Hypnosis has many faces, which is part of its fascination as a career. It is conceivable that a single hypnotist could cover all of its facets. Some hypnotists actually combine hypnotherapy with a career on the stage but one of the most incredible things about hypnosis is all its unusual uses.
*1. Hypnosis can effectively enhance memory recall,* allowing subjects to
experience past events very vividly, even to the point of believing that
they are consciously present at these events. How far can this go? And as you may have heard, some people think hypnosis can recover memories from a past lifetime.
*2. Forensic hypnosis has been used often in enhancing the memory of
participants in criminal court cases,* primarily with victims or witnesses
to enhance the memory of the event. It was used in the cases of Ted Bundy, Sam Shepherd and Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler. In the case of
DeSalvo, it was used with the defendant himself.
*3. Hypnosis can induce a partial or almost complete state of
anaesthesia,*making subjects or patients oblivious to the surgeon's
knife, a state presumably similar to that of an Indian fakir, who can stick needles into his arm or lie on a bed of nails without experiencing pain.
*4. Another, scientifically verifiable aspect of hypnosis is the ability to
create positive hallucinations.* When I was in elementary school, I read a book on hypnosis that claimed that the hypnotist had created, for himself, a little pink elephant that followed him around all the time. The trouble was that he couldn't get rid of it right away. He had forgotten to suggest the possibility for removal of that little pink phantom. That really impressed
me as to the potential of hypnosis.
*5. Hypnosis can be used to create relaxation during contractions in
childbirth.* It also helps to create a positive, trusting attitude toward
the labor and birthing processes. Stress hormones are eliminated that are fundamentally responsible for the pain in childbirth. Instead, wonderful
endorphins that are your body's natural pain relievers (and nature's love drug) are elevated, thus keeping the laboring mother in a state of
relaxation and having a sense of well-being.
*6. One extraordinary use of hypnosis is involved with overcoming specific phobias.* Phobias are deeply held unconscious fears which affect a person's whole life and psychological well-being.
*7. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of hypnosis is its ability to suggest and influence courses of action to people both inside of and outside the hypnotic trance.* A suggestion given within a state of hypnosis that
will have effect outside is called a post-hypnotic suggestion. These types of suggestions can have a profound and meaningful effect when trying to influence discordant habitual behaviour like smoking or gambling.