Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is an altered state of consciousness. This state of consciousness is usually achieved with the help of a hypnotherapist and is different from your everyday awareness. The purpose of hypnosis as a therapeutic technique is to help you gain more control over your behavior, emotions or physical well-being.
It's not clear, biologically and neurologically speaking, how hypnosis works. However, neuro-imaging of the brain under hypnosis has been studied , giving more respect to this controversial treatment. What can be said is that hypnosis creates a state of deep relaxation and quiets the mind. When you're hypnotized, you can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation while blocking out distractions. You're more open than usual to suggestions, and this can be used to change your behavior and thereby improve your health and well-being.
Hypnosis does not "cure" physical or psychological ailments. Hypnosis puts the mind into a deeply relaxed state that appears to bypass our cognitive filtering system. In essence, a hypnotic suggestion makes a thought or action more probable.
I was hypnotized once, as part of a group class seminar. It was a most wonderful experience. I felt deeply and profoundly relaxed, yet aware. Light as air - an ease never before known. We were told that no hypnotic suggestions would be offered, but I kinda wish the hypnotherapist put a "curb-your-eating-of-chocolate" suggestion for good measure!