Hypnosis can be defined as:

a special psychological state with certain physiological attributes, resembling sleep only superficially and marked by a functioning of the individual at a level of awareness other than the ordinary conscious state.

According to "state theory", it is a mental state, while, according to "non-state theory", it is imaginative role-enactment. Hypnosis is usually induced by a procedure known as a hypnotic induction, which is commonly composed of a long series of preliminary instructions and suggestions. Hypnotic suggestions may be delivered by a hypnotist in the presence of the subject, or may be self-administered ("self-suggestion" or "autosuggestion"). The use of hypnotism for therapeutic purposes is referred to as "hypnotherapy", while its use as a form of entertainment for an audience is known as "stage hypnosis".

The term “hypnosis” comes from the Greek word hypnos which means sleep. The words hypnosis and hypnotism both derive from the term neuro-hypnotism (nervous sleep) coined by the Scottish surgeon James Braid around 1841. Braid based his practice on that developed by Franz Mesmer and his followers ("Mesmerism" or "animal magnetism"), but differed in his theory as to how the procedure worked.

Contrary to a popular misconception—that hypnosis is a form of unconsciousness resembling sleep—contemporary research suggests that hypnotic subjects are fully awake and are focusing attention, with a corresponding decrease in their peripheral awareness. Subjects also show an increased response to suggestions. In the first book on the subject, Neurypnology (1843), Braid described "hypnotism" as a state of physical relaxation accompanied and induced by mental concentration ("abstraction"). In addition, psychiatric nurses in most medical facilities are allowed to administer hypnosis to patients in order to relieve symptoms such as anxiety, arousal, negative behaviors, uncontrollable behavior, and improve self-esteem and confidence only when they have been completely trained about their clinical side effects and while under supervision when administering it.

Read more about Hypnosis:  Characteristics, Applications, The State Versus Non-state Debate

Other articles related to "hypnosis":

Hypnosis - The State Versus Non-state Debate - Systems Theory
... be regarded as an extension of Braid's original conceptualization of hypnosis as involving a process of enhancing or depressing nervous system activity ...
Stage Hypnosis
... Stage hypnosis is hypnosis performed in front of an audience for the purposes of entertainment, usually in a theatre or club ... A modern stage hypnosis performance regularly delivers a comedic performance rather than a demonstration to impress an audience with powers of persuasion - effects of amnesia, mood altering and ... Stage hypnosis performances often encourage audience members to look further into the benefits of mind powers ...
Stephen R Lankton
29 May 1947) MSW, DAHB is the current editor of the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis (2005–2015) ... Field of Psychotherapy” and the “Irving Sector Award for Advancement of the Field of Hypnosis” ... as a Fellow and Approved Consultant of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis a Fellow and Approved Supervision of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy ...
Stage Hypnosis - History
... Stage hypnosis evolved out of much older shows conducted by Mesmerists and other performers in the 18th and 19th centuries ... which became central to subsequent "stage hypnosis", in fact it seems that little changes except the name and the introduction of the hypnotic induction, etc ... recounts a Mesmeric performance which clearly resembles 20th century stage hypnosis, in his autobiography ...
André Muller Weitzenhoffer - Publications
... paper, "The Production of Anti-Social Acts Under Hypnosis" in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology for 1949, and subsequently authored over 100 journal articles, books, etc ... on hypnosis ... Weitzenhoffer published his first book on hypnosis, Hypnotism An Objective Study in Suggestibility in 1953 ...