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What Is Rapid Hypnosis?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated Jan 27, 2024
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Rapid hypnosis describes an induction method that quickly puts a subject into a trance-like state. It uses techniques to bypass the conscious mind and create focused attention on words or touches. Rapid hypnosis, also called instant hypnosis, typifies the procedure used by stage performers to hypnotize an entire group of people at once as entertainment.

The handshake induction illustrates one form of rapid hypnosis using non-verbal touch to momentarily confuse a person and shift his or her focus of attention. This method employs gentle touch by alternating strokes of fingers as a hand is released during a greeting. A person using the handshake form of rapid hypnosis might gently use his or her thumb and other fingers to lightly stroke the palm and underside of wrist as he or she releases the grip.

Proponents of this style of rapid hypnosis claim the sudden confusion causes the subject to become so absorbed in the unexpected touches, he or she goes into a trance-like state, and becomes susceptible to suggestion. Typically, the person attempting to hypnotize someone this way also uses direct eye contact to gauge whether hypnosis is successful. Some hypnotists use the handshake induction method to test a person’s ability to go into a trance.

Clinical hypnotists generally use progressive relaxation techniques to relax the patient and reach the subconscious mind. They might use a low, slow tone of voice to enhance relaxation while asking the patient to visualize a peaceful place. Some therapists ask the patient to breathe deeply and relax each time he or she exhales. The basic premise involves switching focus from the conscious mind to allow the unconscious mind to operate.

Studies show brain waves in the left brain slow down during hypnosis. This is the part of the brain that controls reasoning and logic. As a person relaxes, activity increases in the right part of the brain, the section that regulates creativity and sleep. Licensed hypnotherapists use this relaxed state of mind to offer suggestions to help a patient deal with problems.

Hypnosis might be effective to help some people stop smoking, lose weight, and manage pain. Research found patients who are hypnotized before surgery require fewer anesthesias and recovered more quickly than average. Natural childbirth techniques represent a form of rapid hypnosis to control pain when a woman focuses her attention on an object or her breathing.

Rapid hypnosis might also be practiced as self-hypnosis. People who learn how to produce a deep state of relaxation might be able to quickly put themselves into a trance with a few suggestions. Self-hypnosis might be used to succeed in a career, for success in sports, or to control impulsivity.

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