Does Hypnosis Work?

I asked myself this question this week as I watched lots of hypnosis sessions (I made a compilation of the most relaxing channels which are great for unintentional ASMR).

I think hypnosis is quite interesting, as it reveals a lot about us humans and whether we have free will (it’s not impossible to lead people to forget certain things or imagine things, which of course can be abused). I remember Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, saying visiting a hypnosis seminar was one of the most useful things he ever did. If you look closely, you will find subtle hypnosis in many places: In marketing and sales pitches, in seduction, in music, in our politicians talking to us. And in ASMR.

In a way, ASMR is a form of hypnosis, at least the spoken part. It’s no coincidence that a lot of ASMR creators speak in a slow, gentle voice with a hypnotic cadence (they call it “soft spoken”), which is basically how hypnotists talk.
A person who is content and happy doesn’t lose it if somebody cuts the line.

On the one hand, there’s no doubt that serious hypnotherapy can work well. It can help to improve the performance of athletes or getting rid of bad habits like smoking. It can even be used to replace anesthesia, to some extent.

But it’s no magic spell that turns the subjects into mindless zombies when you snap your fingers, as portrayed in some movies.

And unfortunately, it seems that there are some sketchy guys in this hypnosis industry. Some of the hypnosis demonstrations seem ridiculously fake, such as this guy “hypnotizing” a young woman on the beach into believing he’s invisible. And I don’t really buy the stage hypnosis thing where a big group of people falls asleep or sleepwalks.

But I believe that a lot of the demonstrations ARE actually possible. Even the so-called “elman induction” where subjects are made to forget a number or their name.

How is that possible? I can’t know for sure, but here’s what I suspect:

  • Being in a trance-like state (we know this if we experience good ASMR) makes us shut off our conscious brain, to some extent, which probably means we’re much more susceptible to subtle “commands”
  • If the commands come from a person of authority who seems to be fully in control of the situation (which a proficient hypnotist is), you’re more likely to obey. Add to that the social component (you’re in front of an audience, you’re a bit insecure, and you know you’re supposed to “play along”). Humans default to social compliance
  • But third, and this is speculative, but I think true: We kind of WANT to be passive and give up control, at least sometimes. Life is exhausting, we’re tired of shouldering all these responsibilities. When there’s someone who tells us “you don’t have to worry about anything, all you need is relax and follow my commands”, most people will gladly obey. This instinct is scary because it has been abused so often, but it seems it’s deeply ingrained in us

My message is not for you to be scared. But it’s useful to be aware when people try to hypnotize you, probably. And be wary of your instinct to give up control and obeying authority because it seems more comfortable – it might not be in your best interest.

As with everything in life, I think we should embrace the positive aspects of hypnosis, maybe just to relax, or maybe it can really help us change our behaviors in a positive way.

😴 What might help you find calm

Intentional ASMR Picks:

  • Here’s a nice hypnosis head massage on the channel itsblitzzz I enjoyed. There aren’t that many triggers, but I enjoyed the intimate athmosphere and her hypnotic voice
  • Gentle Whispering made a sleep doctor eye exam roleplay and it’s great, as expected. I love the crinkling of her coat in general
  • I genuinely enjoyed Ephemeral Rift building a PC and talking about the different components (which made me a bit jealous too)
  • And finally a sound-only video by ASMR Magic with 7 interesting triggers (I especially liked those dried chili’s at the end)

💎 Hidden Gem:
I discovered Cap Bailey ASMR just today, and I enjoyed this recent bespoke shave & tailor roleplay

Unintentional ASMR Picks: