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Can Hypnosis help improve your performance?

Hypnosis for improved athletic performance has been used by many top athletes and teams for many years.

Hypnosis is a technique of communication using psychological suggestions. Under hypnosis, the hypnotized person is more open to suggestions. The result of hypnosis is that they gain greater control over their own minds and their own actions.

Studies have shown that an athlete can improve their performance, style, posture, and self-confidence. Hypnosis can even help the speed of physical recovery, remove negative feelings, self-doubt, stress and anything that may hinder great performance.


Research has demonstrated that the following areas have had the biggest improvement through hypnosis.

1. Motivation - Hypnosis can be a combination of techniques, with strong imagery of succeeding a goal, and enhancing that connection until you can truly feel it, in your heart, body and soul. This feeling can be used to help you feel motivated and give you confidence while performing or undertaking any area of life that you are finding challenging.

2. Style, Posture, and speed – Strong imagery connection in your mind’s eye can change poor habits, such as holding yourself high when running, ensuring a firm heel toe strike. There are studies that have demonstrated effectiveness of increasing speed, just by connecting with the vision and feeling of being a cheetah. Equally by removing negative self-talk and doubt has led to a reduction of in the risk of injury, which can be experienced by athletes.

3. Recovery – This is an area where much benefit has been found for athletes through hypnosis. Hypnosis allows your body to enter a fully relaxed state.

Any training athletes will know that your body undergoes continuous cycle of different sessions and some of those include high intensity. This can lead to frequent muscle soreness and physical exertion. Therefore, athletes usually require adequate sleep, massage, hydrotherapy, and nutritious meals to restore their physical strength and energy.

However, during competition, fatigue and physical exertion can be decisive factors in the success or failure of the competition.

Hypnosis can quickly relieve fatigue and restore physical strength; it can be performed before or between training. When the athlete enters the hypnotic state, their muscles can be fully relaxed. The suggestion can be “you have entered the state of hypnosis, your muscles are fully relaxed, and the fatigue will be relieved immediately by the massage.” During the process of suggestion, you are leading the mind body connection to enhance the recovery. These positive suggestions can help athletes quickly replenish themselves and gain more confidence.

How does it work?

Essentially hypnosis works by creating new neurological pathways. Neuroimaging has shown with mental practice or mental rehearsal, the brain changes to reflect the improved skills we are imagining. Hypnotherapy 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 which equate to memories of performing the way the athlete would like to perform. The body and mind then work together to reproduce that imagined memory.

It goes hand in hand with my recent blog post of increasing mental stamina working with visualisation and positive talk. Visualisation can be done on your own, but hypnotherapy can take it to the next level.

The Mind Body Connection

When an athlete has a lack of confidence and doesn’t believe they are capable of winning or being “the best,” their body will in a sense help them by having pain somewhere which prohibits them from continuing in the competition. This is not happening consciously or purposely.

It happens because the athlete’s thoughts have been running a negative pattern and the subconscious mind is always trying to protect the person from mental pain or failure. The physical pain or injury comes about as a way out rather than the athlete having to admit that they just don’t believe they are good enough. Many well-known athletes have worked with hypnotherapists to achieve significant behaviour changes which has resulted in greater gains in their performance.

Final thoughts

When reviewing the evidence and the benefits even though the review is specific to athletes, you could equally apply holistically to any challenging area. For me personally, I underwent hypnotherapy to reduce the impact of images and the feelings that I had from the trauma experienced as a child. The key factor to remember here, is the mind, heart and body connection. When you have a strong alignment, confidence, and self-belief it enables anyone to achieve the life and balance that they desire.



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