LOS ANGELES, CA - About 2/3 of adults are "hypnotizable" meaning that they're more trusting, more intuitive, and more likely to get totally absorbed in a movie.
Anyone who's ever barked like a dog at a hypnotist show, will swear up and down that it's legit. So will people who've had success treating pain, anxiety, and trauma.
Still, science has long debated whether a "hypnotic trance" is a separate neurological state- or just something that works because people believe it will work.
Dr. David Spiegel and his team at Stanford University set out to examine what's really going on during hypnosis. By administering functional MRIs, they found that, while in a trance, "highly hypnotizable" people had some pretty remarkable changes happening in their brains. The part associated with "worry" calms down and there's a disconnect between the part of the brain associated with planning and self-reflection.
Now Dr. Spiegel hopes that doctors and psychologists will take hypnosis more seriously as a treatment for managing pain, and as an alternative to opioids. More research is needed to fully harness the effects of hypnosis, but it has great potential to help us deal with the stresses of modern life. We're willing to give it a try- but we're also highly suggestible.