SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS FROM
THE RESEARCH ON THE EFFICACY
OF HYPNOSIS FOR WEIGHT LOSS:
Can hypnosis help you lose weight?
The answer is unequivocally "yes".
How does hypnosis for weight loss work?
Hypnosis is a tool that helps you focus on what
you want--your goals--for example, to be a
thinner person at your desired weight. Hypnosis
can help you harness the power of your
imagination to see yourself doing what you must
do to achieve your goals--for example, to lose
weight. For losing weight, this would require
your changing your eating and exercise habits,
and your self image. Hypnosis can help you do
But, how does hypnosis help you do this?
Hypnosis is a method whereby you are helped to
open up a new channel of communication with your
body and your mind, through your mind. With the
help of a qualified clinical hypnosis
practitioner, you are guided into a state of
focused concentration and mental and physical
relaxation in which your suggestibility is
heightened and your imagination is stimulated.
In this state, the part of your mind that
controls your habits (i.e., your subconscious
mind) is more receptive to constructive
suggestions for changing your eating and
exercise habits, and improving your self-care.
You are not only helped to experience this
heightened state of suggestibility and relaxed,
focused concentration in the office, but also on
your own at home. This is accomplished by making
you an audio tape (CD or cassette) that you are
instructed to listen to at least once a day at
home for months. By repeatedly listening to your
hypnotist's suggestions over and over again, the
messages get through to your subsconscious
control center in your brain. This helps to
re-program your eating and exercise habits, your
body image, and your self image. You are also
taught how to harness the power of self-hypnosis
so that you can enter this state of focused
concentration on your own to meditate on your
goals and your new self image.
Hypnosis is also a tool for uncovering and
discovering underlying, unconscious emotional
factors that cause you to overeat or make poor
food choices when you are stressed, anxious,
bored, depressed, and so forth. Once these
emotional eating factors are made conscious, the
hypnosis tool is then used to help you change
them to more positive motivators so you can make
better choices under stress.
When combined with a behavioral weight
management treatment plan, hypnosis has been
shown to be an effective tool for achieving low
to moderate amounts of weight loss. However,
there are several variables that must be taken
into account. First, the hypnotic program must
be tailored to the individual. There is no one
size fits all. Different people have different
needs and requirements.
Second, hypnosis for weight loss often
requires a time intensive program
and considerable effort and
responsibility on the part of the weight
loss client or patient. There are many
fraudulent claims made on the internet
by people, usually unlicensed
lay hypnotists, who are trying to sell
their audio CD or DVD programs. The
fact is that one size fits all weight
loss tapes lack scientific evidence to
support their success and they should be
purchased with this knowledge in mind.
Third, hypnosis is a
process by which an individual enters a
state of relaxation, focused
attention, and heightened
suggestibility. When an individual is
helped into a hypnotic trance state by a
clinician, or hypnotist, the process is
called hetero-hypnosis. Once an
individual experiences hetero-hypnosis,
and is taught to do it by himself, it is
called self-hypnosis. Both
hetero-hypnosis and the teaching of
self-hypnosis are necessary tools for an
effective hypnotic weight loss protocol.
Fourth, the fact is that,
empirically, there is a dearth of
findings for men. Also, there is a
dearth of empirical studies with
subjects matched on relevant
characteristics, and this limits the
generalizability of positive findings
from an empirical research
perspective. Weight loss through
hypnosis has not been given as much
attention as is desirable by research
scientists. More research studies with
control groups and large subject pools
are necessary to help us better
understand how and how much hypnosis can
really help committed people lose
Fifth, the largest obstacle in weight
loss is its long-term retention, or the
maintenance of weight loss. With that
said, it is my clinical experience that
maintenance is promoted when a person
who is committed to following through
with a weight maintenance program has
the proper tools to use to help him or
her cope with their anxiety and their
other emotions. The proper tools
include: emotion regulation skills,
self-control skills, motivational
skills, and knowledge about diet,
nutrition, and exercise. Hypnosis,
self-hypnosis and cognitive-behavioral
skills provide the best resource tools
in this regard based on the research and
my own clinical experience.
Sixth, my clinical experience has been
that successful hypnotherapy treatment
for weight loss must tie in to
bolstering a patient's self esteem and
appreciation of his or her gift of
conclusion, hypnosis should be
considered a beneficial tool for
assisting limited weight loss when it is
combined with other forms of treatment,
such as cognitive-behavioral therapy,
targeted, brief analytical or
psychodynamic psychotherapy, appropriate
group counseling & support, and dieting,
exercise, and educational programs.
REFERENCES TO STUDIES:
A review of six
published in the September 2005 issue of
the International Journal of Obesity
found convincing documentation of
hypnotherapy's ability to aid
loss. Other small
show that participants who undergo
hypnotherapy can lose as much as 12 to
A controlled trial on the use
of hypnotherapy, as an adjunct to
dietary advice in producing weight loss,
was shown to produce a statistically
significant result in favour of
hypnotherapy. However, the benefits were
small and clinically insignificant. More
intensive hypnotherapy might of course
have been more successful, and perhaps
the results of the trial are
sufficiently encouraging to pursue this
In a meta-analysis of the effect of
adding hypnosis to cognitive-behavioral
treatments for weight reduction,
additional data were obtained from
authors of two previous studies, and
computational inaccuracies in the
previous meta-analyses were corrected.
Discusses findings. Correlational
analyses indicated that the benefits of
hypnosis increased substantially over
Click here for reference
Other studies have shown (1) that the
use of hypnosis motivational suggestions
produced an average 17 pound weight loss
compared to half a pound weight loss in
the control group after 6 months. A
further study (2) showed including
hypnosis in a weight loss program
doubled the amount of weight lost.
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