What the heck does hypnosis have to do with weight loss? Do images of a night club act come to mind?  Someone “barking like a dog” on stage and doing whatever the magician (hypnotist) says?

Whatever your impression of hypnosis may be, you may be surprised to learn that as an alternative treatment for everything from pain to stop smoking to weight loss, hypnosis is being used in medical institutions to help manage these conditions.

According to Jean Fain, a psychologist who uses hypnosis at Harvard Medical School’s Cambridge Hospital, “The country is getting fatter and fatter, so different weight loss methods are getting more attention.”

O.K… how does hypnosis work?  First, you must remember that no one can make you do something that is against your will.  Alternatively, hypnosis can help you master your own states of awareness and can affect your own bodily functions and psychological responses.

According to Gary Montgomery, president of the Society of Psychological Hypnosis and Division of American Psychological Association, the hypnotic state is defined as a state of focused concentration, much like being so absorbed in a good book that the outside world seems to fade away.  During this state, you become more open to suggestions.

During hypnosis, your body relaxes and your thoughts become more focused and attentive, your blood pressure and heart decrease, and certain types of brain wave activity are altered.  You will feel very at ease physically, yet fully awake mentally.  This has been called the “trance” and it is in this state of deep concentration when you become highly responsive to suggestion.

Much like the way television plays upon your need for food and to lose weight.  Constantly repeating the theme of looking thin, being wealthy, popular and fit, drives their message into your subconscious while you are watching the television.

Proof of this effect can be seen when you sit in front of your television and start munching and are unaware, until later, how much you had eaten.  This is a hypnotic state!  Or what about sitting at a red light?  So, when you are in a “trance” or deep concentration, you are unusually responsive to a suggestion or image.

How many times have you watched television and an ad for a hamburger? Don’t you start thinking about something to eat or become hungry?  Or after watching an ad for a weight loss product, do you start to feel guilty for your weight?  This combination of consumption of junk food and dieting creates guilt and, believe it or not, excess weight.

Hypnosis can help you create your own defense against this constant bombardment of television, newspaper and radio ads.  By learning the technique of positive self-hypnosis, you may actually counter all of this negative feedback and start losing weight.

Children are very good candidates to hypnosis therapy.  In one study, 83 percent of children significantly or completely recovered from obesity, asthma, anxiety, pain and habits like sleep walking, thumb sucking and nail biting.

Through the use of tapes, Lee Hubbard of Orange County, California, taught herself how to go into a hypnotic state whenever she feels like overeating.  Now when she wants to overeat, she closes her eyes for a moment and pictures herself walking toward the food and as she is about to take some food, she instead pictures herself walking way.

Hubbard states, “It’s like a movie screen where you observe yourself in the situation.  It lets you control the arena of your thought.”