James Braid first termed the word 'hypnotism' from the Greek word hupnos, which means sleep. He soon learned that the term hypnosis was wrong, since it is not really a type of sleep, and tried to change the word, but the scientific community of his day had taken the term to heart and would not change it. We are therefore stuck with the term and its erroneous implication that it is a method of making people sleep. In fact, hypnosis is a form of concentration that is so common that everyone on this planet actually passes through it at least twice a day. In a nutshell, it is that in-between feeling of being awake and being asleep.
The Bible makes references to 'sleep temples' which suggest that hypnosis has been around for a very long time under the guise of different names. Mesmer used it unknowingly with his theories of using magnetism to cure people of their ills. It is from his name the term mesmerised became popular to describe some one who is transfixed by something. The word 'mesmerism' was used for some time but as far as the scientific community was concerned it brought the phenomenon into disrepute. This is why they welcomed the James Braid redefinition with open arms.
Today, scientists have begun studying hypnosis again, under the name 'The Alpha State'. By attaching wires to the head they have discovered that there is a definite change in the functions of the brain when someone is induced into this state. These differ from sleep patterns and they therefore concluded that there is scientific proof of its existence, although they cannot fully explain it or the reasons why the brain should act in this manner.
Little wonder that many people are confused as to what it really is. Most experts cannot fully agree and so there is very little hope for the individual to be given any certainty about the subject.
One thing is clear, however, hypnosis is extremely safe and is just a tool to enable a person to go deeper into one's own unconscious mind than is possible in a waking state. It is the suggestions more easily placed into a mind when it is in such a state that can be dangerous; but it is these which can be just as harmful in the waking state as in the hypnotic state.
Hypnosis has become a favourite form of entertainment with stage shows where members of the public make themselves look like idiots by following instructions to act like a chicken, or believe they are a superstar. Strangely, people still flock to these shows and are even more eager to be picked to be the 'victim'.
A stage hypnotist will often declare to a person that their mind was too strong for them. These people go back to their seats feeling proud that they cannot be affected by this mysterious force. This is far from the truth; in reality, everybody can be hypnotised to a certain degree. The stage performer is looking for the show-offs. People who want to do strange things, act out a fantasy and to be able to blame hypnosis afterwards. This is not to say the victims are not hypnotised, but it wouldn't be an impressive show if the hypnotist commanded someone to do something and they refused.
Regression is a kind of guided tour of the subconscious. Therapists can, and do, take people back into their past, normally to find deep-seated repressions (hidden memories) in their clients. These are in the main found in childhood when the young fertile imagination is just forming its views. Sometimes conflicts in the mind occur and the immature mind is unable to cope with them. The intellect says, 'I did this' but the emotions say, 'I couldn't have done'. The emotions usually win and what is known as a repression forms. The illusive forgotten memory.
Seeing the forgotten memory as an adult is said to free that person from their underlying problem and let them live a normal life free from the anxieties caused by the repression. It is said that using hypnosis in this way can cut down the 1,000 hour analysis to just ten to 20 hours. This is hotly debated but many people seem to have benefited and it is very much lighter on the pocket.
This is a valuable life skill and the sort of thing you are taught on management training courses. Take your lobster, stand it on its head with its claws laid out in front of it and its tail curled inward. Rub your hand up and down the carapace making sure to rub between the eyes. Eventually it may stand by itself. You are now in complete control of your lobster. Obviously, your friends will not be impressed if you are in a restaurant and the lobster is cooked.