Wellness Institute Blog

Hypnosis and the Science of Visualization

Posted by Diane Zimberoff  Jul 17, 2014 5:00:00 AM

visualizationAlthough visualization may have been regarded as "new age hype" by some, research has shown that there is a strong scientific basis for how and why visualization works. It is now a well-known fact that we stimulate the same brain regions when we visualize an action and when we actually perform that same action.

Example

For example, when you visualize lifting your right hand, it stimulates the same part of the brain that is activated when you actually lift your right hand. This amazing discovery offers new possibilities for healing and recovery in areas such as:

  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Improving athletic performance
  • Treating phobias, such as a fear of flying
  • Changing mental attitudes

When a person has a stroke due to a blood clot in a brain artery, blood cannot reach the tissue that the artery once fed with oxygen and nutrients, and that tissue dies. This tissue death then spreads to the surrounding area that does not receive the blood any more. However, if a person with this stroke imagines moving the affected arm or leg, brain blood flow to the affected area increases and the surrounding brain tissue is saved. Imagining moving a limb, even after it has been paralyzed after a stroke, increases brain blood flow enough to diminish the amount of tissue death. This is a very clear indicator of the power of visualization. Extending the use of hypnosis beyond visualization to incorporate hypnotherapy can be very helpful in assisting a stroke survivor to deal with anxiety and depression that may develop. Both levels, the physical rehab and the emotional healing, can be accomplished in the same hypnosis session.

Visualizing T-cell Production

Many studies have shown that visualizing T-cell production (which enhances the immune response) actually does increase the body’s production and distribution of those infection-fighting cells.

Athletes have known about this power for a long time. One study showed that visualizations under hypnosis enabled nationally ranked Stanford male gymnasts to execute for the first time several complex tricks that they had been working on for over a year. The gymnasts were able to eliminate timing errors in the tricks, to increase flexibility, and, possibly, to concentrate strength. Visualization has also been shown to improve high jumpers clearing the bar.

Mental Attitude and Emotion

This principle clearly applies to mental attitude and emotion. When people focus on their fears it increases blood flow to the brain regions that process fear, which will stop your actions. If you focus on a positive outcome, blood flow in the brain is enhanced in areas that activate initiating goal-directed action. It is important not to let fear leak into your positive visualization, because if you visualize while worrying, it is like painting with a shaky brush. For example, a powerful treatment for a phobia like the fear of flying is to gradually increase visualizing the anxiety producing aspects of flying while maintaining a relaxed and positive attitude. Hypnosis is a valuable method for staying relaxed even in the face of an imagined stress.

The same techniques can be used in helping someone to change their belief system about low self-esteem, or an inability to create abundance.

Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy provides additional depth to the process of visualization by allowing an individual to go back in time, through age regression, to the source of the fear or phobia or self-limiting beliefs.

Your brain will act in accordance with your visions. 

 

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Topics: hypnotherapy, Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, hypnosis, recovery therapy