Hypnotherapy has therapeutic applications for both psychological and physical disorders. When patients allow themselves to be hypnotized, they enter a hypnotic trance, an advanced state of relaxation where body chemistry changes.
Numerous methods of hypnotic induction exist, but regardless of the particular procedure used, the primary concern is to quiet the patientís conscious mind to make the unconscious mind more accessible. As the unconscious mind is basically non-critical, it is during the period of deep hypnosis that posthypnotic suggestions (those that take effect after the patient awakens from the trance) are most effective. Hypnotherapy, while powerful, is not a cure-all. However, it has become widely used to control pain, reduce stress, and assist in healing. Research supports its use in certain situations, such as the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.