Paraliminals-Do They Work?

by Scott Morrice on 06/27/2012

I ran into paraliminals the other day for the first time. Actually, it occurs to me that you might wonder what I am talking about!

I have mentioned in previous posts that one of the personal development blogs I follow is written by Steve Pavlina.

Well, Steve was writing about the benefits of certain paraliminals used by a personal development site called Learning Strategies. Learning Strategies apparently uses paraliminals in certain reprogramming strategies, and I was intrigued.

So, I signed up for a free online demonstration.

First of all, paraliminals need to be distinguished from subliminals, as the latter operate below the level of your conscious awareness. There are no subliminal messages in paraliminals.

When you listen to a paraliminal you use headphones (or it is highly recommended that you do), and you actually get 2 distinct voices in each ear. There are apparently good (and supposedly even scientific) reasons for doing it this way, having to do with the voices speaking to the separate functions of each of the 2 different hemispheres of the brain.

The messages are sometime given against the backdrop of music (again, this music apparently has been specially developed to assist in the more efficient delivery of paraliminal suggestions—I won’t bother with the “how” explanation here), and contain advice, instruction, some affirmations, and some quite vivid visualizations. The idea is to help the listener reach a very relaxed, even meditative state, and then use the visualizations, advice and instruction to overcome certain issues, such as self-esteem issues, procrastination issues, prosperity issues, low energy issues, and so on, and to thereby improve upon one’s life.

I have to say that hearing 2 voices is incredibly distracting. In fact it is impossible to focus on both, and almost impossible to focus on either one for any period of time. But again, that is part of the technique. Apparently the mind eventually figures out that it is impossible to focus under these conditions on a conscious level, and it basically shifts into neutral, allowing you to just relax and get very passive about the whole event.

A few negatives.

First of all, as far as I can tell, the term “paraliminal” is a term that was made up by the Learning Institute. I can’t find any evidence that this is a term used, or even recognized by the larger scientific community. Not fatal—but a flag.

And the instructions and explanations about how all this works, all of which originates from the Learning Institute, are full of phrases like neuro-linguistic programming, accelerated learning, preconscious learning, and paraconscious mind. Now all of these phrases, with the possible exception of paraconscious mind, are considered by many in the scientific community to be just so many examples of pseudoscience—and not supported by legitimate scientific study. Again, not fatal—there is lots out there in this field of mind/body/spirit that is viewed with suspicion (at the very least) by the scientific community, and some of this criticism is, frankly, just closed-mindedness—but it is another flag.

And then, one of my pet peeves—much of what has been written about paraliminals by people that are not part of the Learning Institute (in fact almost all that has been written that I could find), even though their writing is presented as an independent and well thought out analysis of the technique, concludes with a link to the Learning Institute and an offer to sell you some of their product! Really???!!!

A few positives.

At this point I have been faithfully listening to my paraliminals for about a week. I can’t yet report any obvious improvement in self-esteem issues, procrastination issues, low energy issues, or prosperity issues. Maybe these changes are underway, I don’t know. If I detect any changes—positive or negative—I’ll report back.

But, I can personally confirm that the paraliminal programs that you listen to, either with CD’s or MP3 downloads, are incredibly relaxing. In fact I don’t know that I have ever been that relaxed—even with meditation (tho’ I will say that there are some self-hypnosis programs that I have listened to that are right up there too!). In fact, they are so relaxing, so soothing, so easy and enjoyable to listen to—-that I am going to listen to them, regularly, for that reason alone!

And I am operating on the premise that anything else I derive from this practice is a bonus—not necessary as far as I am concerned—just a bonus.

I’ll keep you posted.

  • Khaki06

    at last someone who is honest and reads between the lines, this is the first review that I have found that doesnt include a “commission link” to the makers of paraliminals – well done

    • scottmorrice

      Thank you–much appreciated!


    • I second that. Was trying to look-up Paraliminals and this is by far the only one (so far) among the links from Google that tells it like it is.

      • scottmorrice

        Thank you for your kind words Theresa–much appreciated!


  • So, any noticeable differences now as a result of listening to the audios? Very interested to hear your recent experiences of paraliminals.

    • scottmorrice

      No I haven’t Jack. I did use it quite a bit for awhile–but I’m not using it much anymore. I still prefer my own self-hypnosis sessions for stress relief. Its so easy to stay with a technique that you know works, rather than experiment.

      So, in fairness, I didn’t really give it an honest try. Having said that, I still remain quite skeptical.

      Thanks for dropping by–good to hear from you.


  • I too was intrigued by paraliminals so I downloaded ($24.95) the “Sleep Deeply/ Wake refreshed” one. I’ve been using it along with some other meditative ‘brain entrainment’ mp3 also downloaded from another site. I have noticed a marked improvement in myself, my manner, my patience and my much lower stress levels! I’m not sure however which one’s are doing the trick. Maybe it’s a combination of all of them I don’t know.
    The only comment I would have on the above article is the constant reference to “Scientific community” as if this is the be-all-and end-all of benchmarks. Why is it a “flag” if it’s not proven by science? Why are we always coming back to science to try and rationalise a technique, a practice etc. If they work because you want them to.. then they work! That is the science!!

    • scottmorrice

      Yep—good point. I do think it can legitimately act as a “flag”, but I agree that it shouldn’t be determinative. And I also agree with you when you say—if they work for you…then they work! Its just that in this case your success may not translate that well for others.

      Thanks for dropping by–I appreciate your comments!


  • Dalia

    I’ve been using them and I like them. They make me feel more relaxed and depending on the specific paraliminal I’ve felt improvement, at least I catch myself in a conscious level trying to be more positive to the world around me. They have also given me more confidence to performe certain activities.

  • Sanya

    Scott, thank you for your insight. What self hypnosis methods do you use?


    • scottmorrice

      Hi Sanya—I’m on the road right now—but I wanted to acknowledge that I received your message, and I will get back to you as soon as I return. Having said that, and very quickly—self-hypnosis, for me at least, is, and has been, a definite life saver!!!! I do it every day! Me, being me, has to do it every day!!!


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