Altered States of Consciousness


Unlike hypnosis, in relaxation the subjects do not enter a sleep or trancelike state. Instead, they are deeply relaxed and helped by a practitioner to achieve a positive state of mind wherein they can visualize (imagine) the alleviation of an illness or perceive a means by which they might achieve a certain objective or goal in their life. Generally, subjects are relaxed and led on a guided meditation or creative visualization by someone who reads the process from a script. In some cases, the individual may have prerecorded the script in his or her own voice and may thereby repeat the process as often as desired for reinforcement of the technique. Often, soft, soothing music is played in the background as the individual undergoes the relaxation process.

Relaxation and creative visualization utilizing symbolic imagery became increasingly popular among those in the New Age Movement in the 1970s, and seminars and workshops featuring such techniques continued to draw large audiences into the 1990s. Basically, the philosophy behind the relaxation process is quite

Yoga is used as a form of relaxation. (THE  GALE GROUP)
Yoga is used as a form of relaxation. (
likely as old as the first healers in ancient Babylon, Egypt, and Greece, who believed that the evil spirits within the ill could be replaced by good spirits if the patient concentrated on positive images of benevolent entities. New Age practitioners believe that in order to achieve a complete healing of body, mind, and spirit, one must counter the negative input that the individual has placed in his or her mind over decades of negative reinforcement. The individual must fill himself or herself with positive memories and images. Phobias, compulsions, and unresolved feelings of guilt can all be removed by relaxation techniques and healing miracles can be accomplished.

Generally, the person undergoing the relaxation process lies or sits in a comfortable position, undergoes a brief breathing exercise, then relaxes further by visualizing a peaceful scene. Once the individual appears to be as relaxed as possible, the practitioner guides him or her on a symbolic journey of discovery, in which valuable insights will be acquired.

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