To gain a deeper understanding of the power of hypnosis, it is important to begin by learning about the various brain waves.
5 Types of Brain Waves
There are 5 brain wave frequencies (Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta and Gamma) and each frequency is measured in cycles per second (Hz) and has its own set of characteristics representing a specific level of brain activity, and a unique state of consciousness.
- Beta (14-40Hz). This is the normal waking consciousness and reasoning wave. It is associated with a heightened state of alertness, logic and critical reasoning, but can also translate into stress, anxiety, fear and restlessness.
- Alpha (7.5-14 Hz). Alpha waves are present in deep physical and mental relaxation, and usually when the eyes are closed, during a daydream, or in light meditation. It is the optimal time to program the mind for success and it also heightens your imagination, visualisation memory, learning and concentration. It is the gateway to your subconscious mind, and the voice of your intuition, which becomes clearer and more profound the closer you get to 7.5Hz.
- Theta (4-7.5Hz). Theta waves are present during hypnosis, deep meditation and light sleep, including the all-important REM dream state. It is the realm of your subconsciousness.
It is the alpha-theta border, from 7Hz to 8 Hz, which is the optimal range for visualization, mind programming and using the creative power of your mind begins. This is the mental state in which you consciously create your reality. You are conscious of your surroundings however, your body is in deep relaxation. This level is the one most commonly found in a hypnotised subject.
- Delta (0.5-4Hz). This is the deep sleep wave. It is the slowest of the frequencies and is experienced in deep, dreamless sleep and in very deep transcendental meditation and hypnosis states, where awareness is fully detached. It is the realm of your unconscious mind, and the gateway to the universal mind and collective unconscious, where information is otherwise unavailable at the conscious level. This level (Delta) of deep sleep is important for the healing process as it is linked with deep healing and regeneration.
- Gamma waves (above 40Hz). The Insight Wave is the most recently discovered, and also the fastest frequency at above 40 Hz. Little is known yet about this state of mind, however initial research shows Gamma brain waves are associated with bursts of insight and high–level information processing.
Optimal Brain Wave States for Hypnosis
While even a light trance (Alpha brain waves) is effective, most hypnotherapists would wish to work with clients experiencing a medium level trance (Theta brain waves). Here the client will be aware of, but not distracted by outside noises. They will be more deeply relaxed and more suggestible than if in a light trance. About 80% of the population can be induced into this medium level of hypnotic trance.
Nevertheless, although arguably less than 50% of the subjects can achieve this level, the very best hypno-therapeutic work can be done when the client is in a deep trance (a somnambulistic trance – Delta brain waves).
In this deep state, the client has the ability to open their eyes without affecting hypnosis, selective and illusory sensory perception and the acceptance of complex suggestions occur during a deep hypnotic trance.
It can also be said that any level of trance – even a light trance – can be effective as long as it allows the client’s thought processes to be addressed without the constant critical thinking of the conscious mind.
Mostly, clients in a light to medium trance remember what is said during the hypnotic state. In a very deep trance, the subconscious mind hears and can make changes, but the conscious mind may not remember what was said. It is the unconscious mind, however, that listens and remembers in any level of trance and is making the changes, so it is not necessary for the client to consciously remember what was said.
The Power of Hypnosis
Once the client has reached the hypnotic state where she or he is in a state of focused attention, deep relaxation and a curiously detached parallel awareness, the hypnotist is ready to deliver the therapy by accessing the subject’s subconscious brain and thus their learned behaviour pattern-making system, setting aside the conscious brain. In this state, the client is most suggestible to desired changes. What is important is the transformation of the suggestion into action and it happens at the subconscious level of the mind.
If you are struggling to keep out negative thoughts, anxieties, and issues of any kind relating to a previous time in your life, try the power of hypnosis. It can help free you of unwanted thoughts and behaviour and release you to really enjoy your life.
Author: Dr Jan Philamon, PhD, BA (Hons) Psychology, C Teach, JP (Qual) Qld, MAPS.
As a registered teacher and psychologist, Dr Jan Philamon has a wealth of experience with children, however she enjoys helping individuals and couples at any stage of life. Hypnotherapy is just one of the techniques Jan uses to help people to find improved wellbeing, and gain a sense of empowerment that allows them to actively problem solve and manage obstacles constructively, as well as positively plan and achieve their personal and career goals.
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