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Excerpted from Best Evidence by Michael Schmicker. Copyright 2000 by Michael Schmicker. Excerpted by permission of Michael Schmicker.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Receiving suggestions while in a hypnotic trance has often proven even more powerful."

  Michael Schmicker, Best Evidence, Part 4

British medical research, for example, has confirmed that if a doctor suggests that a patient will get well quickly, such patients improve faster than patients who weren't given such optimistic forecasts. What caused the accelerated healing? The patient's belief in the doctor's words. Belief can sometimes even change bad medicine into good. Krippner cites a study where a group of people with upset stomachs were given a medicine actually designed to worsen their nausea, but were told it would help their stomachs. Belief triumphed. A verbal suggestion was more powerful than physical matter (a medicine) in determining how the body would react.

Receiving suggestions while in a hypnotic trance has often proven even more powerful. The power of the mind while in a hypnotic trance has been used to successfully treat a number of physical and mental conditions. Hypnosis is now considered part of mainstream medical practice. Its acceptance by Science can make us forget that hypnosis used for medical intervention is really a form of mental healing.

Indeed, hypnotism started out as a healing therapy. The Austrian medical doctor Franz Mesmer is credited with drawing the Western world's attention to the powers of hypnotism in the late 1700s. His theory of "animal magnetism" which incorrectly combined various insights into magnetism and healing, eventually fell by the wayside, but not before one of his disciples, the Marquis de Puysegur, accidentally produced a hypnotic trance in one of his patients. Puysegur explored the hypnotic trance phenomenon in a variety of experiments and is credited with discovering most of the features now associated with hypnotism. Due to Mesmer's fame, the new trance phenomenon became known as "mesmerism."

What mental healing feats can the mind do under hypnotic suggestion? Studies cited by Murphy suggest that it can speed healing from burns; relieve or eliminate herpes, psoriasis, dermatitis and fish-skin disease, help treat asthma; relieve allergies; and control gastric acid secretions. The human skin is especially amenable to suggestion. Using hypnosis, researchers are able to produce real, physical blisters, bruises and skin inflammations on test subjects simply with words--a suggestion. Hundreds of tests have been conducted in this area confirming the power of thought alone to produce such dramatic physical changes to the skin. In one experiment cited by Murphy, a hypnotist suggested to a woman that she was sitting on a sunny beach. The skin on her face, arms and shoulders turned beet red. Her body responded as if the suggestion were reality.

One of the most dramatic features of the hypnotic trance is the ability of many entranced subjects to ignore pain using just the mind. By the mid-1800s, notes Murphy, some European doctors were using hypnotism (the new term for mesmerism) to serve as an anesthesia during surgery...

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