The term "hypnosis" comes from the ancient Greek word "hýpnos", which means "sleep", and for a long time it had actually also been believed that the hypnotic trance was a form of sleep. But modern, scientific methods have exposed this as an error. Especially in the EEG, the differences between sleep, deep relaxation and hypnotic trance show up very clearly.
In fact, hypnosis decreases the level of wakefulness (cerebral state monitor (CSM)
, as determined, for example, for anesthesia
, falls below the measure of resting state with eyes open into the range required even for mild anesthesia. Nevertheless, the cerebral state monitor (CSM)
shows increased alpha activity, suggestive of focused attention, which has not been detected under anesthesia or during sleep.
The hallmarks of this state of hypnotic trance are calm, fluid thinking, blissful relaxation, a confident underlying mood, and a sense of mind-body integration. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) also shows increased activity in the area of the brain responsible for imaginations, plans, and daydreams.