Friday, May 26, 2017

Hypnosis, mindfulness, and the brain

Lots of stuff about "mindfulness" as a magic cure, but it's just hypnosis lite.

I took a hypnosis course with Dr. Spiegel Pere, but here is a lecture by his son and coworker about hypnosis...

I haven't watched the talk yet, but the blurb says:

Hypnosis is a specific form of brain activity that involves highly focused attention, coupled with dissociation, openness to suggestion, and an enhanced ability to modulate perception. 
I haven't watched the talk, but in the course I took we learned that not eveyone can be hypnotized: It has a neurological basis. And that part about "openness to suggestion" is a two edged sword: It can help you control pain, but it also means you can be open to bad suggestions. And this ability is hard wired. You can be taught to use your ability, but nevertheless how deep you can be hypnotized depends on your brain.

the hypnotic state involves reduced activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus, a key part of the salience network, increased functional connectivity between the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a key part of the executive control network, and the insula, which processes mind-body control and pain, and inverse connectivity between the DLPFC and the default mode network, which processes self-reflection. The hypnotic ability to focus attention and modulate perception has clear clinical application, especially in pain and anxiety control.

. And the deep concentration state is similar to tose doing art or music, the Jesus prayer, TM, or watching a movie in a dark theatre...and is probably the basis for faith healing and placebo effect in medicine.

Did I ever tell you about a Nigerian psychiatrist who as a young doc worked in that country's civil war? When they ran out of morphine and anesthetics, he hypnotized them. I asked if he learned this in medical school, and he said no: He learned how to do this from his grandmother, a native healer...


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