Hypnosis is the method of putting a client into a trance like state. In a hypnotherapy session, the client relaxes deeply and tunes in to the voice of a hypnotherapist who will utilise verbal cues and mental images to help achieve a hypnotic state. When in this state the therapist can communicate powerful information to the client’s subconscious mind. The subconscious section of our mind lies behind our conscious mind and cannot typically be reached in typical day to day life. The subconscious mind is typically accessed when daydreaming or under hypnosis.
During hypnosis the mind is typically more receptive to suggestion. A Stanford University medical study showed that interesting changes occur in the brain throughout hypnosis, allowing you learn without thinking critically about the messages received. As a result, hypnosis can help breaking down barriers that might have prevented a client from losing weight in the past.
Repetition is important for success and this is why a good therapist should send recordings of the hypnotherapy performed on you to listen between sessions. Barriers in the mind are strong and through repeated work one can re-frame these sometimes long held beliefs. Research suggests that hypnosis is very effective for weight loss, a 2014 study undertaken by the University of Salento in Italy revealed that women trying to lose weight who received hypnotherapy lost significantly more weight than those who tried to lose weight without intervention. The women also reported improved eating behaviour and enhanced body image.
Some hypnotherapists work with clients who are on a diet or weight loss program, however many people are now realising, that diets simply don’t work for the majority of people in the long term. This is illustrated in research by Latrobe University, Australia. When on a diet we become overly responsive to the food that we desire and that looks good, our metabolism slows, and we become hungrier. Consequently, many hypnotherapists, including myself advocate an approach that allows clients to occasionally have the foods they desire but in moderation. Simply by allowing a little of you want can really get things back to a healthy balance. This was one of the most powerful tools that I used when finding peace with food.
Hypnotherapy can help clients in the resolution of underlying psychological issues leading them to detest exercise, have intense cravings, binge or eat mindlessly. It helps isolate triggers and disarm them. Hypnosis works for weight loss because it allows a person to separate food and eating from their emotional life.
Many hypnotherapists may offer tips and techniques to deal with intense emotions that may previously have triggered the action of ‘self- medicating’ with food. I often teach clients a simple tapping exercise that is taken from the Emotional Freedom technique, which can be an excellent way of restoring emotional balance and therefore reducing cravings.
Here is a great YouTube clip from Julie Schiffman, an EFT Practitioner of Dr. Mercola's Center for Natural Health that illustrates the technique.
Weight loss hypnotherapy allows the client to move away from ‘I see, I eat’ mentality to a more measured way of eating that registers messages from the body telling you it’s full. This can also be complemented and strengthened with mindful eating practices which have shown to be effective in achieving a healthy weight. Mindful eating can have multiple benefits as highlighted in a 2010 pilot study where overweight participants were taught a 6 week program centered around mindfulness. Results indicated improvements in eating behaviour, weight loss and increased well being.
Mind conditioning hypnotherapy allows people to move away from unhealthy snacking or ‘treating’ themselves with cakes or chocolates on a regular basis. Hypnotherapy retrains the brain to visualise an ideal body shape and then acts as a catalyst to kick start the client’s motivation. Visualisation techniques enable the client to glimpse future results and think about how it makes them feel.
Hypnotherapy helps people to make good choices about portion size at meal times, since incorrect portion sizes are one of the largest factors in weight gain. You don't have to feel hungry on a regular basis, simply satisfied and balanced both emotionally and physically.
Many clients come in search of an altered mindset around food. However, as their confidence in behaviour change and general levels of positivity grow, clients often naturally embrace the multiple benefits of increased physical activity.
Another added perk that my clients often report is that the meditation aspect, aids stress reduction and boosts mindfulness. This not only assists weight loss but improves general levels of wellbeing and relaxation. Clients are often so pleased and motivated by the behaviour changes in relation to food that it creates a domino effect in other areas of their life that they wish to improve.
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