Breaking the Myth: Does Hypnotherapy Work for Weight Loss?

in Health & Well-being

When it comes to weight loss journeys, we all know about the usual methods. There are plenty of fad diets out there—juice cleanses, the Atkins diet—we see you (although, we don’t want to say we’d recommend these). But there may be one you haven’t heard of yet, and that’s hypnotherapy.

Interestingly enough, hypnosis and the practice of hypnotherapy is something people are now trying out to help them in their weight loss journeys. So, what is hypnotherapy exactly?

Hypnotherapy is a tool used to help individuals reach a state of hypnosis and deep relaxation—almost trance-like. During a session, it is believed that the conscious and subconscious mind are able to focus on certain things like verbal repetition and mental imagery, and in this state, the individual’s mind becomes open to change of behaviours, emotions, and habits. It’s not an unfamiliar concept, with many cultures having shown to use similar practices dating back thousands of years.

While you’re likely thinking of the misconception (thanks to popular culture) that hypnosis can make an individual do something against their will—such as behave like a monkey—it cannot actually make an individual do things against their will. It is entirely voluntary!

Hypnotherapy has been used in the past to help with behaviours including bed-wetting to smoking, and now, it has become more popular for treating conditions including anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, sleep problems, and even weight problems.

But let’s focus on hypnotherapy as a weight loss tool. How effective is it, really? After all, when it comes to weight loss, we should all know by now that there is no quick and easy fix out there.

Studies have shown that individuals can benefit from hypnotherapy for weight loss when used in conjunction with traditional weight management strategies. For those who do tend to respond well to hypnotherapy treatments, it can help diminish negative self-talk and self-sabotage in regards to diet, and can also potentially help those who may have weight issues as a result of past trauma.

Mailin Colman, president of the Australian Hypnotherapists Association (AHA), says that hypnotherapy can work well with clients who are open to treatment, but that weight loss is complex and motivations and triggers for eating or overeating can differ for individuals.

“That’s where a good hypnotherapist will work with the client to work out where their issues lie,” she says.

Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) spokesperson Professor Clare Collins says that while weight loss is complex in terms of diet and exercise, the psychological aspects are equally as important too—and therefore working out what triggers and motivations are for being overweight are. This is where hypnotherapy may come into play, and where individuals will benefit from hypnotherapy conducted on a continuing basis.

So to answer the question: does it work? While hypnotherapy can provide an edge over other weight loss methods, research suggests that using it in combination with a nutritious diet, daily exercise, and an overall healthy lifestyle may help with overall weight loss.

If you’re keen to give it a try, it’s important to make sure you’re dealing with hypnotherapists with the right qualifications and licencing.

Image Credits: Bill Oxford

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