Does Hypnosis for Weight Loss Work?

Yes, research demonstrates a significant effect when using hypnosis for weight loss.

Contrary to what some people think, hypnosis is a legitimate clinical tool for behaviour modification and not just an amusing stage-show where people are made to cluck like chickens or act like slaves.

The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) is the largest U.S. organization for health and mental health care professionals using clinical hypnosis.
Hypnosis for weight loss
Founded in 1957, ASCH's members are psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, medical doctors, master's level nurses and dentists. Their efforts to support research and set standards for ethical practices of hypnotherapy are respected world-wide.

The following information is from the ASCH.

In a 9-week study of two weight management groups (one using hypnosis for weight loss and one not using hypnosis), the hypnosis for weight loss group continued to get results in the two-year follow-up, while the non-hypnosis group showed no further results (Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1985).

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In a study of 60 women separated into hypnosis versus non-hypnosis groups, the groups using hypnosis lost an average of 17 pounds, while the non-hypnosis group lost an average of only .5 pounds (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1986).

In a comparison of the results of adding hypnosis to weight loss treatment across multiple studies showed that adding hypnosis increased weight loss by an average of 97% during treatment, and even more importantly increased the effectiveness POST TREATMENT by over 146%. This shows that hypnosis works even better over time (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1996).

Clinical hypnotists do essentially three things with hypnosis.
Enjoying Weight Loss - lose weight with hypnosis
They encourage the use of imagination. Mental imagery is very powerful, especially in a focused state of attention. The mind seems capable of using imagery, even if it is only symbolic, to assist us in bringing about the things we are imagining. For example, a patient with ulcerative colitis may be asked to imagine what her distressed colon looks like. If she imagines it as being like a tunnel, with very red, inflamed walls that are rough in texture, the patient may be encouraged in hypnosis (and in self-hypnosis) to imagine this image changing to a healthy one.

Another basic hypnotic method is to present ideas or suggestions to the patient. In a state of concentrated attention, ideas and suggestions that are compatible with what the patient wants seem to have a more powerful impact on the mind. Hypnosis for weight loss or to stop smoking or for some other purpose that the patient desires can be quite effective.

Finally, hypnosis may be used for unconscious exploration, to better understand underlying motivations or identify whether past events or experiences are associated with causing a problem. Hypnosis avoids the critical censor of the conscious mind, which often defeats what we know to be in our best interests.

Myths About Hypnosis

People are often afraid that being hypnotized will make them lose control, surrender their will, and result in their being dominated or humiliated, but a hypnotic state is not the same thing as gullibility or weakness. Many people base their assumptions about hypnotism on stage acts but fail to take into account that stage hypnotists screen their volunteers to select those who are cooperative, with possible exhibitionist tendencies, as well as responsive to hypnosis. Stage acts help create a myth about hypnosis which discourages people from seeking legitimate hypnotherapy.

Another myth about hypnosis is that people lose consciousness and have amnesia. A small percentage of subjects, who go into very deep levels of trance will fit this stereotype and have spontaneous amnesia. The majority of people remember everything that occurs in hypnosis. This is beneficial, because most of what we want to accomplish in hypnosis may be done in a medium-depth trance, where people tend to remember everything.

In hypnosis, the patient is not under the control of the hypnotist. Hypnosis is not something imposed on people, but something they do for themselves. A hypnotist simply serves as a facilitator to guide them.

When Will Hypnosis Be Beneficial?

Hypnosis appears to be most effective when the patient is highly motivated to overcome a problem and when the hypnotherapist is well trained in both hypnosis and in general considerations relating to the treatment of the particular problem. Some individuals seem to have higher natural hypnotic talent and capacity that may allow them to benefit more readily from hypnosis. Hypnosis for weight loss can be very effective if you are highly motivated.

Uses of Hypnosis

Below is a list of legitimate uses of hypnosis as defined by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH):

Anxiety & stress management
Bowel syndrome
Concentration difficulties
Crohn's disease
Dentistry (relaxation, fear elimination, prevention of gagging and nausea, control of saliva and bleeding, behavior modification)
Dermatologic disorders (eczema, herpes, neurodermatitis, pruritus [itching], psoriasis, warts)
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Learning disorders
Nausea & vomiting
Obesity & weight control
Pain (back pain, cancer pain, dental anesthesia, headaches and migraines, arthritis or rheumatism)
Raynaud's disease
Sexual dysfunctions
Sleep disorders
Smoking cessation
Sports & athletic performance
Test anxiety

The point to remember in this discussion of hypnosis for weight loss is that it can be beneficial for both maintaining motivation and stick-to-it-ivness during your weight loss program, but also for producing results that last.

Dr. Roberta Temes is the editor of the first hypnosis textbook used in medical schools, Medical Hypnosis. This means that psychiatrists in training learn how to use hypnosis from her!

Dr. Temes is also on the faculty of the Psychiatry Department in the Medical School of the SUNY Health Science Center. Among other things, she is involved with research on the behavioral factors involved with long-term weight loss.

Dr. Temes, in association with the Hypnosis Network, has prepared a 4 CD audio hypnosis for weight loss program that takes you through 7, short hypnosis sessions that last about 20 minutes each. Most people are successful by listening to one session repeatedly for about a week, then moving on to the next, and so on. There is also a session at the end that will help you maintain your healthy weight once you achieve it, which is possibly more important than losing weight in the first place.

The hypnosis for weight loss sessions are light, fun, and most importantly effective. They are even more effective over time, so eventually you will rarely need to use them.This means that the suggestions you will receive in her program are based on science and research and not new-age gobbledy-gook, wishful thinking, or personal whim.

To learn more about Dr. Temes' program, hypnosis for weight loss, click here.