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May 9th, 2007 by Barrie St John

Hypnosis and the Physical Body

Just how powerful is hypnosis? Well, it’s pretty amazing just how spectacular it is. In fact, the old school stage hypnotists used to do a thing called full body catalepsy to show how strong hypnosis can be. What they would do is induce hypnosis and literally bring on full rigidity of all the muscle groups in the body. The body would become as stiff as wood and then sometimes they would rest the person’s head and feet each on a chair, and even sit or stand on them. Obviously there is no therapeutic use to full body catalepsy whatsoever, and it is considered unethical and not practised in therapeutic hypnosis. Catalepsy may be used now on just one group of muscles, either for proof of hypnosis or to deepen the state, but never the silly full body spectacle. It just is not necessary.

Arm catalepsy is similar to full body experience, but much less invasive. A person under hypnosis can stick their arm out straight in front of him or herself for a half-hour and not even feel it. If you were to try this at home without hypnosis, in a few minutes your arm would be aching. The ability of hypnosis to affect physical sensations like this has many uses.

For example, hypnosis can be used for pain management through a process called glove anaesthesia which basically makes the hand feel numb. Then if someone has a painful stomach or certain part of the body, the person under hypnosis can put their hand where it hurts and it transfers the anaesthesia and reduces the pain or discomfort there. Glove hypnosis can also be used for a reverse effect when a person can’t feel anything or has a very reduced sensation in a certain part of the body.

Apart from chemicals or drugs – what else can do that? 

Hypnosis can also improve physical endurance. Many athletes use hypnosis (see sports hypnosis) to improve focus and enhance their performance. I’m sure some go to therapists to help accomplish this, but many athletes also do this instinctively. Certainly runners do. You’ll see them even before the start of a race, focused and really concentrating. You just know that they are working things through and rehearsing movements in their minds. This mental rehearsal is a type of hypnosis. 

Hypnosis is an effective tool for improving endurance, managing pain, regaining sensation or physical control, and so much more. With regular hypnosis, the mind-body connection is improved and results can be obtained that you never thought possible. The power of hypnosis on the physical body and mind is just astounding!

Posted in General Hypnotherapy Topics