Sometimes a new client will ask how I intend to take him in to a trance state. The technique used by the hypnotist or hypnotherapist is called an induction. An induction is used to help the client reach a state of relaxation where there is heightened suggestibility.
Hypnotherapists use a variety of methods including: staring at an object (a dot on the wall, a pendulum, etc.), a variety of relaxation suggestions and other words spoken in a relaxing, often repetitive tone, and sounds such as music or a heartbeat. There is no need for a hypnotherapist to touch a client during an induction.
I personally enjoy using a combination of induction techniques while very carefully observing the client. I sometimes use a sound machine to play ocean waves or water lapping against a lake shore or the sound of water rushing across the rocks while the client envisions a pretty stream. Some hypnotists like to use calm music but I personally find that many clients are distracted by more popular classical pieces they recognize or have a distaste for New Age music. I usually start with a guided imagery of a peaceful relaxing place which the client has identified in the clinical interview before the hypnotherapy session. Then I often progress to some kind of progressive relaxation of their body. I often end the induction with a deepening technique. During this part of the induction, I am trying to intensify the experience of hypnosis for the client. My favorite deepening technique is simply to have the person imagine a flight of very safe stairs. As I guide them down the stairs, I give many suggestions for being calm, relaxed and comfortable as they go deeper and deeper.
Each hypnotherapist or hypnotist will have their own techniques for inducting a client in to hypnosis. Remember, it is the hypnotist's job to lead you in to that relaxed state where you are suggestible. It is your job to lie back and enjoy the process!