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What is hypnosis? And what it isn't!

Hypnotist Erik Bragg explains what hypnosis can do for you – and what it can't do to you without you being in agreement!

Q. What is hypnosis?

Hypnotic states are a natural part of normal human life. In fact, we all experience hypnotic states–without giving them a second thought–at least twice a day. We go through a state of semi-wakefulness just before drifting off to sleep at night. Then in the morning, we go through another state of semi-wakefulness upon returning to consciousness. These are examples of spontaneous hypnotic states happening naturally, easily and automatically.

Erik Bragg, Tokyo based hypnotist
Hypnotist Erik Bragg

So, what is hypnosis? Hypnosis is a state of selective focus:
the mind is focused and highly aware of certain things, while other things fade into the background. This is a natural everyday happening; such as when getting drawn into an intriguing story told by a good friend, while the background sounds of the room go unnoticed and seem to fade away. Other common hypnotic states of mind include a “working trance”, an “exercise trance”, or a “driving trance”.

Hypnotic states are often eagerly sought after because they can feel so good. Just as when we are fully absorbed in rapt fascination while reading a good book, or getting caught up in the emotion of a captivating movie, as we are looking forward with expectantly to what will happen next.

Hypnotic states are also characterized by heightened suggestibility and a suspension of critical thinking. These qualities make the state of hypnosis an ideal one for receiving and acting upon suggestions for positive change in beliefs, thoughts, and habits. Hypnotists utilize this natural state of mind to train clients to make changes they have the desire to make.

Q. What is 7th Path Self-Hypnosis?

7th Path is a unique system of self-hypnosis that addresses mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. This system was developed by hypnotist Calvin Banyan, after witnessing breakthroughs in thousands of hours of client sessions.


In conventional self-hypnosis, a person enters into this state by relaxing. After reaching a comfortable hypnotic state, the practitioner then gives himself or herself suggestions for desired change. This practice offers benefits such as stress reduction, and the setting and reaching of goals.

In addition to the benefits offered by standard self-hypnosis, 7th Path brings the presence and influence of the person’s higher ideals, higher beliefs, or higher power into daily life. The practice of 7th Path self-hypnosis first works to clear away negative patterns of emotion and thought that can interfere with making positive change. After this clearing, change can happen with greater ease, making the effects of positive programming even more profound.

7th Path is a simple, easy to learn technique, and many people have received valuable insights and have experienced powerful positive change in their lives.

Q. What can hypnosis and self-hypnosis do for me?

Many people have utilized hypnosis to create a wide range of benefits including stress reduction, relief from fears and worries, pain control, ending negative habits such as nail biting and hair pulling, stop smoking, weight loss, increased concentration, improved memory and recall, increasing reading speed, accelerated learning, awakening creativity, sleeping better, increased confidence, relaxed public speaking, easy childbirth, increased feelings of calm, peace, and comfort.

Personally, hypnosis has allowed me to feel at ease while taking long air trips overseas. It has also enabled me to have fillings replaced without anaesthetic or discomfort.

What would you like to do this year? Now, when you think of what you want to accomplish easily, smoothly and naturally, ask yourself, “Is there a mental or emotional aspect to what I want to accomplish?” If the answer is “yes”, then hypnosis may be able to assist and support you in a number of ways. Contact a hypnotist for more information.

Here are a couple of books on hypnosis that may be useful:
• Self-Hypnosis and Other Mind-Expanding Techniques by Charles Tebbetts
• Hypnotherapy by Dave Elman


Q. Who can be hypnotized?

There is a common misperception that only certain types of people are able to go into hypnosis. This is an outdated idea from the 1950’s. With modern hypnotic methods, a person can enter into a hypnotic state very quickly.

Anyone of at least average intelligence can be hypnotized. In fact, the greater the intelligence, the greater the ease of going into hypnosis. Once any misperceptions have been corrected and unfounded fears have been addressed, the most important factor involved in being hypnotized is the willingness to go into hypnosis.

Just imagine that within just a few minutes, you can find yourself drifting in a nice comfortable state of pleasant hypnosis. And as you are finding yourself thinking just how easily it happened, because you have entered a door to powerful, positive change that’s right for you. The changes that you wanted to make feel so good.

Q. How does someone go into and emerge from hypnosis?

To go into hypnosis, a hypnotist can guide you, or you can listen to a hypnosis tape or CD. There are a variety of methods used for going into hypnosis. Some involve relaxation, and most involve following instructions. When guided by a hypnotist, a person can close their eyes, and be directed through a series of experiences or exercises that in a very short time, take them into a nice, comfortable trance.

To emerge from hypnosis, again a hypnotist can guide you, or you can emerge yourself. In one common way of emersion, the hypnotist can give a count. e.g. “In a moment, I will count from one to three. At the count of three, you will open your eyes feeling good, feeling refreshed and energized. One, starting to come back. Two, feeling fine. And, three, eyes open, feeling good, feeling refreshed and energized.”

And another way to emerge from hypnosis, is simply to open your eyes.

Q. What does it feel like to be in a hypnotic state?

The experience of trance varies. One definition of hypnosis is a state of increased suggestibility or selective focus. So then, what does “increased suggestibility” or “selective focus” feel like? As you can imagine, this state really has no particular physical feeling associated with it.

Erik doing hypnosis
Erik doing hypnosis

Some people report sensations of lightness or heaviness, floating, warmth or coolness, but often being in trance has only the feeling of having your eyes closed.

The hypnotic state is quite robust. A person is able to speak, move, gesture, scratch an itch, and even walk around, while remaining deeply in hypnosis. It is also quite easy to carry on a conversation with a hypnotized person.

Commonly, most people are able to remember what happened while they were hypnotised.

If there are sounds in the environment, a hypnotised person will probably be dimly aware of them, but will probably not focus on them. However, if any of these sounds indicated danger, such as a ringing fire alarm, the person in trance would probably be the first person out the door! Your mind is always working to protect you whether you are in or out of trance.

Q. Can a hypnotist make you do something that you don’t want to do?

No, a hypnotist cannot make you do anything that you don’t want to do. Hypnosis is not mind control. Being hypnotised requires willingness. A person’s core values remain intact in all states of awareness, whether awake, asleep or hypnotized. Anything that violates these values will certainly be disregarded. This is another way that your mind constantly protects you.

Hypnosis is very safe. Since the word “hypnosis” was coined over 200 years ago, there has never been a recorded instance of anyone ever being hurt or harmed by hypnosis.

Hypnosis is a natural and enjoyable state allowing a person greater access to comfort, inspiration, and self-empowerment.


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