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Articles on Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

A fresh look at Hypnosis and Weight Management

By Jackie Desilva  

Last year Deborah Kinsley was frustrated with making what seemed to be her hundredth attempt To loose weight. To help her, Deborah contacted a Santa Cruz hypnotherapist named Tricia Hancock. Hancock specializes in a weight management technique called Tools For Change, a self awareness-training program. Deborah was won over. “I would have to say what the training gave to me was profound, I gained a grater inner strength. In the past I was either on a diet or gaining my weight back. This time I’m in control and it feel wonderful. I was felt empowered form the very first visit.” Says Deborah, who lives in Los Gatos California with her husband and two children.

If the word hypnosis conjures up memories of the stage fair stage act where some people ended up barking like dogs, then you should know there is much more to this age old art than merely a parlor magician.Today, hypnosis or clinical hypnotherapy is rapidly becoming a respected alternative for an array of conditions. It has long been used to help people stop smoking and overcome fears such as public speakingOr passing a high anxiety exam, but now the practice is branching out into new areas. “For the vast majority of people, clinical hypnotherapy can be an invaluable tool,” says Tricia Hancock, who uses it in her private practice at the Center For yoga and Personal Growth in Capitola California. For example, she has helped many people with insomnia, childbirth, people who wanted to stop smoking marijuana, and those struggling with low self-esteem. 

“One of the wonderful things about hypnosis is that it is a very natural state and because of that it is easy to teach, it can and does often work quickly.” Says Hancock. Many doctors are now using it for such conditions as arthritis, migraine headaches, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and other afflictions than modern medicine struggle to treat effectively. These types of disorders often have strong mental components, which play into the strengths of hypnosis. Hypnotherapy’s effectiveness lies in the complex connection between the mind and the body. It is well understood that illness can affect your mental state and than your mental state can affect your physical state. One example is stress, an emotional state but if it can become chronic and can then lead to depression, and/or a heart disease. Hypnosis carries the mind connection to the next logical step by using the power of the mind it brings about change in the body. Although it is an age-old art no one is quite sure how to make it an exact science.

But thanks to more sophisticated imaging techniques that are changing. For instance, researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute found that during a trance induced by hypnosisAimed at bringing about pain control for childbirth, the prefrontal cortex of the brain (which controls concentration) directed other areas of the brain to reduce or eliminate their awareness of pain. That’s important, because if your brain doesn’t pay attention to pain, it doesn’t mater if it is there or not. It similar to the sill some of us have for tuning out the sound of arguing  children. “It isn’t a magic wand,” cautions Tricia Hancock I’m not saying everyone can’t be hypnotized…because they can it is a learnable skill, a natural state. But it still requires that the client practice self awareness, practices the art of being mindful, being “present” so that the authentic healthy self can show up.” Carol Ginandes, Ph.D., an instructor at Harvard Medical School is looking at how hypnotherapy can help people heal faster. 

In a small study last year , she took 18 women who were having breast reduction surgery and put them in one of three groups. One group received standard surgery care. Another group got the same care and also got psychological support. The third group underwent clinical hypnosis before and after surgery in addition to the standard care. Those who had undergone hypnosis healed faster, felt less discomfort, and had fewer complications. “what’s exciting about this research is that it provides promising evidence of using hypnosis to actually accelerate the physical healing process of the body” says Ginandes.  The American Medical Association has approved of its use since 1958. 

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