Zapping your brain with magnets makes it easier to hypnotize you, research shows

Hypnosis has great potential to help people manage pain, control habits, overcome phobias, and manage a variety of other neurological and psychiatric challenges.The trick is that some people are more hypnotizable than others. Now, Stanford University scientists have demonstrated that the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation—using a magnetic coil to zap particular regions of the brain—enhances someone's ability to be hypnotized.

The researchers tested the process on people with the chronic pain disorder called fibromyalgia. In the double-blind study, some patients received the magnetic stimulation and others didn't.

The researchers found that actual stimulation "was associated with increased hypnotizability (responsiveness to hypnosis), while sham stimulation did not," says researcher Afik Faerman.

From PsyPost:

Around two-thirds of adults show some level of hypnotizability, with about 15% being highly responsive. These high responders can achieve remarkable feats like undergoing surgeries without anesthesia solely under hypnosis. This variation in hypnotizability prompted the researchers to investigate if they could enhance a person's responsiveness to hypnosis.

Previous attempts to modify this trait, using methods like psychoactive drugs or behavioral training, achieved limited success[…]

"Unfortunately, not everyone responds equally to hypnosis, and some people do not benefit as much from it as others," [Faerman said,] We wanted to test if we could make the brains of people who were not highly responsive to hypnosis act and function as if they were, hoping such a possibility would open the door for improving therapy."

Here's the study in the scientific journal Nature Mental Health: "Stanford Hypnosis Integrated with Functional Connectivity-targeted Transcranial Stimulation (SHIFT): a preregistered randomized controlled trial"