Hypnosis in Wellness: Insights by Dr. David Spiegel


Dive headfirst into the enthralling world of mind-altering methods as we unravel the secrets of hypnosis and explore the cutting-edge psychedelic research that’s reshaping our understanding of wellness. Forget the hocus-pocus of stage performers; immerse yourself in the scientific revelations that link eye movements to hypnotizability and discover how these tools are revolutionizing treatments for everything from sleep disorders to chronic pain. Get ready to challenge your preconceptions and journey through a terrain where the power of the mind meets the potential of medicine.

Hypnosis and psychedelic research

Bright light exposure is a powerful tool for shift workers and anyone needing to adjust their sleep-wake cycle. When trying to wake up, getting close to a bright light can suppress melatonin, aiding alertness. For those regularly engaged in shift work, the best advice is to sleep whenever possible. However, if the irregular schedule is only temporary, such as during travel, it’s better to try and adapt to the local schedule rather than focusing on catching up on sleep.

The impact of hypnosis on wellness and clinical applications is often misunderstood due to associations with stage hypnosis. Clinical hypnosis is more about self-directed hypnosis, a state of narrow focus but deep relaxation. Dr. David Spiegel, an expert in the field, along with his father, discovered methods to determine hypnotizability using eye movements. Specific cranial nerves are involved in upward or downward gaze, tied to alertness or drowsiness, respectively. This unique brain state can enhance neuroplasticity, and for those highly susceptible to hypnosis, techniques can be highly effective for things like smoking cessation and pain relief. Self-hypnosis holds potential if it can transcend the stigmas associated with its name.

The conversation on psychedelics in medicine is complex and requires caution. The rise in the study and potential therapeutic use of substances like psilocybin and MDMA is noteworthy, yet there are significant concerns regarding the impact on mental health, especially in individuals with underlying conditions predisposed to bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Moreover, while certain clinical trials have shown promise for treatment-resistant depression, it is important to approach these substances with care, recognizing that they should be administered with professional guidance if used therapeutically.

Lastly, meditation and non-sleep deep rest (NSDR), such as Yoga Nidra, have been suggested to offset some sleep loss and enhance wakefulness. Meditation practices can increase memory and focus, but it’s recommended to avoid meditating too close to bedtime, as this can disrupt sleep. NSDR practices offer a different approach, helping individuals ease back into sleep if they awaken during the night. While quality sleep remains crucial, tools like NSDR may provide some cognitive restitution for those unable to attain sufficient sleep and are currently being studied for their impact on sleep health and performance, especially in settings where optimal sleep is not feasible, such as for military personnel.


In concluding, the power of hypnosis and the potential of psychedelics in medicine offer exciting frontiers for health and wellness. While bright light therapy provides a tangible solution for those battling the challenges of shift work and jet lag, hypnosis presents an inward journey to wellbeing, transcending its theatrical misconceptions. For those deeply hypnotizable, it can unlock significant improvements in habits and pain management. In parallel, psychedelic research must proceed with nuanced consideration, balancing promising therapeutic benefits with safety and ethical practice. Both realms invite us to rethink traditional healing, integrating advanced understanding of the mind and brain into holistic care strategies.

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