How Hypnosis Works: Neurotransmitters Offer Clues
By Deborah Lindemann C.H.T.
Do you want to heal or rejuvenate your life? Hypnosis is a powerful tool that can transform your body and mind. The medical community has already acknowledged the powerful effectiveness of hypnosis for chronic pain, smoking cessation, phobias, fears and much more.
Have you ever wondered why hypnosis is so effective and what happens inside your body when positive hypnotic suggestions are given to you? There is a scientific discovery that reveals why, and it has to do with something called neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that send signals from one neuron (nerve cell) to another throughout your entire nervous system. Neurons gather and communicate critical information about the internal state of your body and your external environment. This is part of your body’s electro-chemical communication system.
Although neurons don’t physically connect, they reach toward each other across a gap, or synapse, using hundreds or thousands of hair-like filaments called dendrites. Just at the point where two filaments almost meet, it is the neurotransmitter that sends important information across the gap from one neuron to another. Neurotransmitters are literally the connecting messengers that communicate throughout your entire nervous system, from the top of your head to the tips of each toe, creating an efficient communication network.
What does this have to do with hypnosis? Everything. When the first neurotransmitter was discovered in 1921 by Austrian scientist Otto Loewi, it was initially thought that neurotransmitters were located only in the brain. It wasn’t until 1989 when Dr. Deepak Chopra published his book Quantum Healing, that we began to hear that neurotransmitters literally bathe every single cell in your body.
Here’s why this discovery is so important for our understanding of hypnosis. At the heart of the transformative effects of hypnosis is positive suggestion. The fact is, your unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between a real and an imagined situation. It readily accepts positive suggestion as long as it is in alignment with your personal morals and values. These positive suggestions can apply to many areas of your life, including a healthier body, better sleep and improved self-confidence, just to name a few. To show you the significance and power of hypnotic suggestion and the link between thought, neurotransmitters and the body, try this simple exercise.
Imagine that you’re biting into a lemon. You feel the skin burst open as your teeth penetrate the rind. There is a spray of lemon juice that floods into your mouth. Just imagining this begins to produce saliva juices flowing in your mouth. So what just happened? As you focused on this imaginary situation, your thoughts were sending thousands of signals throughout your nervous system, through these chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters, creating your physical reactions to biting into a lemon. Now imagine how that same power of suggestion could be amplified if you were working on healing a specific health or emotional issue?
This IS the mind/body connection! The fact that neurotransmitters can literally bathe every cell in your body with healing messages in response to mere suggestion is a very important discovery and is literally at the heart of how hypnosis has the power to heal.