Scientifically Verified

Do Subliminals Work? Breaking Down the Facts

June 3, 2024
6 Min Read
Written by
Sandra Wu
Written by

The concept of subliminals has been around for decades, gaining popularity in the 1950s with the idea that they could be used in advertising to influence consumer behavior. This belief stemmed from a controversial experiment claiming that flashing the phrases "Drink Coca-Cola" and "Eat Popcorn" during a movie increased sales, which was later found to be completely fabricated, leading to widespread misunderstanding of subliminals.

Recently, however, subliminals have gained renewed interest on platforms like Reddit, TikTok, and YouTube, but for much more positive applications. This time, subliminals are in the spotlight for helping people achieve goals such as better sleep, weight loss, stress reduction, and improved confidence without the need for conscious effort. You might be wondering, do subliminals work? They do, and quite effectively. Significant research supports the use of subliminals in therapy and self-help, validating their effectiveness.

We know this firsthand from the popularity of our app, Oneleaf. Our mission is to empower a billion people to become the best version of themselves through self-hypnosis. Our programs feature audio sessions designed to help users achieve goals such as better sleep, quitting smoking, losing weight, and building confidence.

Do Subliminals Work? Here’s The Theory Behind It

The theory behind subliminals is based on the idea that the subconscious mind can absorb information and influence behavior without us being aware of it. The subconscious mind processes a lot more information than the conscious mind, making it a powerful tool for personal change. The idea is that these messages can bypass the conscious mind's defenses and directly affect the subconscious, leading to changes in thoughts, behaviors, and habits.

Subliminal messages are typically hidden in audio tracks or visual cues that are too quick or quiet for the conscious mind to notice. For example, a subliminal audio track for weight loss might include positive statements about healthy eating and exercise mixed into relaxing music. Even though you can't consciously hear these statements, your subconscious mind picks them up, reinforcing positive behaviors and attitudes. This method is believed to counteract negative self-talk and deeply ingrained habits by planting positive suggestions directly into the subconscious, similar to traditional hypnosis techniques.

What the Experience Is Like

Using subliminals is a simple and rather enjoyable process, and here’s a step-by-step guide to show what you can expect and to understand how do subliminals work: 


  1. Choose a quiet and comfortable place where you can relax without interruptions.
  2. Select the subliminal audio that targets your specific goal (e.g., better sleep, weight loss, building confidence). In case you don’t have tracks downloaded, you can use the Oneleaf app.
  3. Use headphones for the best experience. 

Starting the Session:

  1. Begin playing the subliminal track. You might hear calming music or nature sounds. 
  2. Settle into a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down, and close your eyes.

During the Session:

  1. Relax and allow the sounds to wash over you. You won’t consciously hear the subliminal messages, but your subconscious mind will be absorbing them.
  2. Focus on your breathing, allowing yourself to become more relaxed and open to the positive suggestions embedded in the track.

Ending the Session:

  1. The session typically lasts 15-30 minutes. Once it ends, take a few moments to sit quietly and reflect on how you feel.
  2. Return to your regular activities, you should feel more relaxed and positive.

Follow-Up Sessions:

  1. Listen to the subliminal tracks daily or several times a week to reinforce the positive messages. A Oneleaf program is normally 6 parts, each with 4-6 sessions. 
  2. Over time, you might start to notice subtle changes in your thoughts, behaviors, and overall mindset as the subliminal messages take root in your subconscious.

The Oneleaf app is an excellent way to try out subliminal therapy. 

Scientific Evidence and Studies

One notable study published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology explored the effectiveness of subliminal messages in smoking cessation. The researchers conducted a controlled experiment involving 60 participants who were attempting to quit smoking. The participants were divided into two groups: one group listened to audio recordings with subliminal messages aimed at promoting smoking cessation, while the control group listened to similar recordings without subliminal content. Over a period of six weeks, the participants' smoking habits were closely monitored.

The results were compelling. The group exposed to subliminal messages showed a significantly higher quit rate compared to the control group. Specifically, 50% of the participants in the subliminal group successfully quit smoking, whereas only 20% of the control group achieved the same outcome. 

Other studies also support the effectiveness of subliminals. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that subliminal messages could reduce anxiety levels in participants, demonstrating their potential for managing mental health. Additionally, a study in Behavioral and Brain Functions showed that subliminal messages could enhance cognitive performance, specifically in areas of attention and memory. These findings collectively suggest that subliminals can positively influence behavior and mental well-being, supporting their use in various therapeutic and self-help applications.

Famous Advocates of Subliminals

Several celebrities support the use of subliminals and the power of the subconscious mind for personal change and therapy. Tony Robbins, a famous motivational speaker, talks about using positive affirmations and mental conditioning, which are key parts of subliminal therapy. Paul McKenna, a well-known hypnotist, uses subliminal messages in his audio programs to help people quit smoking, lose weight, and build confidence. Louise Hay, a pioneer in the self-help movement, believes in the power of positive affirmations, similar to subliminal techniques, in her book "You Can Heal Your Life."

Other advocates include Bob Proctor, known for "The Secret," who supports using subliminals to achieve success and wealth, and Dr. Joe Dispenza, a neuroscientist who uses subliminal messages in his meditation practices to help people heal and transform

What Others Say

Hear directly from Oneleaf’s community about the effectiveness of subliminals. Here are some reviews pulled directly from the App Store.

So easy and it works!

"I used this to quit smoking. I actually just listened to it every night before bed and totally fell asleep. It still worked! I didn’t have a craving anymore whatsoever and haven’t smoked since then. Incredible! It’s so easy to use and you can't do anything wrong. Just listen to it once a day and that’s all." – lolaluna333 on 03/31/2023

Game changer

"I’m incredibly grateful for the offerings within these courses and the gentle guidance to help reprogram the subconscious mind. I feel so much benefit already and am just getting started. If you’re seeking helpful tools in how to shift your mindset and becoming a more balanced version of yourself, I recommend this app fully." – Laurisis on 2023-11-08

Great app! …one suggestion

"I’m loving this app so far. I’m using the weight-loss tracks. The music, sounds and positive hypnosis suggestions are just what I need and I feel have been effective towards my approach to dieting." – Carolrima on 07/24/2023

Curious? Download the app now to try out the 7-day free trial. 

Try the Oneleaf App

Oneleaf is an app built by scientists and the world’s leading hypnotherapists. It integrates the power of subliminal messaging within an innovative mobile app. Oneleaf offers programs to help with sleep, quitting smoking, reducing stress, losing weight, building confidence, managing pain, improving focus, and enhancing relationships. Try the 7-day free trial today to see how effective subliminal messaging can be.

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