What is hypnotism? How is it performed?« Back to Questions List

Hypnotism is an art of influencing the mental state of human being through focused attention and repeated instructions. Hypnotism results in an altered state of mind that behaves differently from the ordinary state of mind. Under hypnotism, mind responds to the direction of the hypnotist. This stage represents an enhanced state of mind to respond to suggestions or directions of hypnotist. ‘Hypnosis’ has its origin in the Greek word ‘hypnos’ meaning ‘state of sleep’.



Hypnotism was being practiced from ancient times. Franz A Mesmer, a doctor from Vienna conducted researches on hypnotism for a long time and the process was known, ‘mesmerism’ after his name. James Braid used the word hypnotism for teh first time in 1840. He was a surgeon from Scotland.

The person subjected to hypnotism, reaches the stage of drowsing. In this stage, his brain is influenced by the directions of the hypnotist. For performing hypnotism, the person should express his consent and should be fully co-operative. Hypnotism cannot be performed on a person without his consent. 

The person to be hypnotized is made to sit in a dark room. The hypnotist makes him sit comfortably and relax through repeated suggestion in calm voice. He is then asked to concentrate his attention and focus eyes on some object. When he follows the step, his eyes start getting tired. At this stage, he is asked to close his eyes and he reaches a state of sleep. The hypnotist starts giving his suggestions and directions. The subject responds and obeys the hypnotist. 


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Hypnotism can take the level of mind to another state, where he can be made to feel as if he is deaf, dumb or blind. He can be frightened and made to shiver.  Under the influence of hypnotism a person does things which he are unlikely to be done in a state of consciousness. When he comes back to normalcy, he cannot remember his behavior during hypnotized state. Hypnosis can be performed by the person himself and this method is called self hypnosis or autohypnosis. 

Hypnotism is effectively used in supporting persons having mental anxiety. It is also applied for operating patients without applying anesthesia. Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that utlises the power of hypnotism and positive suggestion to bring about changes in subconscious mind to alter our thoughts and behavior in a positive way. 

Hypnosis is a serious affair and can become harmful when undertaken by untrained persons. Hypnotism should be performed only by a medically qualified person. 


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