Hypnosis – A legal way to enhance your performance?
Please note I wrote this article in 2015 and I’m planning to update it soon. If you’d like to be notified add a comment at the bottom.
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, a sport British athletes have dominated for many years, so much in fact, that some people (and even foreign federations) believe they must take doping substances, as illustrated by the recent Tour De France controversy. What is certain is that wealthy team, such as Sky and British Cycling, do study any technology and method that may improve the performances of their athletes.
We already know that:
- Thoughts and conditioning trigger chemicals in the body that may be as strong as drugs. For more information, read the placebo effect (1).
- Hypnosis, in particular, can be used as an anaesthetic before operations by controlling the autonomous nervous system (i.e. 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).
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.
Their sports scientists have probably 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, athletes, 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”. It 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 performance or talent?