Hypnotech – Technology for Hypnosisby Lorena Nessi, PhD, MA | August 31, 2015
A balancing pendulum, a soothing voice and a pair of starry, deep and focused eyes are amongst the common elements imagined when attempting to get into a hypnotic state. Can technology help?
Reaching a state of hypnosis seems to be much simpler with the use of an app or computer. Personally, I have to say that I have used some self-hypnosis techniques which seemed to work. But there does not seem to be any scientific evidence to support their efficacy.
Mystique and debate
Hypnosis is one of those mysterious states of human consciousness known to be the subject of much debate. Some critical views support the idea that it is nothing more than a relaxation technique or a state of heightened suggestibility highly shaped by the existing expectations of the “hypnotised” subject.
According to a range of studies, there is no strong scientific evidence to support the use of hypnosis and this is why it is often spoken of in terms of the placebo effect.
A complementary tool
However, according to many hypnotherapists and proponents of the practice, hypnosis can be a rich resource as well as a popular complementary tool in the treatment of a range of medical conditions and day to day challenges such as stopping smoking, losing weight, overcoming traumas, pain and anxiety and even giving birth naturally with minimum pain relief.
It has also been used to be a complementary therapy in the treatment of skin conditions, irritable bowel syndrome and sleep related conditions.
Hypnosis procedures involve a series of instructions and suggestions which can help us to focus and concentrate in order to then follow further instructions usually designed to help us to achieve a specific goal.
Hypnosis in a gadget
Self-hypnosis techniques can involve the use of gadgets, apps or computers. On the internet we can find a huge range of resources such as written texts, music, videos and audio tracks with instructions, all of which are supposed to be resources which lead us in to a hypnotic state.
Often these materials are supported by other resources such as books and one-to-one or group live courses. It is also possible to find a large number of apps for iPhone and Android on this topic.
According to a recent study which unearthed an astounding 1,455 apps designed for hypnosis for sale on iTunes, it is necessary for users to be aware of issues in responsible app development and use, since none of these apps had been tested for efficacy, or had any evidence offered in support of their functionality.
However, the researchers in this study did conclude that using such apps can be potentially a tool for achieving hypnotic states. It is just that again, technological experimentation and production is racing ahead of the supporting scientific and social science fields surrounding its use, and the popularity of apps designed for a certain function is booming even while the field of related study is itself languishing somewhat.
Marc I, Toureche N, Ernst E, Hodnett ED, Blanchet C, Dodin S, & Njoya MM (2011). Mind-body interventions during pregnancy for preventing or treating women’s anxiety. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews (7) PMID: 21735413
Sucala, M., Schnur, J., Glazier, K., Miller, S., Green, J., & Montgomery, G. (2013). Hypnosis—There’s an App for That:
International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 61 (4), 463-474 DOI: 10.1080/00207144.2013.810482
Webb AN, Kukuruzovic R, Catto-Smith AG, Sawyer SM. Hypnotherapy for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD005110. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005110.pub2.
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