Have you ever been hypnotized?
I imagine we are all aware to one degree or another of the stereotypical hypnotic episode: a mustached gentleman in a tux spinning a crystal at eye level directly in front of a volunteer from the audience.
The mustached gent in the tux assures the volunteer that he or she is getting very very sleepy. The next thing you know the poor volunteer is squirming uncomfortably in a chair because he or she has been directed to believe that the seat has become hot and is getting even hotter. Afterward, the volunteer will bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken or engage in some kind of public embarrassment for all of those who did not volunteer to be the rube.
There you have it then, the art of hypnosis. The question then becomes what is the reality of it all and, if it passes the litmus test, how effective is the practice?
What Is Hypnosis?
Although hypnosis is regularly defined as sleep-like trance, the more accurate depiction is a state of focused attention, intensified suggestability and fantasies.
The hypnotic states varies among individuals with reports ranging from a feeling of extreme relaxation and detachment to full awareness and the ability to make conversation.
The technique has clinical merit and been proven effective in reducing pain and anxiety. It has other medical and therapeutic values, as well, such as the reduction of symptoms of dementia, the reduction of nausea and vomiting among cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment, and pain control for people having dental procedures.
Is Hypnosis Effective for Weight Loss?
Hypnosis, in and of itself, will do little to generate weight loss. When used as a supplementary method to a behavioral weight management program or some other type of treatment, hypnosis can be effective for low to moderate weight loss.
Although hypnosis will not help with weight loss as effectively as diets or weight loss exercises, it can help to address non-genetic causes of weight gain such as emotional eating, stress, sleeplessness, mood swings and depression.
In addition, hypnotherapy can help with weight loss indirectly by improving focus and clarity of thought, increasing self-awareness, diminishing stress levels, and improving mental and emotional health.
Benefits of Hypnosis for Weight Loss
Hypnosis can increase adherence to suggestions in a weight loss program and reinforce weight loss. It can assist in the learning of positive eating habits and help to create healthy and extended patterns of food consumption. Those who use hypnosis as an aid to weight loss are also more likely to incorporate the rules of any particular program into their behavioral pattern.
Hypnosis Won't Work for Everyone
It should be noted that there are instances when hypnosis will not be effective. A person who believes she cannot be hypnotized or that hypnosis will not be helpful inhibits the potential for success. In addition, a specific medical condition that prevents weight loss such as a thyroid imbalance cannot be corrected through hypnosis.