Scientists are admitting hypnosis makes people literally see what they believe by affecting the way their brains function.
Volunteers who had their brains scanned while under hypnosis showed they were not merely doing what they were told. The scans revealed that when they were asked to see non-existent colours, they really saw them.
In the tests by the University of California a burst of activity was seen in the part of their brain responsible for perceiving colour. The scientists carrying out the study believe it has important implications and a spokesman said: "There has been a whole argument that hypnosis is just an exaggerated form of social compliance - in other words, people just telling you what you want to hear."
The research team is now looking at how hypnosis can prevent pain. One trial currently under way involves a group of children aged six to 12 with a suspected kidney disorder. It can only be investigated by inserting a catheter probe into the bladder without anaesthetic.
Under hypnosis, the children imagine they are enjoying a trip to Disneyland. "There is less crying, less pain as they are inserting the catheter, and the procedure takes 20 minutes less, which for a kid is a big difference," said the spokesman.
Change Your Life With The Power Of Hypnosis