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“Are you going to make me bark like a dog, or quack like a duck?”
As a hypnotherapist, I hear comments like this all the time. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve already jumped to a conclusion about hypnosis yourself. Perhaps you’re convinced it’s woo-hoo, voodoo, and a bunch of hoopla wrapped together to entertain crowds at the county fair.
Technically, you wouldn’t be wrong…people have used the skill of hypnosis to entertain crowds. Mainstream media loves to drive our imagination wild with outrageous storylines. Have you seen the movie, Get Out? Makes you think twice about drinking tea with anyone. These exaggerated fiction tales make us leery. It’s no wonder most people stay away from hypnosis. Plus it’s our brain’s job to keep us away from the unknown and otherwise seemingly dangerous. We don’t like things we don’t understand. But, it’s also a part of human nature to question what seems invalid. It’s good to question, research, investigate, and come to your own educated decision.
The thing is, hypnosis has been studied and researched extensively for decades. Award-winning doctor Dr. David Siegel, was exposed to hypnotherapy by his father—a psychiatrist and trained Freudian analyst who first experienced hypnosis in World War II to provide aid to soldiers and offer an alternative to anesthesia. The golden child of hypnosis research, Dr. Spiegel is the Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Center on Stress and Health, and the Medical Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. He’s legit. He’s even talked with the Dalai Lama about how hypnosis relieves pain and depression in cancer patients and how “feelings lead to healing. ”Hypnosis has also been studied and utilized by well-known psychologists like Carl Jung.
Hypnosis is more than just some weird county-fairground trick. I often describe hypnosis as meditation with a goal while harnessing the power of a mind-body connection.
Hypnosis is the act of guiding someone into a state of trance to bring the mind and body into absolute agreement. Although each hypnotherapist may describe trance differently, they can agree on a few key qualities. Trance includes a deep state of relaxation, hyper-focus or intentional concentration, and openness or increased suggestibility.
A stage hypnotist makes suggestions to evoke an external response from the hypnotized volunteers, to entertain the crowd. A hypnotherapist’s suggestions are intended to create internal changes within the client. The stage bunch is open to performing simple tasks (laughing until you cry, dancing like nobody's watching, etc.) that they otherwise would allow themselves to do in their normal day to day life. They are open to it, the hypnotist suggests it, and in a deeply relaxed state, they react accordingly. “They are not thinking about themselves doing it, they’re just doing it.” It truly is that simple.
If it sounds too simple, it’s because it is. The truth is, most of us go in and out of trance every day, multiple times a day. It happens when you’re very relaxed or very focused and can feel similar to a daydream like state. Have you ever completely zoned out on your way to work and couldn’t recall how you got there? Could you, without a doubt, retrace every red light, stop sign, or right turn you made? No? It’s because you were in trance.
The only difference between hypnosis and these everyday trance states is that in hypnosis, someone induces the trance state for a specific reason or goal: healing, pain relief, stress relief, fear of public speaking, or increasing self-esteem, to name a few. The definition of hypnotherapy is clear from the word itself. Hypnotherapy is the practice of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes.
Hypnotherapy allows us to communicate directly with the subconscious mind, while letting you be in the driver's seat. The subconscious mind is the part of the brain that is on autopilot, running in the background, a reservoir that holds your ideas, beliefs, and perceptions. The interesting thing is that ninety-five percent of the time, we’re totally unaware of what’s running in the subconscious mind.
Imagine your mind is like an iPod. When you first get it, there are no programs to run or songs to play; you have to download them first. The mind at birth is like a brand new iPod, ready to download. From birth to about eight years old, your brain is in a theta brain wave, simply recording or downloading.
Theta is the brain wave we experience during trance and the same brain wave we desire in hypnotherapy. During these first eight years of life, each person is recording the world around him or her and loading the “programs” that we use for the rest of our lives—downloaded and stored in the subconscious mind. These programs are downloaded into our subconscious mind and run in the back of our mind forever. Just like an iPod, we can skip the song or program altogether, but it’s only a matter of time before it comes up again.
The purpose of hypnotherapy is to rewrite those old songs (or programs) you’re tired of and want to skip. When you’re deeply relaxed, open to suggestion, and truly desire that specific goal or outcome in your life, you allow that program to be overwritten. Hypnotherapy can reduce stress, anxiety, or aid you in reaching your specifically desired goals to enhance your life.
If you’re new to hypnotherapy, curious, or want to want to try it out for yourself, download this free deep hypno-meditation.
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.