I recently spent a few hours trying to help an old friend find a good hypnosis CD online and I confused myself with all the proprietary trademarks and names some of my competitors gave to their methods.

Yeah, yeah…I could just make one for her myself but, really, this lady has known me forever (since I was a crazy teen) and has heard this voice tell the most obnoxious dirty jokes, say the dumbest things (like “I do”), and all sorts of other things that would probably void any authority my college degrees and certifications give me. Let’s just say, it’s best if I help her find someone else’s stuff…

There certainly is a vast array of hypnosis and subliminal products on the market. I wrote this article is to help explain some of the common terms associated with subliminal and hypnosis self-help recordings.

How hypnosis works (super quick version)
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We all, in effect, have been hypnotized by our life experiences to believe a great number of things; some of them good and, well, some less so. As we go about our life, our subconscious mind records the experiences and creates beliefs based upon these experiences. These beliefs direct our future behavior.
Most, if not all, hypnotherapeutic products are designed to induce an altered state of consciousness which will allow suggestions and positive affirmations to permeate your subconscious mind while bypassing the critical factor of your conscious mind. This process will help you create the powerful transitions that you want in your own life by making it easier to reach your goals faster because your conscious mind won’t process the information to suit its own agenda.
Most hypnosis related products can be broken down into three categories; hypnosis recordings (including paraliminal recordings), subliminal recordings, and brainwave entertainment.
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Please keep in mind that a number of Hypnotists, myself included, tend to produce recordings with a mix of these techniques.
Hypnosis Recordings
Hypnosis recordings have generalized content similar to that of a live hypnosis session. They often include a pretalk designed to answer common questions about the process and create a state of relaxation, prior to the actual hypnosis induction and applicable suggestions.
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These recordings are designed to create a state of focused conscious awareness that will enable the suggestions to enter your subconscious mind, allowing you to make desired changes quickly and easily.
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Most people find success with hypnosis recordings. It is important to note that a session with a trained Hypnotherapist will always produce better results than a hypnosis recording because your session will be tailored to meet your unique needs. Many Hypnotherapists will provide you with a hypnosis recording of the session upon request due to their high efectiveness (ask before making an appointment). This can be helpful in helping to reinforce the changes that you have made, if necessary.
Paraliminal recordings are a type of hypnosis recording that stimulates both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously. This technique enhances the effectiveness of the session by utilizing the separate functions of the left and right brain.
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The left hemisphere of the brain is associated with verbal, logical, and analytical thinking: it works in a very linear and sequential fashion. The right hemisphere of the brain, on the other hand, is associated with creativity and intuition: it functions in a non-verbal manner and quickly processes perceptual, spatial and visual information. Paraliminal recordings create quick change because the left side of the brain is given straight-forward suggestions and instructions while the right side of the brain is engaged in creative visualization.
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For this reason, in paraliminal sessions you will hear two distinct voices which alternate from one ear to the other. It is important to use stereo headphones while listening to paraliminal recordings to ensure that each side of your brain is getting the message tailor made for it.
It may sound overwhelming, but paraliminals are actually quite relaxing. The sessions begin much the same way as traditional hypnosis recordings. You will first hear a pre-talk and an induction prior designed to deeply relax you before reaching the short paraliminal suggestion phase of the program. The beauty of this process is that one does not have to follow the suggestions for them to work, they can simply relax and let the brain absorb the messages.
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Subliminal Recordings
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Subliminal and Supraliminal recordings offer suggestions outside of conscious awareness, so you
do not consciously hear them. This allows the affirmations to embed directly into your subconscious mind.
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Subliminal recordings are generally one in which the suggestions are inserted into a recording at a very low volume. Supraliminal recordings contain suggestions that are recorded at very high frequencies which are outside the range of normal hearing: these messages are then placed into the recording at a very high volume.
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With either method, one consciously hears only the enjoyable music and/or white noise while their subconscious mind is taking in the positive and life changing messages.
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Subliminal messages are powerful and will help you create new habits over a period of weeks. People typically report faster results with supraliminal recordings. It is important to note that although one can listen to subliminal recordings while sleeping, it is best to do so only once each night so that you can let your mind fall into a natural sleep.
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Brainwave Synchronization and Binaural Beats
The brain perceives a binaural beat (aka binaural tone) when one hears two slightly different tones, one in each ear at the same time. These binaural beats influence the brain in various ways such as inducing hypnotic trance, or learning state. Currently, there is a growing body of research reporting the the influence binaural tones have on the brain.
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“The subjective effect of listening to binaural beats may be relaxing or stimulating, depending on the frequency of the binaural beat stimulation”
(Owens & Atwater, 1995).
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Binaural beats in the delta (1 to 4 Hz) and theta (4 to 8 Hz) ranges are associated with reports of relaxed, meditative, and creative states (Hiew, 1995) and are used as an aid to falling asleep. Binaural beats in the alpha frequencies (8 to 12 Hz) increase alpha states and heighten relaxation (Foster, 1990) while binaural beats in the beta frequencies (typically 16 to 24 Hz) are associated with reports of enhanced concentration, alertness (Monroe, 1985) and improved memory (Kennerly, 1994).
In a Nutshell…
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Each of these techniques will produce recordings that will help one facilitate change in his or her own life. Our attitudes, beliefs, and behavior stem from the messages our subconscious mind received throughout our life experience. If one wants to change his or her attitudes, beliefs and/or behavior, one must introduce new messages into the subconscious mind.
Research shows that conscious attention to messages tend to create the greatest and fastest change. Therefore, my personal recommendation would be towards a hypnosis and/or paraliminal recording.
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There are people, though, who would prefer subliminal recordings for a variety of reasons (including privacy – no one can hear what the hypnotist is saying). If you chose a subliminal recording, my advice would be to ask the hypnotist to send you a list of the affirmations and repeat them to yourself at a time when you are most relaxed because conscious attention to the messages will speed up the process.
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All of these recordings will help make your subconscious mind more open to suggestions and that is the quickest way to facilitate change in your life.
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Now, as for my buddy, I couldn’t find a generalized hypnosis cd for her issue. So, I’m going to have to help her make one. Luckily I had an ephiphany while watching a local band with a fondness for voice modulaters. Thankfully, I can fiddle with some software and give her the option of making my voice sound like a celebrity, demon, or just about anything else. I’m sure we’ll find a voice that works better than the one she correlates with our high school pranks.
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Wishing you the best of success,
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Sheilah