THIS paper will report on some of the psychological concomitants of an endocrine phenomenon which we have observed following prolonged hypnotic trance states in certain subjects. The endocrine change is a drop in the level of plasma cortisol to unusually low levels after 90 minutes of passive, relaxing hypnotic trance.
Plasma cortisol—or hydrocortisone, or 17-hydroxycorticosteroids—has been used by psychophysiologists as an index of pituitary-adrenal cortical activity, and elevations in plasma cortisol concentration are a characteristic part of the organism's response to psychological stress.1-3 Here, we are focusing on psychological factors possibly involved in lowering cortisol levels.
In a previous study by Sachar et al,4 we have observed trance-associated drops in plasma cortisol to the very low levels of 3μg/100 cc or below in 5 out of 12 excellent hypnotic subjects, or in 25% of the 24 hypnotic sessions. Such low
SACHAR EJ, COBB JC, SHOR RE. Plasma Cortisol Changes During Hypnotic TranceRelation to Depth of Hypnosis. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;14(5):482–490. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730110034005