Essentially, the word hypnosis is just another word for relaxation. Yes hypnosis is brought on by suggestion, but it’s that deep state of relaxation that qualifies hypnosis. I sometimes use the term creative relaxation. When I say that, I’m referring to the fact that it’s the use of hypnosis that I call therapy. I’ve always defined hypnosis as just what it is, an altered state of awareness through deep relaxation. Some people define relaxing as just taking time to read through a magazine or have a cup of tea. But really just changing activities is not relaxation. When you reach a state of total relaxation through hypnosis, you will see the difference. And it’s in this totally relaxed state that you can bring some balance back into your life. Some people call it recharging their batteries or use any other metaphoric term, but it all means the same thing. Real, deep, relaxation used daily or regularly has a terrific effect on all our internal systems, far beyond what a coffee break can do. As to the question of whether sleep is equivalent to relaxation, most of us know from experience that it is not. Experts even state that hypnosis, or deep relaxation, is actually more beneficial to the overall well-being than merely sleeping nightly. We know that sleep can be disturbed by stressful energies and that we can wake up feeling even less rested, less energized, than when we went to sleep. However a deliberately executed session in hypnosis, or relaxation, has you concentrating very pointedly on just that, relaxing. You lie very still, and you let only positive energy consume you. Essentially, when you practice self-hypnosis, you control the result by guiding the entire session. All hypnosis is based on total relaxation. This is certainly more beneficial than just going to sleep because you are tired. Power naps are useful in recharging as well, and addressing fatigue, but during deep relaxation or hypnosis, you are also creating the opportunity to reduce or alleviate a particular ailment through concentration. Sleep, whilst absolutely necessary, doesn’t allow this opportunity. If you spend ten or twenty minutes a day or several times a week, practicing self hypnosis, you are sure in a few short weeks to feel a difference in your life, to feel more balanced, and more relaxed, and more in tune physically, emotionally, and in every other way. There are probably hundred of ways you can achieve a deep state of relaxation, but they have one common element, which is deep breathing. It is a natural human occurrence that when you exhale, your body relaxes. This is a known fact, and a biological certainty. That’s why it’s the first thing that a medical professional will ask a patient to do when he wants his patient to relax. In any type of emergency or panic situation, the victim is always instructed to take deep breaths. This is intended to calm, or relax the individual. The more deeply you inhale, the more you will exhale, and therefore the more you will relax. So when we want to induce hypnosis, deep breathing is the first suggestion we make, typically because it starts to bring on relaxation. And when the person starts to relax and regulate their breathing, they will become gradually more relaxed. We know also that when we sleep, our breathing slows and settles into a quiet, deep rhythm. We seek to achieve the same thing in hypnotic induction, to slow the breathing rhythm, because slowing our breathing slows down our system, and helps to bring about a shift in awareness. We achieve this state by slowing a person’s breathing naturally and comfortably. Starting an induction with a few deep breaths immediately creates a shift, and sends the message to the person that now it’s time to relax. When you add concentration to the equation, you have a terrific recipe for hypnotic induction. Because concentrating on your breathing helps you become more aware of your internal experience. A person’s breathing pattern can often be a telling sign for a hypnotist that a subject has achieved a deep state of relaxation, and slipped into a state of hypnosis. In my hypnotherapy sessions I don’t impose any set technique to deep breathing. Whatever a person’s natural breathing method is what they should continue to do. There seems to be a typical pattern of breathing in through the nose, while exhaling out the mouth. If that’s the comfortable breathing technique fro someone, that’s perfect. If it’s in and out through the nose, that’s also fine. Whatever you are used to or whatever comes naturally. You can practice this on your own, at any time. Just concentrate on taking a few deep breaths, and you will feel your shoulders drop, and your heart rate will settle. This is relaxation and the basis of hypnosis.