Progressive Relaxation and Hypnosis

People see hypnosis in many different ways. They may picture a magician making someone cluck like a chicken, a witness being hypnotized to retrieve information on a crime, or a person becoming a mindless zombie to do the bidding of their hypnotist, no matter what.

Thankfully, the truth is a lot less exciting. Hypnosis is really just another term for trance, where a person is in a state between waking and sleeping.

When in a trance, the subject tends to highly focused on one stimulus, such as the hypnotists voice, while ignoring other things around them. The subject tends to be more suggestible and may have decreased inhibitions, however the trance is easily broken and the subject is never completely out of control of his or her behavior.


A person can be hypnotized using many techniques. Some techniques involve using props like a constantly moving spiral or a gold watch. The easiest technique, however, requires nothing more than the hypnotists voice and is know as progress relaxation.
To perform progressive relaxation, the person to be hypnotized needs to sit or lie down in a way that he or she is comfortable. Soft music might be played in the background if both the subject and the hypnotist agree to it.

Gradual Relaxation

In soft yet firm voice, the hypnotist starts by getting the subject to focus attention on each of the major muscle groups, starting with their feet and working their way up. The subject should be asked to tense the muscles, hold for a count of three, and then relax, working their way from the feet up the calves, knees, thighs, etc.

After every few muscle groups, the hypnotist should remind the subject to remain in that relaxed state, by reiterating the groups that have already been relaxed.
Once the hypnotist and their subject have made their way up to the face and neck, additional suggestions of sleepiness can be given.

This may include telling the subject that their eyelids feel heavy and encouraging them to close their eyes will listening.

In the Trance

Once this technique has successfully induced a trance, the hypnotist can get to work at the goal they are striving for. They can ask questions, suggest visualizations, or implant commands for use post-hypnosis. Some subjects may slip naturally from trance into sleep, and will awaken feeling calm and refreshed.

However, the best technique is to awaken the subject from the trance. The most used way of doing this is to count from ten to one while giving the hypnotized subject cues on how their body is waking up.

For instance, at ten they may be starting to wakeup, nine their feet are awake and ready to move, eight their legs are ready to walk, etc. working their way up the body and back to consciousness.

After performing a hypnosis session, you should be open to comments and criticism from your subject. Getting objective feedback can help you to always hone and improve your skill for even better results the next time around. You and your subject should keep in mind that multiple sessions may be required in order to achieve your desired results.