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1.05 Where can I find information about the scientific study of hypnosis?
Scientists have studied procedures identifiable as hypnosis for 200 years. Most of the detailed investigation took place between 1950 and 1980. This was before the current medical research into the chemical links among the body systems took place. Links between the nervous and immune systems have been of particular interest recently, along with their significance in health and disease. A large percentage of the earlier research into hypnosis went into demonstrating that suggestion (traditionally an agent in the shadowy realm of the psyche) could influence various autonomic body systems in an observable manner. Today this result is considered unremarkable. However, before the days of hypnosis and biofeedback research (and before the discovery of neuropeptides, cytokines, and other mediators of autonomic functions), this was considered an incredible, even supernatural claim.