Hypnosis is the practice of guiding a patient into a trance state via the power of suggestion. Although we've all seen corny (and inaccurate) depictions of hypnosis in movies and TV shows, the trance state is a real and commonplace phenomenon.
If you've ever been in reverie at the chorus of your favorite song, lost in a spellbinding novel, or zoned out in front of a movie screen, then you know what it's like to be in a trance. During this time, your mind is more open to suggestion and outside influence. This trance state is the domain of the hypnotist.
Countless nicotine addicts have kicked the habit due to the therapeutic power of hypnosis. Thanks to hypnotherapy, a safe and effective new alternative therapy exists that can help you recover your freedom and live a smoke-free life once again.
Read on to find out more about this highly effective anti-smoking intervention.
What Is Hypnotherapy?
When used in a therapeutic environment, hypnosis can aid in smoking cessation, weight loss, and help patients heal from past trauma.
To be hypnotized is to enter a state of focused attention and reduced surrounding awareness. In other words, hypnosis brings you in a "zoned out" state of consciousness. In this state, patients are highly impressionable and are vulnerable to suggestions from the hypnotist.
The practice of hypnosis for entertainment and mystic purposes has been around for centuries. But it wasn't until the 19th-century that hypnosis began being used in a clinical context to help patients overcome personal challenges, such as quitting smoking.
Hypnosis: A Brief History
The first hypnotist was an Austrian doctor named Franz Mesmer, from whom the term "mesmerize" originates. Mesmer believed that a supernatural force existed inside all living things, and that trance-like states could reveal this energy.
It wasn't until the 1840s when Scottish surgeon James Braid invented modern hypnotism. Braid was inspired by Mesmer to use heightened states of suggestibility to heal patients and make profound changes in their lives.
Braid's pioneering techniques in the art of hypnotism help thousands of people around the world today. From social anxiety treatment to help quitting smoking, hypnotherapy is an effective alternative therapy for those seeking better physical or mental health.
What Are the Benefits of Quitting Smoking?
It's no secret that quitting smoking confers numerous health and social benefits1 to the body and mind. Here are some of the top benefits of quitting:
- Lower risk of coronary heart disease
- Fewer cravings and addiction triggers
- Significantly reduced risk of lung cancer
- Weight loss and superior weight control
- Better post-traumatic stress management
- Lower risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Better alcoholism withdrawal symptoms management
Quit smoking with hypnosis offers innumerable benefits if done successfully. For best results, consider combining hypnotherapy with other smoking cessation aids.
There are also social benefits to quitting smoking that should not go unacknowledged. For example, non-smokers do not need to worry about sneaking outside during a dinner party, live sports game, or concert to have a smoke. Instead, non-smokers live with greater freedom and less anxiety after they kick the habit.
Does the Evidence Support Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation?
It's challenging to run randomized controlled experiments on hypnosis. Even so, studies have found compelling evidence that hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for people who are trying to kick the habit.
A Cochrane Database study2 from 2010 found that the results varied widely from one experiment to the next. The authors concluded that, at the very least, that hypnotherapy is equally as effective as conventional anti-smoking treatments and therapies.
An earlier study3 from 1992 found that anti-smoking hypnosis was responsible for a massive 1-in-5 of all successful cessation cases. The researchers assert that roughly 20-30 percent of patients will respond positively to the treatment. However, this figure is impressive when compared to the average success rate of cold turkey quitters (5-6 percent).
How Does Hypnotherapy Work?
Unlike other forms of therapy, hypnotherapy accesses your subconscious mind.
Consider how nicotine addiction usually takes hold. For most people, cigarette smoking starts as a casual social activity. However, over time, smoking becomes a crutch used to relieve stress during moments of frustration or fear.
Smokers often rely on cigarettes as a fear response to cope with stress. This phenomenon occurs because smokers subconsciously associate cigarettes with relaxation. For some people, erasing the subconscious motivations behind the addiction creates an immediate response.
What To Expect From a Hypnotherapy Session
Anti-smoking hypnotherapy is a perfectly safe practice. Quitting smoking with hypnosis is often effective with only one session between 30-60 minutes. For some heavy smokers, success may require a full 6-8-week hypnotherapy treatment program.
Despite what you've seen on TV, you won't be asked to stare into a swinging pocket watch. Instead, your first hypnotherapy session will likely involve a long conversation between you and your therapist. This way, you can develop comfort and rapport with the hypnotist, this is necessary for you to enter a prolonged trance state.
Using gentle therapeutic techniques, the hypnotist will talk you into a dream-like state of subconsciousness. In this state, you will be susceptible to suggestions, including the suggestion to stop smoking.
Don't worry about your safety while entranced. Although hypnotism is powerful, it is impossible to be forced to do anything against your will while hypnotized. You can feel free to explore your subconscious with an open mind and finally kick the habit for good.
Who Can Benefit from Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy isn't just for smokers who want to quit. It's also used widely by people all over the world who struggle with phobias, chronic anxiety, depression, and other chronic illnesses. If you struggle with your weight or fear the prospect of public speaking, then you may be an ideal candidate for hypnotherapy. The accessibility of hypnotherapy is one of its greatest assets.
If you're curious about whether this therapy is right for you, book an initial consultation with a practitioner, and discuss your treatment options. Hypnotherapy unearths your unconscious motivations for using substances and retrains your mind4 to cope with stress without them.