"Hypnosis has a "very real" effect that can be picked up on brain scans, say Hull University researchers.
An imaging study of hypnotised participants showed decreased activity in the parts of the brain linked with daydreaming or letting the mind wander.
The same brain patterns were absent in people who had the tests but who were not susceptible to being hypnotised.
One psychologist said the study backed the theory that hypnosis "primes" the brain to be open to suggestion.
Hypnosis is increasingly being used to help people stop smoking or lose weight and advisers recently recommended its use on the NHS to treat irritable bowel syndrome".
Hypnosis is used in programs like 'Hypnobirthing' and 'Calmbirth' to help women give birth normally. This research helps to understand how hypnosis can be effective for some women and not for others. The self management skills that come through these programs are very beneficial for most people.
BBC NEWS | Health | Hypnosis has 'real' brain effect