Understanding what happens to our brainwaves in hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis can help to explain how and why it works. The various shifts in brainwave patterns each bring their own benefits. So what happens in your brain when you have hypnotherapy?
Understanding Our Brainwaves in Hypnotherapy
What Are the Different Brainwave Patterns?
One can think of brainwaves like radio waves with a range of different speeds/frequencies, each with its own characteristics. They exist along a continuum, all present with one state predominating. As you read this there is a good chance you are mainly in Beta which is our fast every day mode. Hopefully wide awake, attentive and alert!
If we close our eyes, relax and focus as we might in meditation, prayer, yoga or hypnotherapy we can then move into the slower Alpha brainwave range. Here we can be present, calm, aware, alert yet relaxed.
The next zone along in the range is slower still, deeper and more relaxed as Theta waves predominate. This is our main brainwave pattern when we are going to sleep or dreaming. However, in hypnotherapy you stay awake, even though you may feel extremely relaxed. The slowest deepest waves are Delta and these are reached in very deep sleep or the deepest meditation.
Useful Patterns of Brainwaves in Hypnotherapy
The zones we want to reach in hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis are the Alpha and Theta brainwaves. As you begin to relax and become more inwardly focused and shift into alpha wave patterns. This allows you to access the zone where there is potentially improved memory recall, reduced pain, reduction in anxiety states and a better response to stress.
When the hypnotic state deepens we may access mainly Theta waves. There we are in the range where our internal awareness is increased. We can be deeply relaxed, focusing on signals from within and creating an opportunity for learning and updating.
In addition to accessing these brainwave states and their respective characteristics and benefits there is also another interesting aspect to these two brainwave zones.
In both Alpha and Theta states we are more open to suggestion. We can use this receptive state to explore new and beneficial ways of working with unhelpful habits or old beliefs and behaviours.
For me personally, one of the additional benefits I noticed from using self-hypnosis was the feeling that I was accessing more of myself and my potential. Opening up more opportunities within myself for creative problem solving.
People are often familiar with the idea of using affirmations, and I think these can be very helpful. I believe that when you work with this idea using hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis you have the opportunity to make them at a deeper level, so they can become “turbo-charged” affirmations.
You Are What You Think!
Each generation can think it is they who have discovered everything. I regularly smile when I come across new explanations of how we are and can change in NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), etc. A long while ago, the Buddhists summarised the human condition very well with “we become our thoughts”.
What we think affects our emotions and can change our physiology. If we think of something stressful, or experience it, and we have the feelings of stress. Anger, frustration, anxiety, distress, etc. and the adrenal response (adrenaline and cortisol) which creates the fight, flight or freeze response. Brilliant in a genuinely life-threatening situation but not for our long-term health.
Using an approach to shift your brainwave patterns into a more relaxed state can give you a mini-holiday from the stresses and strains of modern life. By creating an inner retreat in that moment, you can change your thoughts. Allowing calmer emotions to flow and experiencing the benefits of your body becoming more relaxed.
Then in your alpha and theta states you can nourish yourself by feeding in positive suggestions, images and ideas, working with issues and obstacles to open up possibilities.
Brainwaves in Hypnotherapy and Help With Sleep Issues
The pathway from everyday fast beta brainwaves through to alpha and theta states broadly parallels the process of going to sleep. It is not then a great leap to see how practising self-hypnosis or hypnotherapy may be of support in experiencing better sleep patterns. You can read more about how and why hypnotherapy for insomnia can help some people if they struggle to have a good night’s sleep.
To Infinity and Beyond…
And, just in case you are still awake, I will share one of my favourite brainwave nuggets. Gamma brainwaves are our fastest brainwaves and they illustrate, for me, two key points about life in general.
Firstly, they were initially considered “spare” because we didn’t know what they were for. Secondly, they fire above the frequency of what was thought to be possible in terms of neuronal firing.
Although we do or did not know exactly how these “impossible” brainwaves are created, they do exist. They may be involved in learning and memory. And to be present in states of altruism and our higher states. It is entirely possible that someone somewhere does already know how they work. As our understanding about how the brain works develops, this and many other mysteries are being unravelled at an amazing rate.
Maybe this is just a reminder of how beautifully and elegantly complex we are and the world in which we live. With each discovery new and incredible layers of knowledge point to even deeper mysteries and revelations.
All we have to do is to be open to the possibility.
I hope you have found this blog about Brainwaves in Hypnotherapy to be of interest. If you would like to explore more about hypnotherapy and how it could help you please do contact me. I offer a free mini-appointment to see if my approach might suit you.
I also run one-day self-hypnosis workshops where you can learn this incredible life tool. And you can find a wide range of hypnotherapy blogs on my website.