Hypnosis – A legal way to enhance your performance?

Most people probably think that hypnosis is just used as therapy for habits such as smoking, drinking too much and phobias, etc… What people may be unaware of is how hypnosis can enhance a skill or a talent and help get into the “zone”.

Sport is probably the domain most associated with performance enhancement. Take cycling where British athletes have dominated for several years, so much that some people believe they must take doping substances, as illustrated by the recent Tour De France controversy. What is certain is that wealthy team like Sky and British Cycling will study any technology and method that may improve the performances of their athletes.

We already know that thoughts and conditioning can trigger chemicals in the body that may be as strong as drugs (placebo effect (1)), and that hypnosis in particular can be used as anaesthetic before operations by controlling the autonomous nervous system (e.g. to prevent bleeding or suppress pain).

Just browsing the British Cycling website I found indications that hypnosis and self-hypnosis are used with other psychological techniques to “help athletes change their behaviour with the aim of enhancing performance” (2) and “for optimal recovery” (3).

Obviously British Cycling won’t give away their best secrets easily so I expect that if they found hypnosis had a significant impact on performances they won’t tell us.

Surely though their sport scientists must have come across this scientific study called Effects of Hypnosis on Flow States and Cycling Performance published in 2005 that concludes:

“In summary, the results of this study suggest that an intervention consisting of hypnotic induction, hypnotic regression, and unconscious triggers appeared to enhance flow intensity and the racing performance of elite cyclists. This study also supports previous research about the effectiveness of hypnosis to positively enhance the emotions, thoughts, and perceptions of elite athletes.” (4)

Just a few days ago I found that a top German swimmer uses Hypnosis to help his performance and “get into the right flow” (5).

Over the years I have helped golfers, actors, musicians or artists to enhance their performance or creativity (6). Often I couple it with bio-feedback so they know in real-time when they are in “the zone”. This is a double whammy as they can then feel and see it to use for future performance.

So what do you think, do you believe that Chris Froome has included hypnosis in his training? And would yourself be ready to use it to boost your own performance or talent?

For more information you may want to visit this Sport Performance page (7).


  1. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/your-thoughts-can-release-abilities-beyond-normal-limits/
  2. https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/coaching/article/coa20090928_CPD_October
  3. https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/article/izn20130108-Sportive-R-R–Maximise-your-post-ride-recovery-0
  4. http://journals.humankinetics.com/AcuCustom/Sitename/Documents/DocumentItem/4840.pdf
  5. http://swimswam.com/top-german-swimmer-marco-koch-uses-hypnosis-to-get-into-the-right-flow/
  6. http://denisebosque.com/coaching/coaching/
  7. http://www.hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk/articles/sportsperformance.html