How can I tell if I was in trance?
Many people who have experienced hypnosis and trance describe the state as one that is similar to the feeling just before falling asleep or just after awakening. Trance is experienced as a kind of in-between state - between sleep and wakefulness. During hypnosis, the hypnotic trance, there are changes in perception, feelings, thoughts and physical sensations. Usually you will also feel deep relaxation, which already provides indirect treatment for issues related to stress and tension. Besides this, various other phenomena indicate trance or deep relaxation under hypnosis. These can be observed very often, but do not occur with every individual under hypnosis.
This is how you recognize the hypnosic trance state
- Your breathing becomes calmer.
- Your heartbeat and pulse slow down in a pleasant way.
- Your facial muscles relax: as your facial muscles relax, your facial expression will become calm, the mouth might open in the process, the jaw muscles will also relax.
- The entire body becomes deeply relaxed, which can lead to decreased motion or a lack of desire to move.
- You may notice involuntary muscle movements and twitches. These sensations and muscle twitches might be familiar to you from sleep. They can happen in one part of the body, like the hand or shoulder, but it can happen anywhere in the body.
- Your perception of your own body and time can change. Sometimes people have the feeling of sitting slouched or misaligned, although nothing has changed in their posture. The sensation of the own body can move more and more into the background - body parts are hardly noticed and may feel lighter or heavier.
- The sensation of pain is reduced, muscles loosen and relax and can thus also release physical blockages. See also hypnosis for pain.
- Some people describe the state of trance like dreaming without sleeping, like being away or like being completely connected to themselves.
- The sensation of getting closer and closer to your goals.
These are just a few signs among which you can check for yourself if you are or have been in trance. Read more about What does hypnosis feel like? and more about trance phenomena in our hypnosis glossary.
This is how you recognize the hypnosic trance state
Breathing under hypnosis becomes calmer and more even, the facial expression relaxes and tension in the face diminishes. Some people might lose color in the face and become paler under hypnosis. Often there are also diminished eye movements, the closed eyelids remain still, or occasionally the eyelids might flutter while closed, as in REM state during sleep. When the client opens the eyes again after hypnosis, the eyes may be slightly red. Under hypnosis or in trance, you may swallow less as the swallowing reflex is diminished. This is not a cause of concern or dangerous - it is one of the well-known trance symptoms. You may need to clear your throat after hypnosis.
After a deep trance
When you go deeply into trance, the body is totally relaxed and you will lie or sit motionless for the majority of the time. Therefore, it is not surprising that you may feel a bit tired or even disoriented afterwards. Your cognitive reactions may be slightly slowed down, like after a short nap.
Armlevitation, catalepsy in Hypnosis
A pretty clear indication that the client is in trance is the fact that the so-called levitations work. For this purpose, the hypnotherapist can suggest to the client that, for example, the left arm starts to lift by itself (the so-called arm levitation). In a deep trance state, the arm will actually rise without the client having to actively contribute to it. As if by magic, the arm begins to float. Of course, this is not magic, but the arm movement happens through access to the subconscious mind. Another phenomenon is catalepsy. In this case, the client receives a suggestion during hypnosis to let the raised arm remain frozen and immobile in a certain position. It is then not possible for the client to loosen the arm again by force of his will - unless the client decides to exit or interrupt trance. Overall, the perception of the body can change significantly during hypnosis and trance. For example, the client may have the feeling that he is sitting crooked. However, he is actually sitting straight the whole time.
Some clients also report perceptual distortions involving their hands. They may feel that their hands are overly large or lose the sensation of their hands when they are touching. Pain is not an issue for most clients under hypnosis. Hypnotic relaxation can cause a change in the perception of pain. Thus, even more intense pain stimuli causes a less intense pain sensation, which can increase pain tolerance.
Ability to engage in visualizations
Changes in the imagination can also indicate a hypnotic trance. For example, an intensified ability to engage in visualizations is reported quite often. The client might see very colorful and vivid images during hypnosis. The ability to remember things may also intensify - this is called hyperthymesia. Information that cannot be recalled under normal circumstances or under stress can be recalled under hypnosis. This is due to the deep relaxation of body and mind, which makes it possible to access the subconscious.This means that it becomes possible that we remember facts, experiences or knowledge under hypnosis, which we thought we had already forgotten.
Another typical phenomenon that indicates hypnotic trance is time distortion. After the session, the client has often lost all sense of time and does not know how long he was actually in hypnosis. Thus, a short session may seem endlessly long, or a long session may seem very short.