What characteristics of Esdaile make it very useful? 

There are two major advantages of Esdaile from a medical perspective – Anesthesia and Catatonia. Both are interesting to the hypnosis profession, but often do not have important uses for our profession because the hypnotist’s mission is different from that of the physician. There are also some additional characteristics of Esdaile which are important to the hypnosis profession.

The attainment of FULL BODY ANESTHESIA WITHOUT SUGGESTIONS is a natural part of Esdaile that is quite useful to a physician.  Recently, I had an operation on my leg.  I could have used Self Hypnosis, but Cheryl noticed that I was nervous and insisted on being the hypnotic coach.  My state was a medium trance.  The doctor marked where he would cut with a “Magic Marker.”  SOOO….  Cheryl anesthetized from one mark to the other.  All went fine until his cutting went a little higher than the marks — THEN it hurt.  So,  while this example is far from Esdaile,  one can see from this example that Full Body Anesthesia Without Suggestion may well eventually become a standard medical procedure.

There are many operations where it is necessary to tie or brace the patient into a very uncomfortable position. Because CATATONIA is a characteristic of Esdaile, operations of this sort could be done in Esdaile with less inconvenience to the surgical team and with faster recovery by the patient.

Of more relevance to the hypnotic community is the fact that Esdaile provides better access to the sub-conscious than other hypnotic States.  This is useful to both the hypnosis profession and the medical community.

What Are the Tests for the Esdaile State?

There are several tests used to determine if a subject has entered the Esdaile State.

  • Refusal to emerge when only normal emergence techniques are used.
  • Impervious to loud, unexpected noises.  (These two tests, to me, seem to be consistent with the “let me alone” mood of the subject already mentioned.)
  • In my courses, we place the subject in what we call “the Harley.”  That is, their arms and legs are unsupported but in the positions they would take when riding one of the Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  Try to hold that position in a normal waking state or even in the “lighter” States of hypnosis.  Write me your confirmation when you fall flat on your ***.
  • Easily tested in the normal manner.  But, just be sure your subjects have NOT heard any discussion of this, so they are NOT given an inadvertent suggestion in advance concerning this.  You will be amazed because you will get the anesthesia even though no suggestions for anesthesia were given.
  • PRESENT ONLY IN SOME ESDAILE CASES.  Many persons in Esdaile experience a change in their skin, leaving the observer to describe it as “cold and waxy.”  I have seen this many times,  but not in every case.  I have not found it in any other hypnotic States.  I do not have a full explanation — if you do have one, let me know.

What Is Attractive About the Esdaile State?

Dave Elman’s methods rely heavily on the concept of “depth.”   Some hypnotists do not accept that view. For those who do accept the idea of “depth,” Esdaile is possibly the deepest State of hypnosis.

Can we achieve anesthesia (not just analgesia, but true anesthesia) in Waking Hypnosis (that is, in hypnosis obtained without a formal induction and/or without a trance)?  Yes – I have done it many times.  Would I trust Open Heart Surgery lasting many hours to anesthesia obtained in Waking Hypnosis?  HELL NO.  Most of us would prefer a state of greater compliance, more suggestibility, greater depth, etc. — many terms exist for “something” beyond Waking Hypnosis (or beyond any of the lighter States) for the problem I just presented.  The “deeper” States normally provide better control of anesthesia and make anesthesia easier to obtain. As already mentioned, Esdaile provides full body anesthesia without needing suggestions.

Before we leave the subject of Open Heart Surgery, please note that Dave Elman and two of his students accomplished an Open Heart Surgery with only hypnosis as the anesthetic, in the early 1950’s.

Can we do Regression in a light trance?    Of course, but are the answers as reliable and useful for therapy as those obtained in some other State (often, the one most of us refer to as Somnambulism). There are processes that have found that Regression in Esdaile (once adequate communication has been established) is even more effective and more reliable than in Somnambulism.

Can we remove a fear/phobia in a “light” state?  We can do this in many cases, but again the “deeper” states are more reliable for such work.  If you are taught several different states, and can choose among them at will, you have a more full and powerful “hypnotic tool-box.” Again, now that communication in Esdaile can be reliably established, Esdaile will often be the preferred State for things of this sort.

What About Even Deeper States?

Several States exist which their advocates claim are deeper than Esdaile. These include the Simpson Protocol,  Ultra-Height,  Ultra-Depth,  etc.   They all appear to me to be variants or extensions from Esdaile.  The claims for them are valid.  I have observed them but have not used them personally. My colleagues who use these States report amazing results. Let’s briefly examine three of these.

The Simpson Protocol arose from Ines Simpson’s work on establishing/improving communication in Esdaile. In the 1950’s, ‘Spontaneous Esdaile’, as well as Esdaile obtained intentionally, included little or no ability to communicate effectively with the client).

Ultra-Depth was discovered by Walter Sichort and later extended by James Ramey. I discussed it at length with Ramey when we were in Zurich for HansRuedi Wipf’s HypnoseKongress, Dec 2013. While James sees many differences from what we call the Esdaile State, Ultra-Depth originated with work there. To me, the demos I have seen of it also resemble Esdaile. As I have not used it, this comment is from an observer not from a practitioner.

Ultra-Height is Gerald Kein’s approach to States beyond Esdaile. Again, the demos I have seen appear to me to be extensions of what we call the Esdaile State. Again, the comment is from an observer, not a participant.

In all three of these States, there are reports of contact with “One’s Higher Self.” To some this has a religious significance. Again, although I have witnessed these States, I feel I do not know enough at present to comment further. Want to know more? All three of these professionals are very worth researching through their products or presentations.

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