Guided spiritual healing logo on a white background.

Exploring the Connection Between Ideo-Motor Responses and Hypnotic Trance

Ideo-Motor responses are involuntary movements or actions that are triggered by a person’s thoughts or mental imagery. These responses occur without conscious intention or awareness, and are often associated with hypnosis. Hypnotic trance, on the other hand, refers to an altered state of consciousness in which an individual is highly focused and responsive to suggestions. In this article, we will explore the history, science, and applications of ideomotor responses in hypnosis.


  • Ideo-motor responses are automatic movements or changes in physiological activity that occur in response to an idea or suggestion.
  • The use of ideomotor responses in hypnosis dates back to the 19th century, when it was used to diagnose and treat medical conditions.
  • Ideo-motor responses are thought to be the result of the unconscious mind responding to suggestions, rather than conscious control.
  • Suggestion plays a key role in inducing ideomotor responses and hypnosis, as it can influence the unconscious mind to respond in a certain way.
  • Research has shown that ideomotor responses and hypnotic trance are associated with changes in brain activity, suggesting a scientific basis for these phenomena.

The History of Ideo-Motor Responses in Hypnosis

The study of ideomotor responses dates back to the 19th century, with early researchers such as William Carpenter and William Benjamin Carpenter investigating the phenomenon. However, it was James Braid, a Scottish surgeon, who made significant contributions to our understanding of ideomotor responses in hypnosis. Braid coined the term “hypnotism” and believed that it was a state of heightened suggestibility that could be induced through fixation of the eyes.

Another influential figure in the history of ideomotor responses is Hippolyte Bernheim, a French physician. Bernheim conducted experiments on suggestibility and hypnosis, and proposed that hypnotic phenomena were the result of suggestion rather than any inherent power of the hypnotist. His work laid the foundation for modern research on ideomotor responses.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in ideomotor responses and their role in hypnosis. Researchers have used advanced imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study brain activity during hypnotic trance and have made significant advancements in our understanding of this phenomenon.

Understanding the Ideo-Motor Response Phenomenon

Ideomotor responses occur when a person’s thoughts or mental imagery trigger involuntary movements or actions. These responses are believed to be mediated by the unconscious mind and can be influenced by suggestions given during hypnosis. For example, if a hypnotist suggests that a person’s arm will rise when they hear a certain word, the person may experience an involuntary movement of their arm when that word is spoken.

There are several examples of ideomotor responses, including the Ouija board phenomenon, where participants claim that a planchette moves on its own to spell out messages from spirits. Another example is the pendulum experiment, where a person holds a pendulum and asks it questions, with the movement of the pendulum indicating the answer.

Several factors can influence ideomotor responses, including the individual’s level of suggestibility, their beliefs and expectations, and the skill of the hypnotist. It is important to note that not everyone is equally susceptible to ideomotor responses, and some individuals may not experience them at all.

The Role of Suggestion in Ideo-Motor Responses and Hypnosis

Suggestion plays a crucial role in eliciting ideomotor responses during hypnosis. When a person is in a hypnotic trance, they are highly receptive to suggestions and are more likely to experience involuntary movements or actions. The power of suggestion lies in its ability to bypass the conscious mind and directly influence the unconscious mind.

Hypnotists use various techniques to deliver suggestions, such as using a calm and soothing tone of voice, repeating key phrases, and using visual imagery. These suggestions can be specific, such as instructing a person to raise their arm or imagine themselves in a peaceful place, or they can be more general, such as suggesting feelings of relaxation or confidence.

Examples of suggestion in hypnosis include the classic “you are getting sleepy” phrase used by stage hypnotists to induce a trance-like state in their subjects. Another example is the use of guided imagery to help individuals visualize positive outcomes or overcome fears and phobias.

The Science Behind Ideo-Motor Responses and Hypnotic Trance

Advancements in neuroscience have shed light on the underlying mechanisms of ideomotor responses and hypnotic trance. Studies using fMRI have shown that during hypnosis, there is a decrease in activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for conscious awareness and self-control. This decrease in activity allows the unconscious mind to become more receptive to suggestions and influences.

The neurological basis of ideomotor responses lies in the brain’s motor system. When a person imagines or thinks about a movement, the same neural pathways that are activated when actually performing that movement are also activated. This activation can lead to the initiation of involuntary movements or actions.

Research on the effectiveness of hypnosis has shown that it can be an effective tool for a variety of conditions, including pain management, smoking cessation, and anxiety reduction. However, it is important to note that not everyone responds to hypnosis in the same way, and individual differences in suggestibility and responsiveness to suggestions can influence the outcomes.

The Link Between Ideo-Motor Responses and Hypnotic Suggestibility

There is a strong relationship between ideomotor responses and hypnotic suggestibility. Hypnotic suggestibility refers to an individual’s ability to respond to suggestions given during hypnosis. Those who are highly suggestible are more likely to experience ideomotor responses and enter into a deep hypnotic trance.

There are various ways to measure hypnotic suggestibility, including standardized scales such as the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale and the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. These scales assess an individual’s response to specific suggestions, such as arm levitation or amnesia induction.

Several factors can influence hypnotic suggestibility, including personality traits, beliefs and expectations about hypnosis, and the quality of the hypnotist-client relationship. Research has shown that individuals who are more open-minded, imaginative, and trusting tend to be more suggestible.

Techniques for Inducing Ideo-Motor Responses in Hypnosis

There are several techniques that can be used to induce ideomotor responses during hypnosis. One common technique is the use of direct suggestions, where the hypnotist instructs the client to perform a specific action, such as raising their arm or moving their fingers.

Another technique is the use of indirect suggestions, where the hypnotist uses metaphors or stories to indirectly suggest certain actions or experiences. For example, the hypnotist may tell a story about a bird flying freely in the sky, which indirectly suggests a feeling of freedom and relaxation.

Hypnotic inductions can also involve the use of visual imagery, where the client is guided to imagine themselves in a specific situation or performing a certain action. This can help to enhance the client’s ability to experience ideomotor responses.

It is important for hypnotists to create a safe and comfortable environment for their clients and to establish rapport and trust. This can help to enhance suggestibility and increase the likelihood of experiencing ideomotor responses.

Applications of Ideo-Motor Responses in Hypnotherapy

Ideomotor responses have various applications in hypnotherapy. They can be used to help clients overcome fears and phobias, manage pain and discomfort, improve performance in sports or other activities, and enhance relaxation and stress management.

For example, in the treatment of phobias, a hypnotist may guide a client through a process called systematic desensitization, where they gradually expose the client to their fear while providing suggestions for relaxation and calmness. This can help the client to reframe their fear response and develop new associations with the feared object or situation.

Ideomotor responses can also be used in pain management. By suggesting feelings of numbness or warmth in a specific area of the body, a hypnotist can help a client to reduce their perception of pain and increase their comfort.

The benefits of using ideomotor responses in hypnotherapy include their ability to bypass conscious resistance and access the unconscious mind, their effectiveness in enhancing suggestibility and responsiveness to suggestions, and their potential for creating lasting change.

The Ethics of Using Ideo-Motor Responses in Hypnosis

When using ideomotor responses in hypnosis, it is important for hypnotists to adhere to ethical guidelines. These guidelines include obtaining informed consent from clients, ensuring their safety and well-being, respecting their autonomy and dignity, and maintaining confidentiality.

Hypnotists should also be aware of the potential risks and benefits of hypnosis. While hypnosis is generally considered safe, there is a small risk of adverse reactions such as anxiety, confusion, or false memories. It is important for hypnotists to be trained and experienced in working with clients and to have appropriate supervision and support.

Clients should be fully informed about the nature of hypnosis, its potential benefits and limitations, and any potential risks involved. They should also have the right to refuse or terminate hypnosis at any time.

Future Directions for Research on Ideo-Motor Responses and Hypnotic Trance

There are several areas for future research on ideomotor responses and hypnotic trance. One area is the exploration of the neural mechanisms underlying these phenomena. Advances in neuroimaging techniques can help to further our understanding of the brain processes involved in ideomotor responses and hypnotic trance.

Another area for future research is the development of standardized measures of hypnotic suggestibility that can be used across different populations and settings. This can help to improve the reliability and validity of research findings in this field.

Furthermore, more research is needed on the long-term effects of hypnosis and ideomotor responses. Studies that follow up with clients after hypnotherapy sessions can provide valuable insights into the durability of the changes achieved through hypnosis.

In conclusion, ideomotor responses and hypnotic trance are fascinating phenomena that have been studied for centuries. They have a rich history and are supported by scientific research. Understanding the mechanisms and applications of ideomotor responses can enhance the practice of hypnotherapy and contribute to the well-being of individuals seeking therapeutic interventions. Continued research in this field is essential for advancing our knowledge and improving the effectiveness of hypnosis as a therapeutic tool.

If you’re fascinated by the intriguing world of hypnosis and its various applications, you might be interested in exploring the connection between ideo-motor responses and hypnotic trance. In a recent article on, the author delves into this topic, shedding light on how our subconscious mind can influence our physical movements during hypnosis. To further expand your knowledge on related subjects, you can also check out their articles on automatic writing as a spiritual tool for insight and guidance[source], as well as connecting with spirits through hypnotherapy and its numerous benefits[source]. Additionally, if you’re interested in unlocking the power of your subconscious mind, the Simpson Protocol is discussed in another informative article[source].


What are ideo-motor responses?

Ideo-motor responses are unconscious movements or actions that are triggered by a thought or idea. These responses are automatic and are not under conscious control.

What is hypnotic trance?

Hypnotic trance is a state of deep relaxation and heightened suggestibility that is induced by a hypnotist. In this state, the individual is more open to suggestions and is able to access their subconscious mind.

What is the connection between ideo-motor responses and hypnotic trance?

Ideo-motor responses are often used as a way to measure the depth of hypnotic trance. When an individual is in a hypnotic trance, they may experience involuntary movements or actions in response to suggestions given by the hypnotist.

How are ideo-motor responses used in hypnotherapy?

In hypnotherapy, ideo-motor responses are used as a way to communicate with the subconscious mind. By asking the subconscious mind to respond with a specific movement or action, the hypnotherapist can gain insight into the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

Can anyone be hypnotized?

Most people can be hypnotized to some degree. However, the depth of hypnotic trance can vary from person to person. Some individuals may be more resistant to hypnosis than others.

Is hypnosis safe?

Hypnosis is generally considered safe when performed by a trained and licensed professional. However, it is important to note that hypnosis may not be appropriate for individuals with certain mental health conditions or medical conditions. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before undergoing hypnosis.

A man in a state of deep relaxation, wearing headphones and engrossed in his tablet, embraces the spiritual realm through hypnotherapy.

A Free Gift of Happiness, Optimism and Refreshing Sleep

Condition your body to optimise your serotonin levels, to bring you happiness and optimism.

Regulate your melotonin for an optimal night’s sleep. 

Download or stream this free Serotonin-Booster Hypnotic Audio. 

Listen at the end of the day to get a great nights sleep and wake up feeling amazing.

The more you listen, the stronger your experience will be. … as you you train your mind to energise and refresh you every night you’ll find yourself simply feeling more positive, more energised and more enthusiastic every day!