He slumped over in his chair. I told him “Sleep!” and he had closed his eyes just like the three other volunteers I had brought up to the front of the room.
I was doing my hypnosis demonstration for the Rotary club I was speaking at that afternoon, but my first volunteer was doing something different than the others.
He was doing nothing.
Other than that “sleep” suggestion I gave toward the start of the demo, he just stayed slumped over, not following a single suggestion.
So does hypnosis put you to sleep?
Depths of Hypnosis
My hypnotee was so out that when I started doing some Q&A with the audience a woman asked, “Is he ok?”
I checked him out and explained to her that sometimes people feel so relaxed in hypnosis they won’t follow any suggestions, “Either that or he’s dead.” Luckily, the audience laughed.
When I brought my volunteers out of hypnosis, he came out of right away with everyone else just fine.
Although hypnosis can help you sleep, he wasn’t sleeping, and even if I tell someone to “sleep” what I mean is just to go inside yourself and relax deeply.
There are several depths of hypnosis – sort of. And different people have tried to create scales to measure the depth of trance and phenomena that are possible.
Unfortunately, they’re almost completely useless.
That Arons Depth Scale (created by Harry Arons) is at least *somewhat* useable as it only has 6 stages ranging from Hypnoidal (a light trance) to “profound somnambulism.”
The other scales of depth get increasingly ridiculous. The Stanford Scale has 12 levels of hypnosis. The Davis-Husband scale has a whopping 30 levels. And the Lecron-Bordeaux one has an absurd 50 levels.
When I’m working with someone, the last thing I want to be concerned about is, “Is he at stage 43 (able to have visual hallucinations) or 45 (able to have auditory hallucinations)?” Pretty silly.
Most of these scales are completely unusable in practice. There are signs of hypnosis that are useful to look out for to make sure someone’s going into trance. Some of those are eye fluttering, the face smoothing out as the muscles there relax, and more. But using a scale? Not useful, at least for me.
What makes it worse is what if one person experiences the same levels of depth but in a different order? Say if someone has an easier time with auditory hallucinations than visual ones? Then the scale doesn’t even work.
You can simplify the scales instead, maybe just separating hypnosis into “light” and “deep” states of trance. That can be helpful, but it’s not that functional.
My favorite scale comes from UK hypnotist Jonathan Chase. And it’s dead simple.
The Easiest Scale of Hypnotic Depth
This is what his scale is, and when doing a performance on the street or a demo for a service club like Rotary, it’s easy for me to use.
It’s just this one question: “Are they following my suggestions or not?”
That’s it. If the answer is yes, great! If it’s no, then I can adjust my approach to turn it into a yes. It’s that easy and I don’t have to break what’s a simple process down into something that’s more complex than it needs to be.
But what about that state where they won’t follow any suggestions? And was my hypnotee that deep?
The Esdaile State
There’s a misconception people sometimes have that they can get stuck in hypnosis.
But there is a very deep state where you’re so relaxed you don’t want to come out of trance. It’s called the Esdaile state, named after James Esdaile who used it in India to perform surgery without anaesthesia.
When someone’s in this state, they might not respond to any suggestions. My hypnotee at the Rotary club wasn’t that deep though – he was just being sluggish which sometimes happens.
So does hypnosis put you to sleep? Nope. If you were laying down though, relaxed and very comfortable, you might just fall asleep all on your own.
Denver Hypnosis for Relaxation
Even if I’m not actually putting people to sleep, hypnosis is incredibly relaxing. Life, as you know, can be extremely stressful at times. With hypnosis, you can not only relax deeply, but you can learn more effective strategies to take on the stress and challenges in your life.
Start relaxing more deeply now with your free hypnosis relaxation recording – just sign up in the sidebar on the right. Or if you have questions about hypnosis sessions, you can contact me as well.