Experiments

Cure Personal Afflictions With Self Hypnosis

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Voice Flame Extinguisher."
Christoph Wilhelm/Getty Images

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: Although the MythBusters had poked holes in hypnosis hypotheses before, fan demand prompted them to take a swing at self-hypnosis CDs that promise relief from any and all personal problems. Weak-stomached Grant Imahara and apiphobic Adam Savage volunteered to test out self-hypnosis regimens to cure seasickness and a fear of bees, respectively.

The dubious idea behind self-hypnosis therapy is that you can tap into your subconscious and overcome problems by adjusting your automatic responses to troublesome situations. So to face down their mental foes, the MythBusters listened to CDs every day for a week and tried to train their brains and bodies to relax on demand.

For Grant, that meant focusing on something aside from nausea-inducing movements, and Adam had to remain rational about benign bees buzzing around him. But after a week of self-hypnosis sessions, the seasickness motion chair still shook up a storm in Grant's stomach, and Adam's heart rate and stress level skyrocketed at just the sight of bees. While Grant was able to last about twice as long in the motion sickness chair post-therapy, both MythBusters' self-hypnosis tactics ultimately tanked in practice.

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