Hypnotherapy creates new neural pathways
Hypnosis helps the athlete by using visualization and imagery to see themselves performing their sport exactly the way they want to. This process creates new neural pathways in the brain, equating to memories of performing the way the athlete would like to perform. The body and mind then work together to reproduce that imagined memory. The Soviet Olympic gymnastics teams used to spend months applying hypnosis techniques (which they termed mental imagery training) before stepping on the gymnastics floor.
Scientific studies prove that using visualization for muscle growth can strengthen your body even without doing any physical exercise! The Ohio University researchers tested this theory by putting individuals in an immobilizing cast around their wrist for four weeks. Group one was told to really focus and visualize flexing their arm muscles for eleven minutes, five days per week. Group two wasn’t given any instruction. Once everyone’s casts were removed, researchers found that those group one ended up being two times stronger than group two. It wasn’t just their muscles that were stronger, the neuromuscular pathways in their minds were too. This was proven through magnetic imaging and was likely the cause of the increased physical strength This means the group that visualized, proved to be stronger. This really demonstrates the power of visualization. What if we were to combine visualization with exercise and hard work? “What our study suggests is that imagery exercises could be a valuable tool to prevent or slow muscles from becoming weaker when a health problem limits or restricts a person’s mobility,” study author Brian Clark, a professor of physiology and neuroscience at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, said in a press release.