As an instructor of hypnosis with the National Guild of Hypnosis, I thought it appropriate discuss an article on training how to do a physical task since the practice of hypnosis is physical.

In a issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers, using the MRI, found that when a person watches someone else perform a task with the intention of later replicating the observed performance, motor areas of the brain are activated in a fashion similar to that with accompanies actual movement.

Teaching a physical skill often involves someone demonstrating the essential action and components after which the learner tries to reproduce what has been observed.

In the experiment, 19 college-aged, healthy adults watched a series of digital videos of another person putting together or disassembling objects using six toy parts. In one condition, participants simply watched the activity; in another, they observed clips with the intention to be able to reproduce the actions in the correct sequential order minutes later.

Despite lying completely still during these tasks, observing with the intention to learn actions and subsequently reproduce them engages areas of the brain known to contribute to motor learning thorough actual physical practice. It was of particular attention that the amount of activity occurring in the intraparietal sulcus (the part when watching to learn accurately) predicts how well these actions are reproduced minutes later.

The researchers concluded that what appears vital is the intention of the observer rather than simply the visual stimulus that is being viewed. Therefore, if the student has the goal to be able to do what you are seeing, then it appears that activity through your motor system is up-regulated substantially.

So, perhaps when teaching our hypnosis classes we should emphasize to our students to have the intention while they watch a "demo" to learn all they can so they can duplicate the process

Author's Bio: 

Seth-Deborah Roth, CRNA, CHT has had many years of experience in the medical field as a Nurse Anesthetist and a hypnotherapist. She recently was featured on The Discovery Channel's "Myth Busters" hypnosis segment. She has masters training in NLP and Reiki, and she became a practitioner in Time Line Therapy and HypnoBirthing. She has also been certified with special training in Pain Control, Cancer Hypnosis, Medical Hypnosis, Pediatric Hypnosis, Habit Control and Weight Loss. Her practice "Hypnotherapy for Health" is located in both Castro Valley and Pleasanton, California where she specializes in Medical Hypnosis. She has been a speaker at conferences and on the radio. She produces hypnosis CDs and specializes in customizing CDs for different medical issues or surgical procedures.

For more information please go to her web site at or browse her blog at