At last, it’s official. Hypnotism really does work – and it has an impact on the brain which can be measured scientifically, according to one of America’s leading psychiatrists.
David Spiegel, from Stanford University, told the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science that he had scanned the brains of volunteers who were told they were looking at coloured objects when, in fact, they were black and white.
A scan showing areas of the brain used to register colour highlighted increased blood flow, indicating that the volunteers genuinely ‘saw’ colours, as they had been told they would.
‘This is scientific evidence that something happens in the brain when people are hypnotised that doesn’t happen ordinarily,’ Mr Spiegel told delegates.
He added that there were ‘tremendous medical implications’ and envisaged people being able to manage their own pain and anxiety.
Well, I am relieved to know that the people I have hypnotised on stage down the years were not just putting it on to please me and the audience. And, more importantly, that those I have cured of fears and phobias were genuinely cured.
I am delighted that this research confirms what professional hypnotists, such as myself, who have been successfully using the technique for medical purposes, have known all along – hypnotism has a genuine effect on the functioning of the mind, as well as the body.
Let me give you one example of my recent work in New York. Patricia was a high-flying business executive who had put off having a child for
many years because her career came first. Now the biological clock had clicked in and she desperately wanted a baby, but she could not get pregnant.
There was no physical reason for her infertility, and I soon came to realise that she had simply done a fine job of selfhypnosis, programming her body to reject pregnancy.
I re-hypnotised her to switch that part of her body back on, and within a couple of months she was pregnant and now has twins.
Another area in which hypnosis works is pain control. We can all remember concentrating desperately hard on, say, putting up a shelf.
Your screwdriver slips, you cut your finger – and it hardly registers. It is only when you have finished that you realise the finger hurts intolerably, and you notice blood running down your arm.
I have used that principle to help several women to have painless childbirths by hypnotising them into concentrating on things other than the forthcoming pain.
And it is even possible for selfhypnosis to do the trick. I know from experience that it is possible to teach that technique.
Recently I was talking to Dr Roger Bannister, the man who ran the first four-minute mile back in the Fifties. It had been deemed an unbreakable barrier. But within a year or so of his epic feat, some 30 other runners had done the same.
Had the world suddenly produced a new breed of supermen-Of course not. What had happened was that Roger’s astonishing feat had changed the mindset of many runners.
Instead of saying ‘That’s impossible’ they were now saying ‘You know, I could just do that’. And the mental shift impacted on their bodily functions.
Much of the work I now do with leading athletes involves that principle. I hypnotise them into accepting that they could do even better than they are doing.
Do I succeed? All I can say is that many of those sportsmen and women report back to me that their performance has improved, and they send their friends to consult me – which is the highest compliment.
The other area in which, in my experience, hypnotism works well is in curing irrational fears and phobias – as well as addictions such as smoking or overeating.
A good hypnotist can rid you of anxieties within half an hour, and in New York I conducted a televised experiment which proves it.
I hypnotised Gina, a young lady who had a morbid fear of flying. Then I took her up in a C111 transport plane and at 3,000ft opened the rear door and stood with her (harnessed of course) a mere 12in from the drop, while she calmly enjoyed the breathtaking view of the city.
As far as I am concerned, anything which says to the sceptics that hynotism is more than either a showbiz con or a simple matter of the weak-minded ‘victim’ being influenced by the stronger-willed hypnotist is worthwhile.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I have no worries about hypnotism as entertainment. That is how I started out, and I still love to perform on stage and television, although it can involve drama and hype and a slightly contrived, spooky atmosphere.
But, like many others, I soon came to realise that there is much more to the art than merely persuading people to do foolish things as a bit of fun.
As I looked into the history of hypnotism I learned that in its modern form it was first practised as ‘animal magnetism’ some 200 years ago in Vienna by one Dr Franz Anton Mesmer (hence the word mesmerised).
He was highly successful but he ended up ruined and driven out of the city by the medical establishment, having been accused of faking and practising magic.
Or take the case of 19th century surgeon James Esdaile. He practised in India and, as a matter of necessity, performed dozens of operations, including major amputations, without anaesthetic and without his patients feeling pain.
He claimed a 95 per cent success rate, at a time when most surgeons killed some 40 per cent of their patients. But when he came back to this country and tried to interest his colleagues in his discovery, he was laughed out of court by the medical authorities.
Is it any wonder then that those who discovered they had the power to hypnotise soon found they could do better by taking their skill on to the stage rather than into the consulting rooms?
Now I hope that the research conducted by David Spiegel and others will finally enable hypnotism to take its proper place as a serious part of medical science. It is high time.
Okay, you might be asking why hypnosis is so successful in treating diabetes
The result is that the individual’s life with diabetes is improved, mental state is improved, and management skills are learned. Best of all, the level of depression is reduced so the individual can lead a normal, happy life.
If you are among the millions suffering form diabetes, a reputable hypnotist or hypnotherapist can make a remarkable difference in your life, to include a slight reduction in long-term blood sugar levels.
As more studies have been conducted, medical professionals now understand that diabetes brings with it the hidden risk of depression. In fact, diabetes can increase the odds of a person developing depression by 50%! Obviously, with depression comes a distancing of relationships, difficulty in the workplace or in school, and an overall sense of doom and defeat. Considering that 35% of all diabetics have significant depression and 11% have major depression, it is easy to understand why hypnosis can be so beneficial.
Unfortunately, one of the first treatment options recommended by most doctors is prescribed drugs. Now keep in mind that there are certainly cases when drugs are necessary. However, diabetics have alternatives to chemicals and toxins in the form of hypnosis. If they want help and believe in hypnosis, it will work. If at any time that individual feels the hypnosis does not suffice in the treatment of depression, then he or she can always consult with a medical doctor but hypnosis has helped many people so it is worth trying.
Okay, you might be asking why hypnosis is so successful in treating diabetes and the manifestation of depression. The bottom line is that one of the contributing factors of depression is the person’s physiological state. In fact, studies show that high blood sugar levels cause biochemical changes within the brain that can lead to depression. Therefore, when these changes occur, they need to be addressed. Sadly, doctors are still missing the depression aspect of diabetes, treating only the obvious. The good new is that today, some medical doctors are beginning to incorporate hypnosis into their normal practice. With that, you have the best of both worlds, being treated with hypnosis for the diabetes’ depression and being treated with prescription drugs, if necessary.
If you live with depression resulting from diabetes remember that ignoring the problem only puts you at greater risk for further and/or additional problems. Even children can experience bouts of depression brought on by depression and they too can benefit from hypnosis. As you can imagine, depression can be devastating not just to you, but to your family and friends, people who love you but have to sit back and watch as you struggle. Untreated depression is dangerous but it can be improved with hypnosis. The main problem with traditional treatment for diabetes is that it does not address the underlying cause. In addition, no chemical management to include insulin can stop diabetes from developing. In other words, diabetes is often brought on by unhealthy lifestyle such as weight gain. Using hypnosis to control weight gain means the diabetes may not develop in the first place. Therefore, while hypnosis can be beneficial for treating diabetes once it has already become a problem, it can also be used to prevent it, something medication cannot do.
This means using hypnosis for diabetes is a win-win-situation. In addition to depression, diabetes can also bring about other problems such as fatigue, mood swings, and so on. Again, hypnosis performed by a reputable hypnotist or hypnotherapist can bring those things under control. With the power of suggestion to the subconscious mind, the behaviors and consequences of those behaviors can be changed. Instead of just dealing with change of cognitive function when living with diabetes to include severe depression, you might consider hypnosis because it works.
With hypnosis, you are basically, being unconsciously reminded to think and therefore feel several times during the day to change the way you live. Going back to the weight issue, hypnosis can be a continual reminder not to overeat or eat the wrong foods. With this, you adopt a healthy lifestyle so excess weight is not a problem. The result is reduced risk of developing diabetes, which could then be followed by depression. Now is the time to take charge of your life. If you are already overweight, have diabetes, and suffer from depression, or if you are concerned of developing diabetes, hypnosis can make a significant difference in your life.
Here is my 7-session plan for weight loss using hypnosis techniques. The mind is the most powerful organ and using it to achieve your weight-loss goals can prove highly effective. You could lose twice as much weight with hypnosis as you would using most other techniques alone!
However, the concept is very controversial. The medical community still doesn’t officially recognize hypnosis as a valid method of weight loss. But there are many doctors who use it in their practice.
Hypnosis involves the induction of a trance state. It may or may not have a therapeutic purpose. When a person is hypnotized, he or she is typically required to think, feel and behave in ways that are incongruent with reality (i.e. You’re not hungry!). Many associate hypnosis with mind control. This is a myth. In order for hypnosis to work, the person must be a willing participant.
In addition to using it for weight loss, doctors and hypnotists have used this technique to help people quit smoking, relieve headaches, alleviate anxiety, and get rid of specific phobias— like a fear of flying. It was even used to “unlock buried memories” in the mind of a US Army sergeant who was “accused of killing five fellow servicemen” in Iraq.
How Hypnosis Works
My strategy for hypnosis for weight loss involves subjecting yourself to seven sessions across seven weeks:
Does It Work?
Women all over the country praise hypnosis techniques, which has helped shed pounds and dress sizes. However, what does the medical research say?
An assessment of six different studies (also known as a meta-analysis) showed that using hypnotherapy to assist with weight loss allowed for double the weight loss. They compared those who tried to lose weight using cognitive behavioral therapy alone and using cognitive behavioral therapy with hypnosis to assist with weight loss. They also found that the participants who added hypnosis to their weight-loss therapy stayed slimmer longer. Dr. Guy Montgomery, a one of the authors of the study, uses it in his practice and claims it to be beneficial for his patients’ weight-loss journeys.