Hypnotism: Are we really getting sleepy? Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 April 2017

Hypnotism: Are we really getting sleepy?

The history of hypnotism can be traced back to 4000 years ago where the use of hypnotism can be said to have emerged with human consciousness. Hieroglyphics and other manuscripts in ancient Egypt show evidence hypnotism and its use during the ancient times. By the eighteenth century, hypnotism began to obtain a scientific history. It started with Franz Anton Mesmer, a Viennese physician. Mesmer used magnets in treating his patients which later on became known as “mesmerism”. Mesmerism became popular during his time and it gained popularity not only in the science community but also in entertainment and in religion.

In the point of view of religion, Franz Anton Mesmer’s “mesmerism” does not work because of using magnets . On the contrary, it is the mental suggestions during the treatment which provided the patients with healing results. Due to this development or study conducted by the church, the word “mesmerism” was changed to “hypnosis”. This was thought up by a surgeon named James Braid in the year 1842 . He used the word “hypnosis” in relation to “Hypnos”. Hypnos is considered by the Greeks as the god of sleep .

The word “hypnosis” was also more appropriate to refer to the healing or treatment method because it creates a feeling of sleepiness or a sleep-like condition to the patients. However, during the year 1981, the contemporary definition of hypnosis still does not match the actual or real qualities of hypnosis. Another individual named Wallace tried to define hypnosis as a trance state. In addition to this, he refers to hypnosis to have a very relaxed and drowsy characteristic. In spite of this definition and all the claims about hypnosis in 1842, the real characteristics of hypnosis are sill unknown.

A claim that is able to provide sufficient evidence or basis with regards to hypnosis and the experiences of the patients with it still does not exist. The only acceptable claim or thoughts during this time is that hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness. Hypnosis, in this claim, shows that it is not similar to the waking state . However, this claim is still vague. At first, I was entirely into the discovery of how individuals become hypnotized. I wanted to learn the correlation between the alternate states of consciousness and hypnotism.

However, the implications provide a lot of options, several which are thought-provoking, to explore. One includes the point of view of neurobiology, where almost every information is an attention-grabber. Based from conclusion and the derivation of hypnosis, the correlation between the two states became a well-known theory where hypnosis is separated from normal waking consciousness and sleeping. Studies about the physical characteristics of these three subjects or aspects show that indeed, one aspect differs from the other and that hypnosis is indeed another state of consciousness.

First of all, unlike sleep, there are no observable changes in the basal metabolism, blood pressure and sugar and a change in respiratory rate in hypnosis. On the contrary, there is more alteration of blood flow when an individual is sleeping, unlike when he is under hypnosis. Moreover, there are undulatory eyeball movements in the case of sleep, unlike in hypnosis, where there is less or sometimes none. Sleep is also different from hypnosis because the patients are still able to communicate with the hypnotist. Also, the patients are aware of their environment while in hypnosis, unlike if they are sleeping.

Since it is different from sleeping, it is rather closely related to the waking state. However, hypnosis, there is no increase in the oral temperature and there are no larger vessels in the white of the eye in the waking state. In addition to this, there is no increase in venous blood flow through the limbs on patients under the waking or conscious state. A reliable basis for the difference between the two can be observed in electroencephalographic (EEG) patterns. There is no increase in the delta activity which can be noted while in waking state or sleeping state.

However, there is an increase while the patient is under hypnosis. In addition to this, there is an increased frequency activity among the patients . After understanding that hypnosis has an exclusive characteristic from sleep and the conscious state, then understanding their relationships would be necessary. This is due to the misconceptions which is present in the concept of hypnosis during the early period of its history. Based on evidences, there is a correlation between the three concepts or ideas. An example would be the common method of hypnosis where the patient is asked to relax and rendered vulnerable to immobilization.

This is done by repeatedly stating that the patient is feeling sleepy or that he is sleeping. By doing this act, the waking state is disturbed or interrupted to reach the status of being hypnotized. In other cases, hypnotism leads to sleepiness or vice versa. There are even drugs which can be utilized to induce sleep, and eventually hypnosis. In addition to this, the EEG would show that these three states are related to one another, where the progress would be observed from one phase to the other in a gradual manner.

All of these evidences seem to provide a basis where a correlation is present between the three states; sleep state, hypnotic state and conscious state. In addition to this, it would seem like there is a progressive pattern between these three states, where the level of consciousness is in increasing order from sleep to conscious state. On the contrary, there are still disagreements to this theory or pattern. According to these disagreements, a transitional period is present that simply mimics the hypnotic state.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 19 April 2017

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