloomier than they should be. Why? For one thing, research often uses whichever student volunteers can be rounded up at the moment, rather than people who are truly motivated to change. Also, for consistency, researchers often use specific, standardized techniques for a fixed number of sessions, rather than tailoring the approach to the individual and continuing until the job is done. And finally, sometimes researchers without much experience or passion for hypnotherapy will do the hypnosis, simply because they’re available.