Yes. In fact, there’s research to support it!

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In mid-March, I moved my Hypnotherapy practice to Zoom in compliance with Coronavirus Social Distancing measures. As a non-techie, I was a little apprehensive at first. But thanks to a new stop-smoking client who was willing to give it a try, I quickly discovered two very positive advantages: 1) no driving back and forth to my office and 2) the ability to easily record the hypnosis part of each session. A huge bonus for clients!

Even now, with the whole world on Zoom or some sort of video chat, I’ll still occasionally get the question:  Does hypnosis really work that way? Don’t you have to be in person, in the same room?

The short answer is yes, no, and…

  • Yes. Hypnosis definitely works remotely. 
  • No. You don’t have to be in the same room for it to be effective.
  • And. It’s been scientifically proven.

A group of Italian researchers pondered that very same question:  Can hypnosis work over an electronic device with the hypnotist in a different location? And they published their study in Psychology, 2018, (Scientific Research Publishing, Inc).(1)

Formulating their research, they noted that many had done studies based on transmitting hypnotic information through various electronic devices since the 1970s. And although the results were promising, their findings were based on self-reports of efficacy rather than scientific data. This team of experts wanted more objectivity. And they wanted measurable proof.

Their research process.

The researchers performed a series of cold pressor tests with six healthy, highly hypnotizable young adult volunteers. In other words, each test subject stuck their hand in a container of icy cold water while the researchers measured their blood pressure, heart rate, and pain tolerance. (This is a standard test to evaluate autonomic, involuntary response.)

They instructed each subject to leave their hand in the icy water until the pain was intolerable. And, to maintain objectivity, pain tolerance was measured by the length of time each person’s hand stayed in the icy water.

Each subject was tested three times: Once without any hypnotic suggestions and once with the hypnotist in the same room giving hypnotic suggestions for analgesia (a state of no pain). Then again, with those same suggestions given through a two-way transmitter-receiver with the hypnotist in a different room.

What they discovered.

Their study showed that in both instances of hypnotic focused analgesia, whether given by the hypnotist in the same room, or over an electronic device from a different room, the subjects’ perceived pain was nullified. And compared to the non-hypnotic test, each subject’s hand stayed in the icy water for a significantly longer amount of time.

Additionally, in the non-hypnotic test, subjects’ systolic blood pressure x heart rate increased 27.8 % after the 1st minute and 35.3 % at the end. During the hypnosis versions of the test, there was no increase.

Their conclusion.

The hypnotic state induced and maintained via transceiver was equivalent to the state induced and maintained with the subject and hypnotist in the same room.

And, in fact, it was the hypnotic information itself that was more important than the means used to communicate it.

What this means for you.

Hypnosis is about the words. And we are all “suggestible” to those words, no matter in what form we hear them. (Think about those TV commercials for poor starving children, or abused and neglected animals.) 

Hypnosis is a viable tool for change because it reaches past the logical mind and into the heart of the matter. Into the subconscious, where our emotional responses and automatic habits reside.

Think about it. Have you ever done or said something, then wondered…. “Where the heck did that come from!?”

Casiglia, E. , Albertini, F. , Tikhonoff, V. , Gasparotti, F. , Favaro, J. , Finatti, F. , Rempelou, P. , Lapenta, A. and Spinella, P. (2018) Experimental Approach to the Transmission of Information in Hypnosis. Psychology9, 1-13. doi: 10.4236/psych.2018.91001.