This paper reviews our studies on the hypnotizability/hypnosis-related modulation of the mind-body connection during relaxation and mental stress, considered as the extremes of the wakefulness cognitive-autonomic arousal. The concept of relaxation is discussed according to the observation that similar self-reports of relaxation and autonomic states may correspond to different EEG patterns in low (Lows) and highly hypnotizable subjects (Highs). Results obtained during mental stress are discussed in the light of a possible adaptive role of hypnotic susceptibility as a natural protection against cardiovascular hazard; in fact, only Highs can actively suppress the cardiovascular responses evoked by a moderate mental stress. All together, findings show that the body can differentially act similarly experienced relaxation and mental stress and suggest for hypnotizable individuals an evolutionary advantage.
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