Brain functioning under Hypnosis

The prevailing hypothesis about how the brain functions under hypnosis concerns the domination of its right hemisphere. However, in the late 90s, Spiegel published the results of their experiences when they demonstrated the role of the left brain in some hypnotic phenomena and certain types of tasks which the subjects were asked to perform in hypnotic states (Jasiukaitis P., P. Nouriani, Hugdahi K., D. Spiegel, Relateralizing hypnosis: or, have we been barking up the wrong hemisphere?  //Int. J. Clin. Exp. Hypn. — 1997. — Vol. 45. — No. 2. — P. 158-177).

Toukaev considers that in hypnotic state both hemispheres of the brain are used with a partial and selective activation of the right brain and a selective inhibition of the left brain, with the condition of the domination of the right hemisphere (Toukaev RD, Hypnosis, Mechanisms and methods of clinical hypnotherapy, Moskovskoe informazionnoe agenstvo, Moscow, 2006, pp.142-143). Brain-imaging of the brain under hypnosis shows increasing blood flow into certain areas of the two hemispheres with a gradual transfer of the domination of the left brain to the right brain. The installation of hypnotic state goes by passing more or less gradually from the analysis of surrounding data captured by sensory receptors to their selective inhibition for the activation of the brain areas responsible, among others, for the creation of mental representations, hallucinations and emotions (Toukaev, Same, pp.152-156).

Hypnotic state is caracterized by activation of the brainstem (regulation of heartbeat and breathing, pain control, alertness and sleep, activation of sensory perceptions), of the prefrontal cortex (language, reasoning, planning, working memory, tactile stimuli, taste, smell, emotions and motivations, remembering affective memories, "moral" concerned decision-making or followed by a reward; self-generating behavior), of the anterior cingulate cortex (affective behavior, cognitive regulation of emotional behavior, mental representation of the person's personality, self-judgment, pain perception), of the thalamus nuclei (reception and analyzis of sensory information, body awareness) (See functions of brain areas: Sylvain Pirot, Neurobiologie de la perception des émotions : structures et systèmes mis en jeu,, Neuropsychiatrie, Tendances et Débats, 2003, n°22 ).

The functions of the brain areas activated during hypnotic state clearly show the applicability of hypnotherapy.

Anna Iourenkova

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