Exploring the mysteries of hypnosis
The brain basis of the hypnotic state remains a matter of conjecture.
The term "hypnosis," invented in the 19th century, is derived from the Greek word for sleep, but the derivation is misleading. People undergoing hypnosis are often physically relaxed, and they may be told to close their eyes to enter a hypnotic state, but they remain fully awake and alert. Yet the way that the brain processes information during hypnosis does suggest an alteration in consciousness that researchers are still trying to understand.