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A Brief Explanation of Hypnosis and Brainwave Function
In a typical hypnosis session performed by a hypnotherapist, the client will be guided into a relaxed state of mind and body via suggestion techniques. When you go into a hypnotic trance state, brainwave cycles will slow down as you go deeper into hypnosis and quicken again when you come out of the trance. The same process happens when we use self-hypnosis and will even happen to some degree when we daydream.
The slowing down and speeding up of brainwave cycles also occurs when you go to sleep each night and again when you awaken in the morning. These naturally occurring trance states are called the hypnogogic and hypnopompic states. Everyone experiences these trance states twice a day, as they go to sleep at night and awaken in the morning.
The brain cycle states that define our levels of consciousness are referred to as the beta, alpha, theta and delta states. Beta Waves
The frequency of beta waves ranges from fifteen to forty brainwave cycles per second, which is typical of full waking consciousness.
The alpha state has a frequency range from nine to fourteen cycles per second. This is achieved through relaxation or light meditation. In this state you are still aware of everything around you but your mind is calm and you feel physically relaxed. You become very receptive to suggestions and affirmations in the alpha state.
Theta brainwaves are typically between five and eight cycles a second. This is the state you achieve when you are in deeper hypnosis. In this very relaxed theta state, hypnotic suggestion can be given and readily accepted, then acted upon at a later date.
Delta is the final brainwave state with a range of one and a half to four cycles per second. When you are asleep your brain cycles will be at around two to three cycles per second. The deepest hypnotic trance state is called somnambulism, which occurs when you are in or close to the delta state.
When we go to bed and wind down before going to sleep, we are likely to be in a low beta state. When we close our eyes and relax our brainwaves will descend from beta, to alpha, to theta and finally, when we fall asleep, to delta. The ideal state for absorbing visualisations, suggestions and affirmations is between the alpha and theta states.
By Glenn Harrold (FBSCH Dip C.H.)
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