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Hypnotherapy has such a tainted past in some ways. In the public mind it is unfortunately often associated with stage hypnosis and magic. I recently read someone say that if it was renamed Neuromodulation not only would it help break that link with the past but would also be a more accurate description of what it’s really about.

The word hypnosis, as many of you will be aware, comes from the name of the Greek God of sleep – Hypnos. Anyone who has experienced hypnotherapy will be fully aware that they were not asleep, although anyone observing them might be under that impression. Generally the trance state of hypnosis often involves eye closure and the body is usually still. However, this is not always the case – children often keep their eyes open and move about whilst still accessing a focused trance state. There are also proponents of open eyed hypnotherapy.

So what can be seen neurologically when a hypnotic state occurs? In the case of pain, a study in 2000 published in Anesthesiology – The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesioligists – concluded that both the intensity and unpleasantness of pain are reduced during the hypnotic state. In addition, hypnotic modulation of pain is mediated by the anterior cingulate cortex (an area within our ” emotional ” limbic system).

The Meriam-Webster dictionary defines the word modulate as : to change or adjust (something) so that it exists in a balanced or proper amount. In the above case the subjective perception of pain was therefore modulated to a more balanced state.

So it seems that the term Neuromodulation would appear to be a far more accurate name for the process. What do you think? Would you prefer to visit a Hypnotherapist or a Neuromodulator? Let me know. Given enough votes I may be your local Neuromodulator soon.


Neural Mechanisms of Antinociceptive Effects of Hypnosis Faymonville, Marie Elisabeth M.D., Ph.D., Laureys, Steven M.D., Ph.D., Degueldre, Christian Ph.D., DelFiore, Guy Ph.D., Luxen, André Ph.D., Franck, Georges M.D., Ph.D., Lamy, Maurice M.D., Ph.D., Maquet, Pierre M.D., Ph.D.

Anesthesiology: May 2000 – Volume 92 – Issue 5 – pp 1257-1267 Clinical Investigations

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