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Pros: Listening to a "hypnosis" recording might relax you and benefit your bodily or mental health.
Cons: Konicov's "hypnotic" imagery/approach might not work for everybody. The separate "subliminal-persuasion" recording's concept seems hyped/far-fetched.
Prefatory note #1: The title of this review refers to some of the words Barrie Konicov uses to signal the start of the "relaxation/self-hypnosis" portions of this recording.
Prefatory note #2: Rating this product three stars (instead of two or "two and a half" stars) is perhaps being generous, given that about half the recorded content involves not hypnosis but rather "subliminal-persuasion," which (to put it mildly) doesn't greatly impress me.
Prefatory note #3: Regarding "hypnosis," I am by no means any sort of expert. Moreover, from what I've read at Wikipedia and elsewhere, even many "experts" continue to disagree about precisely what hypnosis is or can do. My below comments derive entirely from my own limited experiences and impressions regarding a number of commonly available "self-hypnosis" recordings, including this Self-Healing title by Barrie Konicov. I will hereafter consistently place quotation marks around the term self-hypnosis to emphasize that I'm using this term (not to mention other terms including "guided imagery") rather freely and loosely.
"Hello, greetings, and welcome." So begins Barrie Konicov's narration on this aging "self-hypnosis" recording titled Self-Healing--not to mention his many other, comparably aging "self-hypnosis" titles, most of which are still widely available via such common sites as Amazon and eBay, not to mention one or two sites whose raison d'etre is to sell Konicov's recordings as CD's or MP3's. Additionally, you can borrow various Konicov tapes or CD's via public libraries.
It's especially easy to find these recordings on cassettes and compact discs. I've listened to a modest assortment of Konicov's "self-hypnosis"/"subliminal-persuasion" titles in both formats, and it appears the vocal-narration portions of all the CD editions are identical to those of the original cassettes. In other words, many, if not all, of Konicov's vocal recordings evidently were made many years ago, and more recently most have been ported over to CD or MP3. Even if you get a Barrie Konicov recording on CD, don't be surprised to hear him referring to the recording as "this tape" at one or more points during his narration.
Be sure which version you're getting:
Some of Konicov's original vocal recordings are now incorporated within two separately available versions or editions of audio recordings employing differing kinds of background music (or the lack thereof):
(1) the "original" versions (whether on cassettes or CDs) each comprise two segments, one being "self-hypnosis" narration generally lasting up to about forty-five minutes, and the other being a "subliminal-persuasion" segment of comparable duration. The "subliminal" segment involves little or no audible narration. Instead, it purportedly involves a "subliminal" level of narration embedded within or beneath such "soothing" sounds as ocean waves blended with instrumental music.
(2) the so-called "Super Consciousness" versions (whether on cassettes or CDs) add "classical" background music to the hypnosis segment, such that Konicov's voice is now gently accompanied by soft chamber music for strings. Likewise, the "subliminal-persuasion" segment has the same sort of classical music (for string ensemble), albeit played at a louder level. This simple music replaces such content as "ocean waves blended with new-age music" that is typically used on the "subliminal-persuasion" segments of the "original" versions of Konicov's recordings.
Accordingly, the prospective consumer should be careful to note which version of a given title he's buying (i.e., either the "original" or the "Super Consciousness" version). As for whether a given consumer will prefer one version or the other, it's a tossup. I myself am a fan of classical music. Therefore, if I were compelled to listen to the "subliminal-persuasion" segment--which I frankly don't think is as (potentially) beneficial as the hypnosis segment--I'd opt for the "Super Consciousness" version of any given title.
On the other hand, when it comes to the "hypnosis" segment of any given Konicov title, I tend to prefer it without any music accompanying the vocal narration. After only one or two listens, I tend to tire of the "same old" music. Besides, if I really wanted "background music" to accompany Konicov's narration, I've already got plenty of my own classical CDs with far better music than what you're stuck with via any of the newfangled "Super Consciousness" versions of Konicov's recordings--which, by the way, generally cost significantly more than the "original" versions.
Konicov's introduction to the "self-hypnosis" segment of this Self-Healing recording includes the following explanation of this product's purpose:
"This tape is designed to benefit you in three ways: first, your attention will be shifted from what you do not want--disease--to what you do want--good health. Secondly, strong relaxation techniques are contained on this tape that will enable you to enter a state of self-hypnosis and relax even under the most trying conditions and situations. Third, and finally, strong visualization and imagination techniques are utilized along with suggestions of health and well-being to stimulate and then release your own body's natural healing mechanism."
Without citing specific sources or instances, Konicov states "the medical community has long recognized" that your (current and past) thinking profoundly affects your health. He adds that "recent medical texts" state that fifty to eighty percent of your physical problems result from your thinking.
What's your pleasure: "penetrating sunlight" or "warm orange juice"?
On this recording, after dispensing his various introductory remarks (including the admonition never to play the hypnotic portion of the recording in a moving car), Konicov begins the actual "relaxation/hypnosis" segment by instructing you to take "a long, slow, deep breath" through the nose, to fill your lungs, and then to slowly exhale through your mouth.
You're told to imagine yourself "on a warm, sandy beach" with a breeze gently blowing across your body. Above you are blue skies, and the sun "is warm and comforting on your skin." Within a "cocoon" of light, you are warm, protected, at ease.
Subsequently, Konicov's gentle, soothing voice guides you to imagine warm, penetrating sunlight along various areas of your body, until the entire body is relaxed. Additionally, you're reminded to inhale and exhale gently, slowly and deeply as you presumably reach ever deeper levels of relaxation, always going "down... down... down." By the time this segment of the recording is over, you've been repeatedly urged to feel "the healing light" radiating throughout every cell of your body.
I surmise some listeners won't have the same quibbles I do regarding certain images Konicov employs. Specifically, I don't feel entirely comfortable with being repeatedly directed to imagine bright sunlight penetrating my skin. Admittedly, had I listened to this recording two decades ago (about when it was originally made), I likely would have reacted more positively to this central image. Mind you, in the real world I still appreciate sun exposure in safe doses, but this recording's guided imagery makes me imagine I'm repeatedly receiving megadoses! In light of (no pun intended) what we now know about the potentially damaging, long-term effects of excessive sunlight on many people's skin, I could wish that Konicov had selected a different central image involving no negative associations whatsoever.
For example, on some of his other "self-hypnosis" titles, instead of reprising his ubiquitous "healing sunlight" imagery, Konicov resorts to his other commonly reprised approach. Specifically, he asks you to imagine yourself a hollow glass container, and then he suggests that a warm, orange, cleansing fluid is gradually filling you up. Once the transparent container (i.e., your body) has been entirely filled, you're guided to imagine the orange fluid being thoroughly expelled, and, along with it, every impurity that had poisoned your body and mind.
If I had to choose between Konicov's "penetrating sunlight" motif and his "warm, cleansing, orange fluid" motif, I'd take the latter, simply because the notion of "ingesting orange juice" strikes me as potentially healthier than (overexposure to) "penetrating sunlight"! Seriously, I've generally felt still more deeply relaxed following the "orange rinse" than the "penetrating sunlight" treatment featured on this particular title.
Obviously, such reactions are subjective, and probably many listeners will readily relish the image of a calm day of sunbathing on a beach. Conversely, some listeners might find themselves less able to embrace images of their bodies being transformed into glass containers and filling with warm, mysterious, orange fluid!
You can perceive, then, why I say the appeal of such "self-hypnosis" recordings--whether from Konicov or others--is highly subjective. What relaxes some listeners likely won't relax others.
I don't mean to imply Konicov never used any other "central images" than "sunlight" and "cleansing fluid" on his various "self-hypnosis" recordings. And I haven't listened to all his titles. But I must say he seems frequently to revisit one or the other of those two images on the assortment of titles I have sampled. Analogously, on still other hypnotists' various "self-hypnosis" titles, I've encountered much the same tendency to continually reuse the "same old canned imagery" on (seemingly) every confounded "self-hypnosis" recording they release. Obviously, doing so is quicker and easier than conceiving and recording something totally original for each new "self-hypnosis" title.
Thus, if you buy any "different" "self-hypnosis" title(s) by Konicov (not to mention some analogous "hypnotists"), don't be surprised if much or most of the content is essentially what you've already heard, with merely a modicum being "new" and pertaining to the specific topic (or reason for purchasing) the "separate" title! [To be fair, the scripts for Barrie Konicov's diverse "self-hypnosis" titles are far from the most redundant in this regard, and his titles generally evince at least somewhat more thought and effort than what went into certain other (more recently recorded) "self-hypnosis" products out there.]
The "ring of forgiveness":
In the next major portion of the "self-hypnosis" program, Konicov states, "It is an immutable mental and spiritual law that where there is a health problem, there is a forgiveness problem. And forgiveness is a necessary step in the healing process."
To say the least, I regard those assertions with the utmost skepticism. For example, did Mother Teresa's eventual health problems stem from her inability to forgive somebody? The notion seems preposterous, and I frankly consider this the weakest portion of Konicov's "self-hypnosis" segment.
Nonetheless, Konicov asks you to picture "a healing of forgiveness" via an imaginary circle of people around you; this circle comprises every individual who ever offended you. In this scenario there are visible ropes of (disease-causing) "negativity" connecting you to your erstwhile enemies, and finally a "violet transmuting flame" is introduced to burn away the bonds and free not only you but also your "offenders" from all further accountability. As the bonds disintegrate, "love" replaces "negativity." Thus, a terrible burden is ostensibly lifted from you, and healing supposedly can ensue.
On the one hand, I suppose it's well and good if certain listeners can actually embrace Konicov's grand and indiscriminate "forgiveness" and thereby attain a sense of release and relaxation. On the other hand, I myself am perhaps too analytical--or stubborn--for my own good even when listening to a mere "relaxation" recording. I submit there may be a few exceptionally wicked and remorseless individuals in one's personal experience (or in the world at large) who simply don't merit such unqualified "healing forgiveness"--not even in one's imagination. For example, would I necessarily expect an Auschwitz survivor to so blithely "forgive" Hitler and his henchmen--even "merely" in his imagination? Perhaps some such individuals actually managed it and felt better for it; but I'm loath to acknowledge that all must do so in order to have their diverse physical or psychological illnesses "healed." Then again, I'm no psychologist, and perchance some practitioners would pounce on my remarks here. ;-)
Consequently, if I myself were selecting a Barrie Konicov "self-hypnosis" recording, I'd stick with those titles that don't include his "deeply penetrating sunlight" motif, and I'd skip past (or take with a grain of salt) any "healing of forgiveness" content that might be included. However, to my knowledge, there's simply no way for the prospective purchaser to know beforehand which Konicov titles include particular images or techniques!
In 2001--in other words, roughly two decades after Self-Healing and many of his other "self-hypnosis" scripts were evidently recorded--Barrie Konicov reportedly was imprisoned (sentenced to an 87-month term) for violations of the Internal Revenue Laws. (I stumbled onto that bit of biographical data after Googling his name.) Quite apart from Mr. Konicov's relatively recent troubles, his seemingly countless, widely available, "self-hypnosis" recordings from long ago may still be of some interest to those individuals desiring deep "hypnotic" relaxation and the (purported) bodily and/or mental benefits associated with such a state. Konicov's inimitable recorded voice is undeniably agreeable and soothing, and, considering the evident, ongoing marketability of his recordings from the late 1970's through today, many listeners would seem to have found them effective for their purposes.
On the other hand, albeit Konicov's various "self-hypnosis" recordings might long have been among the best known of their ilk, over the years more than a few competing recordings have appeared in the marketplace. I've sampled a small handful of such competing products, some involving guided imagery or suggestions seeming to me as effective--or perhaps more effective--than Konicov's usual approaches, and others seeming well-nigh worthless. (Hint: Think twice about much that's sold via eBay!) Again, one's reaction to varying "self-hypnotic" techniques is highly subjective; therefore, if you're interested in such recordings, tread carefully by trying out just one or two titles by any given "hypnotist." Hopefully, you'll eventually find something that truly relaxes and helps you. Perhaps initially borrowing a Barrie Konicov (or other "self-hypnosis") cassette or CD via your public library (or its interlibrary-loan department) could be the safest way to test the proverbial water. Alternatively, if you're a bit more adventurous than I, you could explore downloadable "self-hypnosis" MP3's via various websites, but proceed with all due caution and skepticism before spending large sums of your hard-earned.
Whether we're speaking of "meditation" or "hypnosis," I'm convinced that varying levels of "deep relaxation" generally can't hurt and might help many people, especially those whose lifestyles subject them to continual stress. Certainly, there are bound to be limits to what "mere" relaxation, suggestion, and guided imagery can actually achieve. But as a supplement to proper sleep, a healthy diet, and regular exercise, "self-hypnosis" just might be worth exploring. And I myself have (generally) been able to deeply relax during many--if not all--portions of Konicov's "self-hypnosis" titles, including this one. Mind you, despite having read glowing praise via one or more "customer reviews" at Amazon.com, I myself am not able to report any verifiable, "miraculous cures" that I can attribute to repeatedly playing this particular recording. To be fair, I haven't had any major illnesses during the several years since I first experimented with any of the "self-hypnosis" recordings out there.
However, I remain extremely skeptical regarding the claims made specifically for commonly marketed "subliminal-persuasion" recordings, including those that generally companion Konicov's "self-hypnosis" recordings. I'll readily grant that music, ocean waves, rainfall, or other accompanying sounds might themselves soothe and calm; but that's not the issue. The issue is, does the so-called "subliminal" (essentially inaudible!) focused vocal narration itself produce any significant, particular effect upon a deeply relaxed or sleeping "listener"? I'd love to be wrong here, but I seriously doubt it. I've never noticed any noteworthy benefit myself, and I suspect that if "learning" or "healing" were that easy, such recordings would have replaced schools and clinics long ago.
Accordingly, I suspect that more than a few listeners to Konicov's recordings primarily play the "hypnosis" segments while largely ignoring--or taking less seriously--the "subliminal" segments.
Having listened to various "self-hypnosis" recordings from Konicov and others, I feel that the best is yet to come. Given that I have indeed been able to reach fairly deep levels of relaxation via Konicov's better scripts (albeit seldom via his "flawed" scripts for reasons explained above), I can only imagine what still better scripts from today's or tomorrow's "hypnotists" might achieve. I myself have only scratched the surface, and I hope to explore still more recordings in the future.
Meanwhile, if you regularly need to "de-stress," there are cheaper (and possibly healthier and safer) methods than consuming alcohol or other mind-altering substances. As an alternative or supplement to meditation (which is beyond the scope of this discussion), sitting or reclining while listening to "self-hypnosis" recordings can be cheap or free (via various vendors and libraries). Moreover, provided you stay away from moving cars or machinery, it's essentially safe and, potentially, highly effective.
You just might find that some of the quickest, cheapest, and most relaxing "vacations" are the ones you can take in any quiet room with a well-scripted and skillfully narrated "self-hypnosis" recording and your own imagination.