If you were to ask people what they thought about hypnosis, most of them would tell you that it is a convoluted party trick that makes people do the chicken dance on a stage. But did you know that many people have turned to hypnosis to lose weight? The science of using hypnosis to help people lose weight is known as hypnotherapy. This is when hypnosis is used in the treatment of mental and emotional problems through psychological means. Hypnotherapy is described as a type of complementary and alternative medicine in which the mind is used to help with a variety of problems such as breaking bad habits or coping with stress.
So, I bet you are wondering how this is possible considering that hypnosis is neither a diet or exercise program. According to Traci Stein, Ph.D., MPH, a health psychologist and certified ASCH clinical hypnotist, hypnosis can be used to help people resolve the rudimentary psychological issues that cause them to: not want to exercise, experience intense cravings, splurge especially at night, or eat senselessly, among other things. Therefore, hypnosis plays a critical role in identifying and disarming such triggers. The goal is usually to help the client formulate new behavioral patterns that help them cope well with different emotions and life. In addition, it helps them change their perception of food; instead of it being used to cope with stress, they begin viewing it as a means a way of coping with hunger.
Patients who use hypnosis for weight loss have elucidated the notion that hypnosis feels weird or that it is scary. According to one woman named Georgia, who recently went through the process, one feels quite under control and quite lucid. Peter LePort, MD, a bariatric surgeon who is the medical director of Memorial Care Center for Obesity in California, notes that the use of hypnosis in weight loss goes beyond treating one’s mental state; there is a medical component involved. He says, “You must deal with any underlying metabolic or biological causes of weight gain first, but while you are doing that using hypnosis, it can kick-start healthy habits. The meditation aspect can really help reduce stress and increase mindfulness which in turn can help with weight loss.”
So, does hypnosis really work? Shape.com has provided some interesting facts on the efficaciousness of this form of treatment. A study conducted in 1986 showed that women who used this form of treatment lost 17 pounds, while women who watched their diet only lost 0.5 pounds. Another study done in the 90’s showed that women who used hypnosis to lose weight lost twice as much weight as that of their counterparts who used other forms of treatment. In 2014, another study was done, and it yielded the same results. In fact, this study showed that the test subjects showed improvement in their weight, BMI and eating behavior. However, in 2012, a study conducted by Stanford found that a fourth part of the population cannot be hypnotized.