to see actual brainwaves of a client under hypnosis using a stereo
IBVA recorded with top Hypnotherapist Ursula James, London
IBVA as a measuring device can show a professional when
their client is in a light trance state, for effectively receiving hypnotherapy.
IBVA brainwave data really is the 'convincer', and the sensor band can
be worn during a session by the client. Hypnotherapists induce slow
brain wave states, Alpha waves are present during the 'light hypnotic'
state used by hypnotherapists for suggestion therapy. Hypersuggestibility
is characterized by a narrow focus of attention and increased likelihood
to act upon suggestions given by an operator.
to download a PDF from the NeuroNetwork detailing Frontal Lobe changes in EEG during Hypnosis as measurable with an IBVA
'Hypnosis really changes your mind'
NewScientist.com, 13:28 10 September 2004 by Anna Gosline.
Hypnosis is more than just a party trick, it measurably changes how
the brain works, says a UK researcher. Hypnosis significantly affects
the activity in a part of the brain responsible for detecting and responding
to errors, says John Gruzelier, a psychologist at Imperial College in
London. Using functional brain imaging, he also found
that hypnosis affects an area that controls higher level executive functions.
“This explains why, under hypnosis, people can do outrageous things
that ordinarily they wouldn’t dream of doing,” says Gruzelier,
who presented his study at the British Association for the Advancement
of Science Festival in Exeter, UK.
The finding is one of the first to indicate a biological mechanism underpinning
the experience of hypnosis. Gruzelier hopes it will also benefit emerging
research showing, for example, that hypnosis can help cancer patients
deal with painful treatments.
Gruzelier and his colleagues studied brain activity using an fMRI while
subjects completed a standard cognitive exercise, called the Stroop
The team screened subjects before the study and chose 12 that were highly
susceptible to hypnosis and 12 with low susceptibility. They all completed
the task in the fMRI under normal conditions and then again under hypnosis.
Throughout the study, both groups were consistent in their task results,
achieving similar scores regardless of their mental state. During their
first task session, before hypnosis, there were no significant differences
in brain activity between the groups.
But under hypnosis, Gruzelier found that the highly susceptible
subjects showed significantly more brain activity in the anterior cingulate
gyrus than the weakly susceptible subjects. This area of the brain has
been shown to respond to errors and evaluate emotional outcomes.
The highly susceptible group also showed much greater brain activity
on the left side of the prefrontal cortex than the weakly susceptible
group. This is an area involved with higher level cognitive processing
Gruzelier concludes that, under hypnosis, these brain areas are having
to work much harder to achieve the same cognitive task results. “This
is confirming our model of hypnosis with very direct evidence of brain
function,” he says.
Peter Naish, at the UK's Open University, says this moves the understanding
of hypnosis away from the popular misconceptions created by showy stage
“We have a technique that has now moved towards evidence-based
treatments,” he says. “Gruzelier’s work is showing
for sure that the brain is doing quite different things under hypnosis
than in normal everyday existence.”
Clinical trials of therapeutic hypnosis are starting to confirm its
potential benefits. Christina Liossi, a psychologist at the University
of Wales in Swansea, recently conducted a study of 80 cancer patients
aged 6 to 16.
She found that those under hypnosis experienced far less pain during
treatments than control children, who simply talked to the researchers
IBVA and more about how to 'Think Theta'
The EEG display of persons under hypnosis reveal
brain activity resembling an altered state of consciousness. In both
people highly susceptible to hypnosis and people with low hypnotic susceptibility.
Interestingly, the two categories of people displayed different patterns
of EEG activity. During a baseline, or rest period, before undergoing
hypnosis, higher Theta brain wave power was recorded in the frontal
brain areas in those more susceptible to hypnosis. In the period of
time before and after the hypnotic induction, those with a low susceptibility
to hypnosis displayed an increase in Theta wave activity. Those with
high susceptibility had lower Theta waves. All subjects demonstrated
an increase in Theta waves during hypnotic induction and alpha wave
activity increased as well. Delta waves are more visible when a subject
is in a deep trance,
Many scientists have spent a lot of time studying
these basic brain waves of the EEG, so there is a lot of basic knowledge
about them. Alpha waves are not always present in our brains. For example,
in deep sleep there is no Alpha, and if someone is very highly aroused
as in fear or anger, again there is virtually no Alpha. Theta waves
are seen when there is drowsiness or light sleep. Alpha is seen in wakefulness
where there is a relaxed and effortless alertness . So people susceptible
to hypnosis may be more relaxed. This may be why so many assert that
the mellow, relaxed state of hypnosis awakens the imagination and heightens
learning and creativity. A person certainly has more difficultly being
imaginative under stress.
The Hypnotic condition put to the test
Scientists Kossylan and Thompson of Harvard University also demonstrated
that the brain changes while under hypnosis. They conducted an experiment
on only highly hypnotizable people. These people were placed into a
positron emission tomography scanner that measures cerebral blood flow
in order for "pictures" of their brains to be taken while
the experiment was conducted. The subjects were shown a pattern of multi-colored
quadrilaterals. They were asked to mentally drain the color from these
images. Later, these same people were shown gray rectangles and asked
to color them with their minds. When not hypnotized, people who were
asked to see color--- whether they did or not showed activity on the
right side of the brain. When these people were told to see gray, activity
changed on the right side of the brain only also. The experiment was
repeated while the subjects were under hypnotism.
Interestingly, both the left and right side of the brains were active
in the subject when the experiment was duplicated under the hypnotic
condition. The researchers hypothesized that the left side of the brain
registered what the subjects were told to see when hypnotized and that
the right side registered what people were told to see whether or not
they were hypnotized. This is interesting because the left side of the
brain is correlated with logic and rational thought. In this experiment,
the left side of the brain becomes engaged in what may be considered
a creative right-brained activity, but only when it is under hypnosis.
Kossylan states that this means that, "hypnosis changes the conscious
experience in a way not possible when we are not under hypnosis".
Hypnosis, EEG and Pain
A similar study was conducted in 1999, into the effects of hypnosis
on pain perception. A person was asked to place their hand into hot
water while in a hypnotic trance and when not in a hypnotic trance.
The study measured brain waves in both cases using EEG and positron
emission tomography. This study, like the Harvard Study mentioned above,
found that there are specific patterns present within the brain, while
it is in a hypnotic state. This, however, does not mean that scientist
understand hypnosis any more than they did before, but they do know
how the brain acts under hypnosis.