Relax and try to open your eyes
Imagine you’re relaxed and feeling very, very good. All your muscles are relaxed… your head, your neck, your arms, your legs – the whole body is relaxed… your breath is very, very slow and deep. You feel like you are falling asleep. You feel your eyelids become very, very heavy – heavy like lead. They are glued and even though you try, you can not open them up… the more you try to open your eyes, the heavier they become.
What is hypnotic catalepsy?
The example above shows how a hypnotist can try and encourage a phenomenon called hypnotic catalepsy. In broad terms, catalepsy relates to a state of a rigid, strong or immobile posture. In hypnosis, it typically relates to arms, eyes – as in the example above, fingers or the whole body. It is a very important hypnosis technique that can serve a number of goals, like deepening of the hypnotic trance or as a metaphor (more on this later).
From physical standpoint, catalepsy is essentially agonistic and antagonistic muscles working at the same time and balancing each other. Those muscle groups try to push and pull at the same time, thus rendering the limb rigid. The movements become jerky, rather than smooth. This is a good indication of a hypnotic trance. It sends a strong signal to the conscious mind that something different is happening, it can sit back and see the work of its unconscious counterpart. Hypnotic catalepsy signals to the hypnotist that the time has come to reinforce change or offer suggestions to alter behaviour.
Rigidity of catalepsy can be used as a metaphor to treat various issues. For example, it can symbolise development of strength and perseverance in one’s life. And taken fairly literally, it can be used to treat erectile dysfunctions.
How to cause hypnotic catalepsy?
Catalepsy is usually achieved through direct suggestion, just as demonstrated in the opening paragraph of this article. Usually a number of attempts are required, as it is difficult to achieve the first time around. This shouldn’t discourage the patient – rather, the patient should be reinforced that it is a process that takes a while to master.
Hypnotic catalepsy and eHypnotizer
Our device, eHypnotizer, works by utilizing the principles of hypnotic catalepsy. It offers suggestions, aiming at inducing arm and eye catalepsy. It then seeks to test, if arms or eye movements are jerky (suggesting hypnotic trance is deepening) or not. Depending on the outcome, it will reinforce the catalepsy or proceeds with the session to reinforce its goals.