Hypnosis – Magic or Science?

Imagine if you will, the rhythmic beating of drums, the swaying of the shaman as he dances against the backdrop of the fire-lit ebony night. The tribesman begins to twirl with wild abandon.  Chanting continues until the lame join the dance.  The ill rise from their sick beds.  The shaman touches a forehead, and a young girl drops as if in instant and deep slumber, and when she awakens, she is pain-free.  What is this mysterious power with which the spirit master controls his tribe?  Surely, this man, unique among his people, has been imbued with magical powers originating in the world of spirit. Or could there be another explanation?

Magical Powers or Science

Let us fast forward to today.  There is a man of learning, of science.  He has studied for many years at the best universities that civilisation has to offer. He is a medical doctor and has the knowledge and skill to deliver people from their miseries.  He uses the latest diagnostic equipment; his skill is practiced. In short, he knows what he is doing. He suggests to a woman that she take a prescribed medicine for 7 to 10 days and then she will become free of her pain. Unknown to her, the medication prescribed was a simple sugar pill. Again, the special healer would appear to have magical powers.

There is no debate that these two very different men living in different times and places have access to an amazing power, but what do these men have in common?  Both of them understand that the human mind when imbued with a strong belief, has the ability to change the chemicals their body makes and the conditions necessary for healing to occur. It is rather ironic that the source of that power actually comes from the healed and not the healers.

Hypnosis is created through the use of words

The truth is the professional hypnotist is an individual who has learned to guide another person to alter their suggestibility and to achieve their desired goals through known scientific principles.  These principles are referred to as laws, such as the Law of Dominant Suggestion.   What one person can learn can be taught to others. Any motivated intelligent person can successfully perform a hypnotic induction and through the process alter their suggestibility to achieve their purposes.  Hypnosis is created through the use of words. It is a skill that has been taught and learned throughout recorded history.

Which brings us back to our original question: Is it magic or is it science? This question brings to mind a quote from Thomas Edison who, when asked how electricity worked, succinctly answered, ” It works, use it.”

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