Feb 09 2013

Deep Breathing Reduces Stress according to Harvard University

La méditation (Danse Odissi, musée Guimet) La méditation (Danse Odissi, musée Guimet) (Photo credit: dalbera)


Vol. 187, Feb. 9, 2013

I find it most interesting that when Harvard University is speaking about ways to reduce stress they suggest to their readers of The Harvard Health Publications of the Feb. 2011 edition, that deep breathing, progressive relaxation and guided imagery along with meditation would be the best ways to go.

What I find so interesting and bothersome about this is that all of these are components of a decent hypnotic induction though they refuse to make this acknowledgement.

Usually before a hypnotist will induce the trance (or hypnotic) state, the client will be told to take a few deep breaths. The reason for this is that the oxygen that is breathed in will go directly to the brain to began the relaxation that is the basis of all hypnosis.

Though I don’t use a progressive relaxation in my own practice given that it takes way too long to do and figuring the my clients would rather have me help them work out their issues, many hypnotists swear by them. Progressive relaxation is the main method use to deepen the trance state used by those trained by the National Guild of Hypnotists. It is a very gentle and effective method, though to do it well adds a significant amount of time, sometimes as much as 10 minutes or so to the creation of the trance state. I can induce a trance in 10 seconds to 2 minutes using other techniques allowing my clients to receive much more time to resolve issue then if I were to do a progressive relaxation with them. However, what Harvard states in their publication is very true: that stress will be diminished, the breathing is deepened the blood pressure comes down as the heart is slowed down. Though I would also like to point out that any method of deepening will achieve the same goal.

Guided visualization is the basis of much of hypnosis. It allows the client to use the imagination to create a much better representation bringing about better perspectives to achieve the desired outcome. Harvard states in this report that guided visualization is a way to reduce both the physical and emotional components of stress. Hypnotists use guided visualization to take care of many of the problems that clients come in with, allowing them to leave feeling much lighter and brighter.

Meditation with a purpose is the way that Julie Griffin, my first hypnosis teacher explains hypnotism. You see, one’s brain is at the same brain wave level as one would be meditating. The difference between meditation and hypnotism is that with meditation one is emptying one’s mind of content, while during hypnotism the same natural state is used to bring about the transformations that that client desires, thus the noted “purpose”.

The fine folks at Harvard suggest that one can either use a recording to achieve the relaxed state, or hire a professional to help one to get there. The only thing that was left out was the sort of professional one ought to seek out. This is unfortunate because the only professionals who really understand how to utilize the unconscious mind to get the results the client desires in a trained hypnotist or neuro-linguistic practitioner (also hypnotism by the definition that the manner in which it works is the same as that of hypnotism, by passing the critical factor of the conscious mind to enter the unconscious mind).

Though one would think that this information was really geared toward all the pressures that adults feel in the world, I would suggest that we allow our children to learn these techniques as well, the earlier the better. Children are by their very nature operating from their unconscious mind, not yet having the level of mental development as adults. They haven’t gotten to the point where they judge, analyze, rationalize and criticize as adults do, making them gifted trance subjects. Children are easily able to make the changes that would best help them to feel good while letting go of any thoughts, behavior, or habits that may be hindering their young lives.


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