Some of my patients struggle with health issues due to unhealthy habits such as drinking too much, smoking, overeating the wrong foods leading to high blood sugar and cholesterol levels, nail biting, etc. In order to help them gain control of their health-diminishing habits, I sometimes refer them to a medical hypnotherapist.
Its not unusual however, for me to get a lot of raised eyebrow responses to hypnosis as the common perception is the one we’ve seen in movies or nightclubs; “stage hypnosis”, that puts people into trances to make them do embarrassing things in front of an audience! Medical hypnosis, however, couldn’t be further from that scenario and has been used successfully to help people of all ages gain control of their unhealthy habits. Here’s what I tell my patients about the real benefits of working with a licensed medical hypnotherapist and what hypnosis can do for them.
How Can Hypnosis Help Me Stop…
Hypnosis can help you stop smoking, eating too much of the wrong foods, drinking too much, nail biting, pulling out hair, fearful of things (public speaking, animals, insects, etc), or any number of other phobias or unhealthy behaviors. Hypnosis can also aid in chronic pain relief by implanting positive biofeedback methods to help you control pain response.
The use of hypnosis has been around for a couple hundred years. Simply stated, it is the process of speaking directly to the subconscious mind and placing positive, healthy, mind-over-body behavior patterns to replace unhealthy ones. Here are some of the things that medical hypnosis can help with:
- Losing weight. Hypnosis inserts behavior control ideas that you need for successful weight loss, i.e., cutting down/out refined sugars/carbohydrates, correct food portions, more vegetables, eating only when hungry, more exercise. Several type 2 diabetic patients have successfully learned to control their blood sugars with diet alone.
- Stop smoking. Hypnosis works to eliminate your need to smoke, e.g., do you smoke when you’re nervous, stressed, etc? Hypnosis suggests you deal with stress and anxiety in a way other than putting a cigarette in your mouth, such as chewing gum, going for a walk, counting, taking several deep breaths, repeating a cued, calming word to yourself like “calm” or “peace”, whatever you and your hypnotherapist agree on.
- Cut down alcohol. Hypnosis can help you change your relationship with alcohol. Like smoking, it addresses getting at the root reasons why you drink too much. What is it you’re trying to forget? Dealing with the reason why you drink can help you stop.
- Phobias. Works to discover the subconscious root of whatever your fear may be, flying in a plane, insects, animals, social situations, heights, and suggests ways you can confront and conquer this fear, thereby eliminating it.
- Relaxation. Many of us are stressed out today with jobs, financial conditions, etc. Hypnosis can help implant positive biofeedback relaxation techniques to help us cope.
- Nail biting, hair pulling, tics, etc. Hypnosis addresses the root of why you do these behaviors. Anxiety? Stress? Anger? Hypnosis implants positive behavior controls to stop doing these detrimental habits whenever you feel the triggers that cause them.
- Pain relief. My patients who live with chronic back, neck, or other pain issues have benefitted greatly from hypnosis. Along with medication, exercise, relaxation, hypnosis implants biofeedback techniques to help bring pain levels down.
Who Performs Hypnotherapy?
When I refer my patients for medical hypnosis, I send them to someone who is a Certified Medical Hypnotherapist, or C.M.Ht. These are professionals who have undergone specific training in a state licensed medical hypnosis program and have passed the board exam in their state. If you want to try hypnosis, please check training and credentials.
How Is Hypnotherapy Done?
A certified hypnotherapist will meet with you and gather information about you, much as other health professionals do; your age, medical history, and also information about the particular issue you wish to work on and assess how open to hypnotherapy you are. Some people are resistant to the idea of hypnosis and have a difficult time being hypnotized. For these people, hypnosis will not work or be much less successful. They will also outline a treatment plan with you and determine how many sessions you may need. They generally also give you self-hypnosis material such as tapes, affirmations, etc to work on outside your hypnosis session with them. Generally, here’s how a hypnotherapy session goes:
- Perform relaxation techniques with you first
- Induce you under hypnosis techniques to a light level of sleep
- Probe the specific issue with you and implant beneficial behaviors
- Bring you up out of hypnosis.
Generally, people feel very good after hypnosis sessions, as if they’ve taken a short nap. Most people start to notice positive changes in their behavior in the first few days following hypnosis.
As I explain to my patients, hypnotherapy can be a helpful tool in changing damaging behaviors and can be useful in boosting your overall health. Keep in mind though that hypnotherapy is another form of counseling that requires you to be an active participant in the process. In short, hypnosis can only help you if you genuinely want to change your behavior.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Hypnosis Information, http://www.about-hypnosis.com/
Weight-Loss Hypnosis, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss-hypnosis/AN01617