Hypnosis for weight loss tapes and CDs are widely advertised on the internet, but can hypnosis really help you to lose weight?
Call me a sceptic but the use of hypnosis or hypnotherapy seems little more than a gimmick aimed at people looking for a quick and easy alternative to diet and exercise.
Now that’s not to say that hypnosis doesn’t work at some level, more that there are plenty of people willing to promote it as a short cut to desperate dieters.
How Does Hypnosis for Weight Loss Work…?
First off, forget the stage hypnotist getting willing volunteers to do bizarre things for a cheap laugh. We’re talking about something very different.
Hypnosis is a process where a person is helped into a relaxed state with a heightened level of suggestibility.
Some people are much more susceptible to hypnosis than others, easily becoming more relaxed, attaining greater concentration and becoming more open to suggestion.
The theory is that whilst in the hypnotic state, the subject can be retrained to adopt healthier eating and other lifestyle habits that will help them to lose weight.
Having been hypnotised myself, I have to admit I was disappointed by the results.
Over 30 minutes or so I became very relaxed, which was a very pleasant experience and did as instructed by the therapist.
At all times I was awake and fully conscious of what was happening to me and around me.
I felt fantastic afterwards. Really calm and in touch with my senses, very attuned to my surroundings.
But did the session have the desired effect? Nope.
But then that’s hardly surprising. Most studies conclude that for the vast majority of people, one session of hypnosis will have little if any effect.
Hypnosis for Weight Loss ??
Firstly, any hypnotist, hypnotherapist or website selling CDs that claim that one session or a single listen to a CD will help you to start shedding pounds instantly is in all likelihood scamming you.
The studies that have shown hypnosis as beneficial for weight loss and other behavioural changes are based on several weeks of treatment and practice in self-hypnosis by the subject.
Whilst in a limited number of studies some moderate weight loss has resulted, trials have often been flawed from a methodological perspective. Such as having no placebo group with which to compare results.
As such, we’d suggest there is little scientific evidence to back up the claims made by many advertisers for hypnosis for weight loss.
However, hypnosis has proved beneficial to trial subjects as an adjunct to diet and exercise programs.
Several studies have shown that hypnosis combined with diet, exercise and behaviour modification designed to alter eating patterns has had an effect.
For instance, Bolocofsky et al (1985) demonstrated that people using hypnosis lost more weight at the 8 month and 2 year follow ups than those that didn’t.
However, studies indicate that hypnosis may be helpful for modest weight loss – losing a few pounds – rather than for long term significant weight loss.
There are though, just as many studies that show no effect at all…so make up your own mind!
For us, hypnosis seems to share some of the characteristics of psychological approaches such as visualisation and cognitive behaviour therapy. These can be beneficial for reprogramming the subconscious and reinforcing learning and behaviour change.
Psychology however, enjoys scientific credibility, hypnosis and hypnotherapy do not.
The Bottom Line…
We’re great believers in the power of positive thinking, of retraining the mind for success.
However, these are long term approaches that require some practice and discipline to learn.
Hypnosis though, still smacks of quackery, which fuels much of the scientific community’s scepticism.
Whilst there is some evidence that hypnosis may aid a diet and exercise regime by providing short term reinforcement of behaviour change. The evidence to support hypnosis for weight loss in the long term is not there.
Furthermore, there is no evidence at all that hypnosis alone can bring about any significant weight reduction.
Hypnosis for weight loss does not appear to offer the solution to your weight management problems.
With regular practice over some months, hypnosis may help to reinforce the behaviour change necessary to lose weight and keep it off. But it’s not a credible alternative to a healthy diet and exercise program.
So, our suggestion would be to forget the weight loss hypnosis CDs as there’s no evidence to support their effectiveness.
If you need some positive reinforcement and motivation you may want to consider a self help book or CD by Anthony Robbins or another of the lifestyle gurus. Inspirational and a much better use of $20!