Hypnosis & Meditation
Hypnosis and meditation are both considered to be modified states of consciousness which reflect a dynamic change in brain activity. â€˜The experiencer feels a qualitative alteration in the overall pattern of mental functioning such that their consciousness is radically different from the way it functions ordinarilyâ€™ (Tart, 1972). Hypnosis and meditation affect plasticity changes in the brain.
The changes in brain plasticity differ in hypnosis and Vajrayana-Buddhism Meditation. Analysis via EEG, PET and fMRI found that high amplitudes in alpha frequency bands were most pronounced with meditation in frontal positions and with hypnosis in central and temporal locations. The most pronounced EEG changes were found in deep as compared to light hypnosis. (Achieving deeper trance states in hypnosis is simply a matter of practice) Significantly greater activity was found in Theta 2 band, observed only with hypnosis in both hemispheres.
Hypnosis and meditation were compared and found to differ in terms of sensory input, processing, memory and time.
In hypnosis sensory input is limited and determined by suggestions. In Shamatha meditation sensory processing is focused and deliberately controlled. In Vipassana meditation the input/processing is mainly aware controlled.
As hypnotic trance develops, so too does heightened suggestibility and suppressed memories may be experienced. Hypnosis often uses age regression and progression therapeutically to allow subjects to experience or re-experience inner sensory, emotional, or perceptual events. Meditation however, does not use memory as a component, instead meditators are asked to remain in the â€˜here and nowâ€™ â€“ the main focus of meditation is being in the present.
Both hypnosis and meditation can be used effectively to reduce and prevent stress.
Contemporary Hypnosis 26(4): 194-215 (2009) Wiley InterScience