When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
Just remain in the center; watching. And then forget that you are there.
Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher in the quotes above describes the state of mind that we seek in hypnosis. It is a combination of complete relaxation and utmost concentration. Nowadays, both states can easily be measured. A neuroscientist Chris Berka of Advanced Brain Monitoring does just that. She works with athletes and performers to help them tap into a state of extreme mental focus, called being “in the zone.” The zone state (which amateurs can achieve too) has a particular signature in the brain activity: alpha and theta waves. It is the combination of the two that we access in hypnosis as well. Chris Berka turns laymen into experts in one day through a series of exercises bringing their alpha and theta waves to the prominent levels while monitoring these frequencies while her clients focus and relax.
Alpha waves are a type of brain waves usually detected either by electroencephalography (EEG) or magnetoencephalography (MEG). They predominantly originate from the occipital lobe during wakeful relaxation with closed eyes.
Theta waves generate the theta rhythm recorded either from inside the brain or from electrodes glued to the scalp. The function of the hippocampal theta rhythm is attributed to arousal and sensorimotor processing, learning and memory.
In order to achieve the results described above you need to experience a state of light trance and relaxation (alpha waves), and concentrate (theta waves) in a very relaxed way on the goals for which you are striving.This is exactly how hypnosis works.