Hypnosis can look and feel a variety of different ways depending on the individual. While the experience feels a little different to each person there are some specific signs of trance. We often have people ask us about this when first exploring the idea of coming in for a session. So I thought we’d talk a bit about what trance looks and feels like today.
Remember that not all subjects will have the exact same signs or experiences. You may experience some or all of the signs mentioned here. If you don’t experience all of them don’t fret, even one sign can be signatory of a light trance. And just like any other skill, this is one that can be improved with practice. Many of the signs are subtle and easily missed.
The first sensation you may notice is your muscles relaxing. You may notice yourself making efforts to become more comfortable. Someone in trance will not remain physically tense. This is usually most noticeable in the face. The subjects facial features will smooth as if ironed out. They may have a vacant look in the eyes if the eyes are open.
In addition, the subject will become still. They do not have to be frozen by any means, but a person in trance does not make restless movements. Once I have a client down to trance they rarely even move. Even people who normally exhibit tics or twitching can often remain still or lessen their movement while under hypnosis. When a person in trance does move, they will be slow and efficient in their movements.
Finally, I usually notice a slight flush of the skin when a client goes into trance.
Several signs of trance occur in the eyes. The first is that as someone enters trance they begin to blink more slowly. You may see fluttering in the eyelids during the initial phases of trance. Some individuals give the appearance of their eyes rolling upward.
- Your pulse rate and breathing slows down. Though there may be a temporary spike in pulse when someone realizes they have entered trance for the first time.
- The swallowing reflex slows or disappears during trance. Of course, should attention be drawn to it, the subject will usually swallow.
- Reaction time to suggestions becomes slower the “deeper” in trance one goes.
If you read the past posts (see links above) you know that attention is heightened during hypnosis due to changes in brain wave functions. This causes some specific reactions allowing for suggestibility and change. In particular attention is affected in the following ways:
- Less distracted by outside noise.
- Intently focused on the hypnotist voice allowing other thoughts to drift out of their head for the duration of the session.
- May become so absorbed in listening that they no longer have to make the effort to listen.
- Can react internally more instantaneous to enact change due to hyper focused state.
What Does Trance Feel Like?
We’ve talked about the signs of trance. Now let’s turn to how trance feels. while this is a subjective experience there are some common descriptions. Just as in the list above, you may experience all or only a few of the items listed.
- Feeling relaxed.
- Feeling of floating or drifting as through the air or water.
- An ability to ignore the usually pressing thoughts of the day (may even occur in anxious individuals).
- Aware of your surroundings.
- Feeling at peace.
- You may notice that your imagination is more vivid.
- Some people feel detached from their problems during trance.
- You may feel heavier or lighter than usual
- Time may feel distorted (either shortened or elongated)