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So how deep can one go in hypnosis?

Some people have a fear about being hypnotised and never waking up again. This fear is irrational, as there has never been a case where this has actually happened.

Hypnotic trance states have been defined by 3 levels or stages:

  • Light Trance

  • Medium Trance

  • Deep Trance

Light Trance

It is suggested that out of 100% of people who have never been hypnotised before, 90% to 99% of all people can achieve a light depth of trance. People in a light trance will:

  • close their eye

  • display rapid eye movement (REM)

  • remain still

  • breathe more slowly

  • swallow more frequently

  • have flattened or relaxed facial feature

Medium Trance

It is suggested that between 70% and 90% of the people who can go into a light trance will be able to achieve a medium depth of trance. People in a medium trance will:

  • sink their head towards their chest

  • sink their body into the chair

  • experience their jaw slacken

  • experience facial features flatten and relax more

  • experience their eyelids stiffen (catalepsy)

  • experience their skin become flushed or pale

  • feel lethargic

  • experience a heavy feeling in their arms and legs

  • partial loss of sensation (partial anaesthesia)

  • reduced awareness of their body, either in specific parts or all over

Deep Trance

It is suggested that between 10% and 15% of the people who can go in to a light trance can also achieve a deep trance. People in a deep trance may sometimes experience:

  • amnesia

  • out-of-body feelings (depersonalisation)

  • hallucinations

  • full anaesthesia

  • somnambulism


Deep trance is sometimes referred to as somnambulism, however it is a specific characteristic state of deep trance and not all people in deep trance can achieve somnambulism. People who are somnambulists sometimes:

  • slump deeply in the chair

  • appear to be fully awake

  • have open eyes

  • walk and talk (sleepwalking & sleep-talking)

  • take a long time to respond to suggestions

Can Everyone Be Hypnotised?

It is suggested that the only people who cannot go in to a trance state are those of low intelligence or those with learning difficulties and those who are psychotic, as they already exist in an altered state of consciousness. Also, some individuals with organic brain disease cannot enter trance.

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