Hypnosis - An Overlooked Weight Loss Method

Losing weight can be frustrating for most people who have tried several weight loss programs but are unsuccessful to shed those extra pounds. Weight loss programs usually include several methods from diet plans to exercise routines and support consultants; and hypnosis is one method that is gaining ground as another weight loss tool. Hypnosis has also been used to help people kick the habit of smoking.

How It Works

Hypnosis involves putting one's subconscious in a relaxed, trance-like state wherein they can be more focused and more receptive to suggestions. The hypnotherapist first determines the patient's eating patterns and lifestyle, and then while the patient is under hypnosis, he suggests methods that can alter the patient's behavior. If the therapist finds for example that the patient indulges in food when she is lonely, he may suggest to the patient that eating is not the only thing that can lighten her mood; spending time with family or pets can also lift her spirits. A successful hypnosis session will enable the patient to stop herself to overeat by playing with her dogs or going out with her family.

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The procedure is not magic, and does not produce instantaneous results. Benjamin Kligler, who is a hypnotherapist in New York City's Albert Einstein College, recommends two rounds of four weekly sessions - the second round to be taken after a month. It is also important to remember that hypnosis does not directly make patients lose weight, rather it promotes the behavior that will do so.


Hypnosis is known to work best with people who are willing and cooperative to be hypnotized. According to the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists (ASCH), most people can be hypnotized although with varying difficulty. The ASCH adds that all hypnosis is triggered by self-hypnosis. A patient does not fall into hypnosis if he does not choose to. Hypnotherapists assist patients to fall into hypnosis, and they can teach patients to conduct hypnosis on their own. Considering that losing weight and maintaining an ideal weight is a lifelong process, learning self-hypnosis as a weight loss tool can be worthwhile.

Success Rate

There are many patients that were helped by hypnosis, especially those struggling with behavioral problems. One documented patient reported a weight loss of 95 pounds after three years of hypnotherapy. According to various experts, however, there are still no long-term and conclusive studies on the effectiveness or success rate of weight-loss hypnosis. Dr. Kligler states that there are different techniques used during hypnosis that it is difficult to conclude its effectiveness. Katherine Zeratsky, a nutritionist with MayoClinic.com adds that an average loss of 6 pounds was observed in some studies, but these studies have not been certified as credible evaluations.

While hypnosis may work wonders for some people, it does not produce same results for everyone. Hypnotherapists have to establish which languages and techniques work best for their patients. On the other hand, patients wanting to employ hypnosis with their weight loss regimen have to choose trained and licensed hypnotherapists. Hypnotherapists can come from various fields of medicine and can be practicing doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, and psychologists.

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