Highway hypnosis: by car in trance

Highway hypnosis: by car in trance

Three-part article about highway hypnosis and going into a trance in the car.

The sea can hypnotize

The sea possesses a power of moods, which works as a will. The sea can hypnotize. Nature can do that in general. The great secret is the dependence of the human will on the “without will”. Henrik Ibsen writes this in his notes on his play “De Vrouw van de Zee” The Woman of the Sea. (Clara Stuyver p. 29)

Geopsychology

In 1911 Ibsen receives acclaim from Willy Hellpach. He notes in his book Geopsyche that the rustling of the sea creates a slight hypnosis. Hellpach compares the sea to waterfalls and forest noise, which he all scissors among the hypnoids. Relaxation of body and mind is the result.
Hellpach points out that the colors green and blue dominate the landscape. These natural colours are soothing and create a serene mood. It’s not just the natural landscape that has this quality. The human-dominated landscape also has this influence.

White stripes & imagination

Kirchners hypnosis drawing

Athanasius Kircher describes in his ‘Ars magna lucis et umbrae’, a wonderful example of the imagination of chickens. He ties the legs of a chicken with a string and puts the animal on the ground. After some floundering and shouting, the beast lies still, “as if in its fruitless attempts, it despairs of flight, and surrenders to the arbitrariness of the victor.”

Then Kircher draws a straight line with chalk, for each chicken eye, and loosens the rope: the animal remains motionless, even after trying to hunt it down. Kircher concludes that the chicken imagines that the pinstripe is the rope, with which it is bound to the legs as before, and thus cannot stand up.
Professor J.N. Czermak (1826-1872) takes a particularly wild and shy chicken and lets her hold firmly despite fierce opposition and shouting by a servant. He then presses the neck and head on the tabletop with his left hand and pulls a straight pinstripe on the table with his other hand, from the end of the beak.

Released, the animal remains on the table for quite some time, panting but motionless, and lets itself turn on the back without waking up or trying to get out of this unnatural position. Czermak is surprised by this, but does not accept Kircher’s declaration of ‘the imagination’ of the chicken. He wipes out the pinstripe and the chicken stays down.

New tests without chalk and without strings yield the same result. Only holding and pressing neck and head in a straight line have the same effect: the animal remains motionless. The alleged ‘portrayal’ of chickens has been refuted. The same tests with ducks, geese, turkeys and once a shy, very wild swan, run the same way: the animals remain immobile for a while, no matter how difficult and forced their posture is.
With chickens that Czermak uses more often, it doesn’t always work. New wild chickens are the most suitable. In pigeons, all tests fail. That’s why Czermak abandons his first hypothesis. According to him, it is not true that holding and pressing down in a straight line of the neck and head cause some kind of tension or rupture in parts of the brain of the spinal cord followed by a temporary nerve slackening. If this guess was correct, it would also work with pigeons.
In the meantime, it appears that tying the legs and the pinstripes are unnecessary, but not without meaning. Through follow-up research, Czermak discovers that three things work together to obtain the result:

  1. the gentle but irresistible violence, the muscles affected in the holding of the recalcitrant, fearful animal,
  2. the pressure on the nerves of the skin that is unavoidable when touching, holding or binding the animals, and
  3. the seemingly nonsensical pinstripes,

Often you can bring a chicken, which is ‘enchanted’ just beforehand, awake and flown away, in the same state of numbness in an instant. You only have to press her flat when she is standing on her legs and press the muscles with your hand on her back, gently and regularly. Usually she then, let loose, lie motionless for a few minutes, with a stretched neck, head raised and eyes opened.

Smaller birds, like ice creams, putters, canaries, you usually only have to lay and hold on their backs for a short time. Then they sleep and you can let them go. A frog is even more sensitive and does not last a moment on its back. If you force it to lie down and then tie a string around each front leg, then this slight pressure on the nerves of the skin is enough to make it numb. This example explains the influence, which is the binding of kircher’s chicken’s legs. The secret is not in the impossibility of walking away but in the pressure on the nerves of the legs, thinks Czermak.

To be continued…

The immeasurable power of the heart

The immeasurable power of the heart

Limitation versus infinity from the immeasurable power of the heart.

With subjects such as hypnosis and mind-body-spirit relationships, you don’t make friends in most of the friends circles. Within the recognised civil society organisations, these topics are not a subject of regular meetings or discussions. However, in private circles or in the confidentiality with friends, these topics can be discussed extensively and in depth at various levels. What is it, however, also mainly how is it, how does it feel, how does it work? Who has experience with it and what are its benefits? Related subjects such as near-death experiences and previous lives are also seen in some groups. But also the relationship between the state of trance and energy fields comes into play.

Studies from various scientific disciplines have shown in recent decades that human consciousness influences matter. Indeed, the pioneers in the field of human transformation go a little further still by establishing the link between hypnosis and multidimensionality. The state of trance or the transpersonal hypnosis (self-hypnosis) is seen as a “small dot of our ability to enter the multidimensionality.(1) If you keep yourself busy with the question of how all this is possible and thereby you forget to focus on the fact that it works, you lose much of the essence that lies behind it. If our attention stays with the experience, the how will become self-evident. In this respect, there is also an increasing number of connecting factors, because when it comes to the state of trance and the relationship with the energy fields, we can think of the fact that the electromagnetic field of the heart is 5,000 times stronger than that of the brain. The question then arises: who makes contact with the energy fields, the heart or the brain?

Scientists have discovered that during the communication between heart and brain, more signals go from the heart to the brain than vice versa. In fact, even more so when the heart rhythm becomes chaotic – due to stress or negative feelings – the heart also sends chaotic signals to the brain, which disrupts the mind, the motor skills of the person etc. The heart also sends chaotic signals to the brain. In this way, the person lives at a very low level of being, so that his/her potential is not used. The state of trance and the connection to the energy fields are not achieved from this low level. People who are emotionally intelligent know how to achieve a certain heart coherence. This connects them to the enormous energy field of their heart. This energy field does not stand alone, as nothing around us stands on its own, and connects itself with the energy fields of the universe. This is the language for communication with other dimensions while the trance makes the environment suitable for this to happen. We can see, for example, that approaching these subjects cannot be done in the traditional way or in the materialistic way of thinking. The same applies to emotional intelligence that cannot be approached, interpreted and/or understood from the perspective of intellectual intelligence.

Or as Einstein said when it comes to your approach to your life:

There are only two ways to live your life: pretending that nothing is a miracle, and pretending that everything is a miracle. (Albert Einstein)

References:

(1)Eric D. Leskowits – Transpersonal hypnosis, page 176.

© Simona Linskens https://simonalinskens.nl

Brain versus mind explained as process versus content.

Brain versus mind explained as process versus content.

More and more scientific studies of psychology, neurophysiology, genetics, psychoneuroimmunology and quantum physics over the past 20-30 years have revealed facts and evidence that lead to the same conclusion: body and mind work together and an approach that separates them causes us difficulties.

Even though neurophysiologists have known since the 19th century that brain structures and mental functions were collaborating, their explanation was not yet clear. In 1994, the following was made clear in “Consciousness in Philosophy and Cognitive Neuroscience”:

Although everyone agrees that the mind has something to do with the brain, there is still no general agreement on the exact nature of this relationship.

The Santiary theory explains the relationship between mind and brain clearly and clearly. If the brain is the matter or the thing that functions in a visible way, the mind is the process that uses the structure of the brain to initiate thinking. According to this theory, the brain is thus a specific structure with which the process (read: mind) works. In short, the relationship between brain and mind is equal to a relationship between structure and process.  (1)

In this context, the concept of process includes perception, conviction and feeling, and these combine through the structure (brain) in the body to initiate a chemical reaction that produces a certain behaviour. Matter (brain) and energy (spirit) go through each other, work together and influence each other. Who plays the leading role? The mind of course, because the mind is the content that fills and shapes the structure of the brain. How can you know that this is true? People who are optimistic live longer and healthier lives, while people who are pessimistic tend to have health problems more often and their lifespan is shorter. This has to do with the content of observations, beliefs, thoughts and feelings that defines the process (physical mind) and is then inserted into the structure (brain).

This continuous collaboration explains the placebo effect and effect of hypnosis. This continuous collaboration affects the quality of life of the individual and his or her health.

Hypnosis helps to make unconscious emotions aware and then to process and release them. Through hypnosis, emotional issues are brought into contact with the subconscious and emotional charges are released by using different hypnosis techniques. This means that your feelings and thoughts change and as a result of this your behaviour also changes. In this way you give a different twist to the process (your mind) to which your brain responds. You will behave differently and feel different as a result, and you will notice that your social contacts improve and your health improves.

 

References:

Fritjof Capra – Het levensweb Levende organismen en systemen: verbluffend nieuw inzicht in de grote samenhang, Kosmos-Z&K Uitgevers – Utrecht/Antwerpen, 1996, pg.176

The value of participating a hypnosis convention

The value of participating a hypnosis convention

This is a personal story and I hope by writing it down it will inspire you to consider participating one the beautiful hypnosis conventions that are being organized.

In 2008 I felt it was necessary for my personal wellbeing to find a training to learn self-hypnosis. My work brought a lot of stress, not really in a negative way, however, having my own company as an ICT strategic advisor and being engaged in setting up an international network for strengthening women entrepreneurship was a lot to deal with. I thought it important to take good care of myself and thought that learning self-hypnosis was a valuable thing.

At that time, I could not find any self-hypnosis training sessions, however, I found a training to become a hypnotist. My line of thinking was that during that training I most certainly would learn self-hypnosis. That was far from the truth, I learned to become a hypnotist, however, for learning the valuable techniques of self-hypnosis I had to fly to Deland to have a training with Gerald Kein, which I did in 2009.

Anyhow, since 2008 I knew that hypnosis was my ‘thing’ and I became a hypnotherapist and in 2012 I became certified instructor for OMNI Hypnosis Training Center and started to visit international hypnosis conventions. Until I participated one of these conventions  I actually have no idea of how enriching that is. Here is the list of how I benefited participating in these conventions.

  • It helped me to become better in my work. I participated many workshops and trainings and there is always something small or big that you pick up at a convention that helps you in your work.
  • Connecting with many people from abroad helped me connecting in a wide variety of networks. I learned a lot on how marketing is done in other countries, how they deal with legal issues amongst other things and that help me think more clearly about the problems I encounter in my work.
  • It helped me to have a greater awareness on the totality of the field of hypnosis, because there are people from different backgrounds, different hypnosis schools and that helped to widen my view.
  • It helped me to become more profound in my profession. Connecting with people who work in the same area and hearing their stories from different countries, backgrounds makes that you have always something interesting to bring to the table in my own environment.
  • It helped me grow in the profession. I would not have dreamed when I started visiting conventions in 2013 that I would write my own book. The beauty of it is that in publishing this book I had a lot of international help. This help would never have materialized without connecting with other hypnotists via conventions.
  • I presented workshops and was selected to present at these conventions and that also a beautiful thing to do since it helped me even grow more in my profession.
  • Last but certainly not least is the fun of meeting with colleagues that over the years now have become friends.

Now here is your chance to participate in one or more international hypnosis convention that are open to hypnotistis from all backgrounds:

28-30 October 2016 LONDON  http://ukhypnosisconvention.co.uk/

4-6 November 2016 BERLIN https://hypnosekongress.net/

It is all in your head

It is so easy to say: “It is all in your head.” And that is what you have to live with when you have an inexplicable pain because of something like fybromyalgia.  Aggravated by the fact that there seems to be some kind of blame from bystanders: “It is all in your head, so do something about it.” It is not that easy though. When someone is having severe pain complaints he or she would solve it immediately if it was easy doing so using the normal consciousness.

Why something hurts or why it does not hurt is very complex. We do not have a pain center in our head. Actually we have 9 parts in our brain that are involved in the decision making proces to decide if a pain signal must be sent to the area that is damaged or sensitive. Not only the severity of the damage is a factor in this decision making proces of our brain, also other experiences, our own thoughts and factors from our environment. The proces of ‘feeling’ pain and why one person seems to be more bothered is explained very well in the book Explain Pain by David Buttler and Lorimer Moseley.

A recent study from the University of  Manchester suggests that talk therapies could be useful for people with chronic pain caused by fybromyalgia or arthritis. Pain seems to be depending on how the brain translates the signals coming from the diseased body parts. European Journal of Neuroscience, Volume 39, Issue 4, Pages 663-672, February 2014

Research seems to confirm what we already know from our hypnosis office: hypnosis can be of great importance to people with chronic pain. Why hypnosis is such an amazing tool to use for pain relieve is explained through research by universities such as Harvard, Yale and Standford. When suggestions are given during a hypnosis session, these suggestions are capable to pass the cortex – which is the part of our brain that takes care of our logical reasoning – and go directly to the limbic endocrine system – the part that occupies itself with fear, memory and stress. The limbic system processes signals from the cortex, however, it can also process orders that come in through external sources such as suggestions given through hypnosis, according to Ron Eslinger.

He says furthermore:  “Chronic pain is that pain that has lasted for over six months and by medical standards has no purpose. Phantom limb pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, and back pain can fall into this category.  Because cells actually have their own consciousness and respond to messages sent to them by the Limbic system hormones (neuro-chemical transmitters), these cells can recreate their base line feelings of comfort which changes how we physically feel through thoughts and hypnotic suggestions. There is evidence (empirical data) suggesting these cells, when given directions by the Limbic system to decrease cortisol, respond favorably. Cortisol is the stress hormone when received in small amounts protects, however in large amounts over time it can cause arthritis and other chronic pain syndromes.  The beauty of hypnosis is that it decreases cortisol levels.”

The fact that we feel pain with our head gives us the opportunity to do something about it using methods that are able to pass the normal consciousness to make use of the subconscious in order to pass the cortex and give acceptable suggestions to the limbic system using hypnosis. The most dramatic way in which we can do so is by operating without any chemical anesthesia, which is done now in several hospitals in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Click here for a demo video on pain management (You can activate english subtitles)
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The hypnotic Oxytocin complex

The hypnotic Oxytocin complex

New pieces for an old puzzle?

Summary: the hypnotic oxytocin complex (hoc) is a theory that departs from the interaction between the hormone oxytocin, mirror neurons and some defined social psychological contexts. Discussed is the question whether the hypnotic oxytocin complex is a state or non-state theory. The similarities and differences between the HOC and the OMNI-theories and practice are discussed. Of course attention is paid to the practical importance of the hoc.

Introduction   

Anton Mesmer might have thought differently about this, however, it may be possible that without the Franklin Commission (Ellenberger 1970) today there would not have been any hypnosis research. Because Mesmer was convinced that his actions were based on the existence of a fluid. The Franklin commission did not believe that and designed a plan to verify that. With this they realized first scientific hypnosis research. And more than that, Franklin and his colleagues not only rejected the fluid theory, they also searched for an explanation of the phenomena they witnessed. They thought about imagination.

With that two theories came into existence. One was grounded on the science of physics of a subtle physical fluid. Not that that was so new, because Mesmer was inspired by theories about mineral magnetism, the much older sympathy and by the at that moment very modern gravity and electricity. Many people thought that this were very thin materials. Opposites of this was a psychological explanation. The supporters of this were of the opinion that the phenomena came from a congenital human quality, namely fantasy. They did not explain how this fantasy was stimulated. However also the supporters of the fluid theory used (social) psychological elements. Because not everybody was capable of magnetizing everybody. The magnetizer not only needed magnetism but all so a strong will with which he could directs this fluid. The magnetizer, who was mostly male, also needed to possess a healthy body and a healthy mind. Next to that the correct moral and ethical convictions were indispensable. The imagination (suggestion), the social psychological interactions, however all so the physiological features were pieces of puzzle that during the next centuries would be fitted together, sometimes wrought together,  with an endless patience and would lead to endless discussions and for the most of these theories inglorious oblivion.

So no magnetism, however, opposites: From one contrast in the other. If the first impugnment was about the existence or nonexistence of the fluid, next they quarrel happily on about the question if the phenomena originated in the quality of the person itself like sleep and the degree of suggestibility or was it provoked by manipulation of the surrounding through suggestions.
This state versus non-state discussion became more complicated because the supporters of the idea that hypnosis is a ‘state’ was divided into two camps. Led by the neurologist J.M. Charcot of Salpétriêre mostly saw as the explanation of the phenomena as coming from within the patient and was of the opinion that hypnosis was a hysterical condition. Hypnosis was supposed to be a neurosis that could be induced artificially by pre-ordained (hysterical) persons. Opposite of this was the school of Nancy. Inspired of the fact that the denial of the existence of the fluid was forcefully contested, they came to the insight that the explanation of imagination was not crazy after all. A suggestion was not just a suggestion. No, a suggestion was a rich source that could be used plentiful. Led by Bernheim en Liébeault this became the trademark of the school of Nancy. Bernheim eventually went so far that he declared that even the (artificial) sleep could be missed, shortly that everything was suggestion. Yet most scientists in general agreed that hypnotism was not an illness but a medicine that could be directed with success. The supporters of Nancy put more weight on the influence of the hypnotists than their opponents from Paris. A powerful will was very handy, however, next to that a good contact, ‘rapport’ was absolutely vital in order to have success with the patient.

The thought that hypnosis belongs to development psychology is underrepresented. Is it necessary for a healthy development that somebody develops his hypnotic talents? Or rather not? And what happens when this natural talent for hypnosis does not develop? What physical components does hypnosis have, like hormonal and neurological and which interaction do they have with the social life in the form of education, friendship and love? And we did not yet discuss the use of the natural capacity in this case suggestibility in the use of eliminate all kinds of development disorders. These are the kind of questions that are raised when one studies hypnosis from a view of development psychological perspective. The Dutch physician and hypnosis researcher Stokvis (1953) pointed out rightly that: “.. The connection between character type and physique, the observation with sufferers from encephalitis, the phenomena of the hypnotic condition, the research of Pavlov, this all pointed in the direction, that psychological processes can also be seen as a biological event.”

Neuropsychology studies the working of the brains in relation to behavior. It is studied how our brains observe, feel and move. This young science did not yet find any indication for a neurological pattern that would be indicative of a hypnotic trance. The changes depend on the type of suggestion. Yet it shows that suggestions cause changes in perception or experience that are not simply the result of imagination. Gruzelier found that high suggestible test persons significant showed more brain activity in the anterior congulate gyrus than low suggestible test persons. They also had more brain activity at the left side of the prefrontal cortex. The anterior conjugulate gyrus is involved in the processing and shaping of the emotional shading, emotional learning and vocalizing. However, also the long term attachment happens here, next to maternal behavior and starts motivating purposeful behavior. This is also the area were endocrine and autonomous are influenced and directed (J. Rhawn 2000).

Hypnotic Oxytocin complex

The functions mentioned above are also part of the hypnotic oxytocin complex (hoc). The neuropsychological explanations carry specifically support for the hoc in terms of the role of the oxytocin: attachment, influences of the voice, facial recognition and situational learning. However no trance. Supported by these findings, some people think that trance does not  exist, because it is not proven.

That by no means says that suggestibility c.q. hypnosis without trance experience is of little less valuable. In practice, a waking suggestion often is equally useful as suggestions in a state with a trance experience

According to Calvin D. Banyan & Gerald F. Klein (2001) a waking suggestion is a kind of hypnosis in which  someone is unaware of the attempts by someone to get some hypnotic influence.

That results according to them in a suggestibility without a formal hypnotic induction: “everyone is receptive to suggestions given by others.” Especially if these suggestions come from someone with greater authority or expertise. For example, children are very suggestible and accept as truth what their parents tell (Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, tooth fairy, and Monsters).

These suggestions can be extremely credible for a child even though they are not at all that for an adult. Another well-known example is the relationship between doctor and patient. If a patient asks the doctor’s opinion, what the doctor says will sound very powerful because of the inequality of the situation and also because the patient lacks medical knowledge. ”

The importance of a trance experience is also located in the belief of the patient that he was in a different, special, therapeutically valuable state.

The other way around a trance-less hypnosis can also be helpful. D. Elman (1964) gives interesting examples of waking hypnosis. Both to reach a waking hypnosis and to be able to give hypnosis suggestions a certain basic suggestibility is necessary.

The waking hypnosis is characterized by a lack of a trance but also by the lack of an induction that increased the suggestibility. Yet there is enough suggestibility to give suggestions. That points to a lifelong continuous hypnotic suggestibility. This suggestibility changes of nature and function according to the developmental stages and life circumstances require.

It is believed that there is  a lifelong hypnotic suggestibility. This changes in character and function according to the demands of the development psychological phases and circumstances of life. Some indications are found that show that oxytocin plays an important role in developing and maintaining hypnosis and vice versa. Bryant et al (2011) found that oxytocin makes hypnosis easier because the hormone promotes people to have more trust in the hypnotist.

The psychiatrist from Vienna Sigmund Freud studied with Charcot, however, his own psychoanalytical theories offered him a different outlook on the phenomenon hypnosis. According to Freud hypnosis is a regression to the infant state that results during the formation of a crowd. During those days there were not so many people, so with two people already, for instance your mother, you had a crowd. Another psychoanalyst Sandor Ferenczi (1910)  continued with this and thought that the regression went as far as the womb. They searched for the ‘oceanic feeling’. On basis of this children could develop a hypnotic relation with their father and mother.

It is possible that what D. Elman calls the Esdaile state  corresponds to the oceanic feeling of Freud and Ferenczi. This condition, also called the hypnotic coma, is reached after the somnambulism is passed. The techniques to achieve this state consists mainly of deepening suggestions. An important characteristic  is that the patient enjoys this state so much that he sometimes  stubbornly refuses to return to the ordinary waking consciousness. Unlike many predecessors Elman see great advantages in the Esdaile State: the numbness achieved without suggestions is in his opinion useful in operations and childbirth.

Elman patients describe this deep hypnosis, as: ‘ the best state of hypnosis there is. It is wonderful. I can’t remember ever been so relaxed. ” Doctors and patients were without exception enthusiastic about the Esdaile State: this state brought complete euphoria.

‘A doctor who experimented with  the Esdaile State for the first time with Elman stated to have heard everything around him. To the question why he did not respond to that fire the man answered: ‘ Because I knew there was no fire. I heard you whisper that you were to pretend fire. I heard you talk about the tests that you wanted to do with me. If nobody left the room why should I belief there is a fire? ” Also here we see a rich rapport and an unlimited confidence in the surroundings. Both phenomena we know of the oxytocin.

Instead of contrasts like state-non state or dissociation versus cognition, there are all so circular causality versus linear models when speaking about theories on hypnosis, as does H. Stephenson (2011). He compares hypnosis with a dance and concludes “the dance leads the dancers” and means that the therapist as well as the patient play a separate role and both are cause and result in each other’s role in hypnosis. Such a mutual mechanism is also the case within the oxytocin metabolism such as for examples with the mother-child attachment and falling in love.
Stephenson’s idea fitted well with the role-play as an explanation for hypnosis that was worked out by the social psychologists (Sarbin (1950; Sarbin en Coe, 1972). In this vision the hypnotized person acts in the way that he thinks is expected of him. There is no question of replaying a role or imitation, however the actual living of the role: they assume the role of somebody that they expect the hypnotist wants to see. This theory probably points the most to the working of mirror neurons. The hypnotized person creates an image using these suggestions upon which the mirror neurons anticipate and start the accompanying behavior.

In the 70s of last century it seemed that everybody supported the assertion that hypnosis is an “altered state”. In a short period after that this discussion seems to have disappeared in a mysterious way. Irving Krisch (1992) stated: “the best evidence for the existence of a separate state would be the discovery of clear biological markers of this state.” In 1969 Hilgard predicted that it would take another 20 years for that. Kirsch was much more pessimistic and predicted that it would take another 50 to 100 years before there would be biological evidence. On the question he post himself if this really matters, Kirsch (1999) gives the answer that these does matter because: “the public at large has ideas about hypnosis: they see a relation between the state and the behavior of the hypnotized person. Just as with sleep and dreams or waddle and drunkenness. Some, like Hilgard (1969,1973) denied these relations, however Kirsch persist on the opinion that hypnosis needs to be explained. He notes that the discussion about the character of hypnosis never was stopped, however, that it was repacked into all kinds of vague euphemisms such as ‘special process’, ‘social psychological cognitive’ and ‘cognitive behavioral’. According to Kirsch these are terms that never can be used for clear defining.

The hormone oxytocin could be the marker as desired by Hilgard and Kirsch. There are a lot of similarities between the formation and working of oxytocin and the formation and characteristics of hypnosis that point to that.
The most important data is probably the fact that oxytocin and hypnosis can both be influenced by social psychological factors and that they both have a coherent reciprocity.

The Hungarian scientist K. Varga and her colleagues (1993) point to the importance of reciprocity of the hypnosis. They explicitly point out that hypnosis is not one-way traffic. They mention three aspects that influence reciprocity.

  1. The context of hypnosis.
  2. An altered state of consciousness.
  3. Transference and countertransference

One of the most important characteristics of hypnosis is the increase in suggestibility. An important function of oxytocin is the activation of mirror neurons. The oxytocin plays a role in relations in different phases of development such as birth, education, forming of couples and social relations. These are exactly the moments in which we see hypnotic phenomena as suggestibility.
It is important to note that the mechanisms that promote the production of oxytocin have a great similarity with the mechanisms that induce hypnosis. They are both connected to the senses. We can think about rhythm, scents, taste, voice/language and music, touch and eye contact. In the several stadia of life and events these starters are activated separately of in combinations. Important phases are amongst others the perinatal period, attachment, education, amorousness and social rolls.

Perinatal period & attachment                                                                                    

Already before birth mother and child have to do with oxytocin, and directly after birth they can’t without the hormone. In the womb the fetus produces oxytocin by masturbation as a anticipation on the painful and stressful birth, as a starter of the attachment and to make it possible to activate the mirror neurons immediately after birth. The mother need the hormone for the birth process, the activation of the milk production and the bonding process. The sense related mechanisms to activate the production of oxytocin directly after the birth are among others skin-to-skin contact and eye contact. Hypnosis c.q.suggestibility in this phase we note in echoing by the baby of movements, smiling and eye contact by the mother.

Educational                                                                                                                           

Dave Elman

Dave Elman

The next important phase is the relation with regards to the education between mother and child (parent and child). Here we see the starters of oxytocin production in the form of rhythmic games, singing, speech and skin to skin contact. Hypnotic phenomena are here the wider admissibility for also cognitive suggestions and the increased imagination. This is the phase in life wherein children are bombarded with educational suggestions.

Elman indicates the help of children’s rhymes to hypnotize. This technique is especially suitable for short-term treatments such as injections.

Fairy, Fairy, prove to me

Just how easy this can be.

I’ll close my eyes and see your smile

And watch you dancing all the while.

While you’re dancing in the light

Everything will be all right.

Fairy, fairy, prove to me

Just how easy this can be.

 

Starting from puberty to adolescence the relation with the parents becomes looser and the child goes more often independently on the path of oxytocin. (Rhythmic) music, dancing, sport, sex, however, also smoking and drugs are starters of the flow of oxytocin. The hypnotic components are than especially geared towards social activity and the forming of relations (rapport) and sex. With regards to the forming of relations this is about forming couples and the formation of social networks.

Amorousness

Falling is love is the third phase in which starters of oxytocin are active: skin to skin contact, sex, voice and speech, eye contact, smiles, dancing etc. The increased suggestibility seems to be geared especially towards the formation of couples (rapport) in which the suggestions to and from seem to determine the success of the relationship. Significant is the use of imaginations geared towards the future and post hypnotic suggestions. Not seldom do we see blind obedience towards each other.

Social attachment

Finally at a later phase family and friendships ties and group feeling come into play. Also here there are starters of the oxytocin speech and voice, groups activities such as making music and sports. Next to that one have marriage and family ties and one is part of the educational relations with their own characteristics as (grant) parent.

Hypnosis

In the course of time, dozens if not hundreds of theories are worked out to explain hypnosis and suggestion. For our purpose we keep it simple by stating that hypnosis is the interaction of suggestibility and performing suggestions or in physical terms said the interaction between oxytocin, mirror neurons and social psychological factors. In this regard hypnotizing is the artificial increasing of suggestibility by stimulation of the oxytocin production and the activation of mirror neurons by offering suggestions. The suggestibility is the physical and mental receptiveness for suggestions and the preparation on the execution of suggestions.

The suggestibility is also the ability to actually be able to turn suggestions into action. These suggestions can be physical as well as mental in character. To start these activities the mirror neurons are responsible. Oxytocin therefore is a hormone but also active as neurotransmitter. The mirror neurons start the action after they are stimulated by the oxytocin to fire directly or indirectly. The oxytocin makes the mirror neurons fire as a reaction on social behavior. The subjective experience of trance is in this vision only an epiphenomenon. Together with Bernheim we can claim that the hypnotic sleep is not necessary for suggestibility. That does not alter the fact that a deep hypnosis in the form of a very high level of oxytocin can explain the advantages of the state of somnambulism, such as a high suggestibility.

The connection between the oxytocin and mirror neurons was evident from a research by Richard Ebstein (Perry, Anat et al 2010) and his team. They gave 24 men a little oxytocin and a control group a placebo and after that let them watch a video of walking people and to recordings of a jumping ball. The mirror neurons of the oxytocin group were much active that the mirror neurons of the people who received a placebo. However, that was only the case when people watched the walking people. Watching the jumping ball alone could not activate the mirror neurons towards action. Also the work of Hepker MacKenzie (2013) of the University of Puget Sound (USA). proofed the effect of oxytocin on the mirror neurons. These very important outcomes shows that oxytocin and mirror neurons form a team of which the oxytocin determine if the mirror neurons will come into action. Because the production of oxytocin is started in a social context the mirror neurons do the same and will remain inactive when seeing lifeless objects such as a jumping ball. The relation between mirror neurons and oxytocin is also important with autism that is characterized by a shortage of oxytocin as  well as dysfunctional mirror neurons.

Rossi & Rossi (2006) researched the relation between mirror neurons and hypnosis. They noted; “Neuroscience describes the activities of mirror neurons in the human brains as a mechanism through which we experience empathy and recognize the intentions of others by observing them and as such automatically mirror their brain activity.
This assertion is supported according the Rossi’s by studies of the dysfunctional mirror neurons of for example autistic people. Such research into empathy seems to agree with the historical and literature research of hypnotic induction, rapport and many classic phenomena of suggestion. The Rossi’s see this as the preparatory explanation of the functioning of mirror neurons rapport zone for the transmission of information to the observing consciousness and of the plasticity of the brain.
The relation between hypnosis and the mirror neurons is also the field of work of M. Burgmer et al (2012). They think that the neurological basis of non-organic motion disorders is not clear and because the conversion disorder has a lot in common with the hypnotic state they choose an experiment in which a temporary motion disorder is caused in the form of a hypnotic paralysis.

Conclusions: New pieces for the same puzzle?

The  hypnotic oxytocin complex explains the hypnotic phenomena by pointing to the interaction of the hormone oxytocin and the mirror neurons in a social psychological context. Certain social psychological circumstances, phases of development and relations activate the production of oxytocin that in its turn fires and activates the mirror neurons in order to execute suggestions.
Kirsch states that the best proof for the existence of a separate hypnotic state is the discovery of the physiological markers of such a state.
Oxytocin and mirror neurons are fixed values and conditions for a hypnotic state for as far that it is not meant as the subjective trance experience. For their functioning they are both dependent of the variable social psychological factors. In fact this is a non-state argument. For the hoc the question if the theory belongs to the state or non-state not important. It is both and it is not both. In comparison with other theories we notice that most theories contain parts that fit into the hoc. That is not surprising because most theories do not exclude each other, however, complement each other. There are theories that are directed on the character of hypnosis such as sleep, half sleep and dissociation or describe (a part of) the phenomena: experience of trance, suggestibility. However, there are also theories that have their focus on the procedure through which hypnosis comes about: role play, suggestibility, the one is mostly pointing towards the social psychological factors and the other points to the variables that are brought in by the person to be hypnotized (hyper suggestibility or the presence of a traumatic experience). The most conventional theories can contribute to the hoc. Even the hours of manipulations by the magnetizer can from the point of view of hoc be seen as an oxytocin stimulating massage.

Does it matter if there is a good explanation for hypnosis? Yes, some people think, because the public at large has ideas about hypnosis. They do see a link between ‘the state’ and the behavior of the person to be hypnotized. The constant portraying of hypnosis in cultural expressions such as literature and movie is a factor for the image that they have of hypnosis. This works as the ‘circular causality’ of Stephenson and can be of help to the clinician.

Research

The hoc opens perspectives for a lot of new research, in which the contribution of endocrinologists and neurologists can be important. Especially the interaction between the hormone and the mirror hormones should be the field of research. When does the oxytocin decides to put the mirror neurons to work is such a question. Just as important is the question what forms of suggestions give the best results for the production of oxytocin and how that works. Here come the enthusiast and skillfully hypnotist in view.

Regarding to the different induction methods there could be large differences in suggestibility between methods of Ericksonians and Elmanians (OMNI’s). Measuring hypnotizability is  debatable because the tests don’t measure hypnotizability or suggestibility but the degree to which the suggestions are carried out. One can have a high oxytocin level and  are very high hypnotizable but still unable to perform a wrong given suggestion. More objective is to measure the oxytocin levels before and after the induction.

The clinical practice

When we are able to develop hypnotherapeutic protocols through which we can stimulate the production of oxytocin at the right moment the hoc can contribute to the treatment of problems related to the malfunctioning of the production of oxytocin or mirror neurons activity such as autism, problems with attachment, eating disorders, social phobias, shyness, addiction, etc. Therefore, it is important that research is undertaken whereby the results become available for professionals. Especially the first line hypnotherapists can play an important role in this. A good communication between both groups is necessary therefore. Next to that it is necessary that therapists are open to improve their way of working. Not from an economical point of view, however, from the point of view of the interest of the patient.

©Johan Eland 2013 / Antiquariaat Lilith
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Literature

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