By Melissa Dahl
Doctor Marie Elisabeth Faymonville performing hypnosis as an alternative to traditional anesthesiology.
Considering its origin story, it’s not so surprising that hypnosis and serious medical science have often seemed at odds. The man typically credited with creating hypnosis, albeit in a rather primitive form, is Franz Mesmer, a doctor in 18th-century Vienna. (Mesmer, mesmerize. Get it?)
Mesmer developed a general theory of disease he called “animal magnetism,” which held that every living thing carries within it an internal magnetic force, in liquid form. Illness arises when this fluid becomes blocked, and can be cured if it can be coaxed to flow again, or so Mesmer’s thinking went. To get that fluid flowing, as science journalist Jo Marchant describes in her recent book, Cure, Mesmer “simply waved his hands to direct it through his patients’ bodies” — the origin of those melodramatic hand motions that stage hypnotists use today.”
After developing a substantial following — “mesmerism” became “the height of fashion” in late 1780s Paris, writes Marchant — Mesmer became the subject of what was essentially the world’s first clinical trial. King Louis XVI pulled together a team of the world’s top scientists, including Benjamin Franklin, who tested mesmerism and found its capacity to “cure” was, essentially, a placebo effect. “Not a shred of evidence exists for any fluid,” Franklin wrote. “The practice … is the art of increasing the imagination by degrees.”
Maybe so. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
More than 200 years later, research in neuroscience is confirming at least parts of Mesmer’s outlandish theory. No, there is not magnetic fluid coursing through our bodies. But the power of mere suggestion — of imagination, as Franklin phrased it — is a more effective treatment than many modern skeptics might expect, causing real, measurable changes in the body and brain. Hypnotism has been shown to be an effective treatment for psychological problems, like phobias and eating disorders, but the practice also helps people with physical problems, including pain — both acute and chronic — and some gastrointestinal diseases. Physicians and psychologists have observed this with their own eyes for decades; now, many of them say that brain-imaging studies (not to mention the deep respect people tend to have for all things prefixed by “neuro”) are helping them finally prove their point.
People who practice hypnotism in a clinical setting have long argued that the hypnotized patient enters an altered state of consciousness. Even if you’ve never undergone hypnotherapy, chances are you’ve experienced this state yourself. “It’s like getting so caught up in a good movie that you forget you’re watching a movie, and you enter the imagined world,” said Dr. David Spiegel, a psychiatrist and the medical director of Stanford University’s Center for Integrative Medicine.
In person, this looks strange enough. “There are a lot of ways to go into this state, but one way is to count to three,” Spiegel explains. “On one, you do one thing — look up. Two, two things — slowly close your eyes and take a deep breath. And three, three things — let the breath out, keep your eyes relaxed, and keep them closed. Let your body float. And then let one hand or the other float up in the air like a balloon.” When in this state, the hypnotized person’s hand will rise up into the air, as if on its own accord; Spiegel can reach over and gently pull the hand down, but it will float right back up again, as if it’s filled with helium.
In the brain, this state looks stranger still. A landmark study in the prestigious journal Science in the late 1990s, led by Pierre Rainville of the University of Montreal, described a study in which hypnotized people briefly placed their left hand in either painfully hot water, heated to 116 degrees Fahrenheit, or room-temperature water. Some of them had been told that they would be experiencing pain, but that they wouldn’t be very bothered by it — if, on a scale of one to ten, the hurt would normally register at an eight, they’d feel it as if it were a four. As all the participants placed their hands in the 116-degree water, their brains were scanned. The results were clear: Those who had been told that the pain would be less intense showed less activity in their brains — specifically, in the anterior cingulate cortex, which is associated with pain processing.
“That study changed the whole landscape,” said Dave Patterson, a psychologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, who has been using hypnosis since the 1980s to help burn victims withstand the intense pain that comes with the necessary but excruciating bandage removal and wound cleaning. Since the ’90s, other well-designed, controlled studies have been published showing similar changes in brain activity. In another slightly trippy example, researchers suggested to people in a hypnotic state that the vibrant primary colors found in paintings by Piet Mondrian were actually shades of gray. “Brain-scan results of these participants showed altered activity in fusiform regions involved in color processing,” notes psychologist Christian Jarrett.
“With hypnosis, you capture people’s attention. … You get people to turn to a more passive state of attention and to stop judging everything. To just let it happen,” Patterson said. “And when you do this, the amazing thing is that it’s as if you’re talking directly to the part of the brain that’s monitoring the reactions.” In his work, he ties suggestions of comfort to the daily practice of caring for burn wounds. “In burn care you know they’re going to pull off the bandages and then they’re going to start washing the wounds,” he explains. “The message is that when your wounds are washed, that will be the reminder of how comfortable you are.” The patient will often look like they’re asleep. “But if you ask them, ‘If you can still hear me, feel your head nod,’ almost always you’ll get that head nod,” he said. He’s seen this work for decades, but is so grateful for the recent advent of brain-imaging studies. They serve as evidence he can hold up to skeptics: See? Do you believe me now?
Not every person is hypnotizable to the same degree; some aren’t hypnotizable at all. “Hypnotizability … is modestly correlated with absorption, a personality construct reflecting a disposition to enter states of narrowed or expanded attention and a blurring of boundaries between oneself and the object of perception,” writes John F. Kihlstrom, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, in a 2013 paper in Cortex. “Absorption, in turn, is related to ‘openness to experience,’ one of the ‘Big Five” dimensions of personality.”
But the reason why this ever works, for anyone, is still not clear. Some researchers argue that hypnosis may help us tap into “the autonomic nervous system to influence physical systems that aren’t usually under voluntary control,” Marchant writes in her book. She points to Karen Olness, a retired pediatrician and former member of the NIH Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, who has worked with children who could, through hypnosis, increase the temperature of their fingertips “way beyond what would be achieved merely from relaxation.”
Olness thinks there must be something about the intense mental imagery that comes with a hypnotic state. One little boy she worked with told her he was imagining that he was touching the sun. Whether such visions activate different parts of the brain than those associated with rational thought is less clear. As Olness says, “We’re a long way from specifics on that.”
We have, however, come a long way from the days of Mesmer’s animal magnetism. The increasing interest in mindfulness meditation suggests that mainstream acceptance of the mind-body connection is growing. This year, two well-received books by serious science journalists, Marchant’s Cure, out in January, and Erik Vance’s Suggestible You, out this month, explore this territory — the demonstrable results of hypnosis, faith, and even magic — long dismissed as pseudoscience or explained away as the placebo effect. Just last month, NPR reported that placebo pills work even when people know they’re taking a placebo. “Those are real, biological changes underlying those differences in your symptoms,” Marchant told science of us earlier this year. It’s all in your mind. But that doesn’t mean it’s not real.
Excerpt from New York Magazine Nov 21 2016
'Tis the season to make a change and if you've had a hard time with will, then weight loss hypnosis could help with that. A New Year's resolution is common and it's also common for them to go by the waist-side by spring. Many rush to the gym and go on extreme diets with a new rush of New Year energy rather than focus on the underlying problem. It is nothing to be ashamed of and so many of us have it, it's procrastination vs willpower. If you're looking for hypnosis weight loss in Spokane, then let's go over some of the specific ways it can help you in a more direct way than jumping on some diet bandwagon.
Hypnosis and Weight Loss with Diet
Don't expect to just search for a quick fix. Instead, a Spokane hypnosis clinic may try to uncover why your eating habits are the way they are and move to rid you of that issue. Instead of focusing on making you "sick" when around sugary foods, a weight loss hypnosis professional may encourage more willpower to avoid overeating or direct you towards more healthy foods.
Using weight loss hypnosis to help with diet is a great tool in having the healthier 2019 you want and looking for professional weight loss hypnosis in Spokane can sometimes lead to those lacking the requisite experience. Look out for the fakes who promise that you'll lose 15 pounds in two sessions or some such nonsense. Weight loss hypnosis is a process and never a quick fix, it's an investment in your New Year’s resolution and making it stick.
Always be sure you check their credentials and track record when searching for weight loss hypnosis and see their reviews.
Hypnosis Helps Get You to the Gym
Don't think that weight loss hypnosis is only about dieting and avoiding overeating. The gym, yoga, or simply walking is an integral part of weight loss and hypnosis can help keep you on a good regimen. During your consultation with a weight loss hypnosis Spokane professional ask about help with sticking to a plan and with willpower.
Long term weight loss is more than food restriction, it's about wellness and being fit. Diet can only do so much, as anyone will tell you. So, take advantage of the great resources a weight loss hypnosis professional has and get assistance in your workout. This could change your session dramatically, becoming a more long-term plan to achieving your weight loss New Year's resolution.
When searching for a weight loss hypnosis professional in Spokane, be sure that this is their area of expertise. Behavior modification also counts, as that is essentially your goal. Some hypnosis professionals focus on specific kinds of behavior modification though, weight loss hypnosis and quitting smoking are among the most popular. But call and ask as they may just advertise something other than weight loss hypnosis as their biggest client base.
An Extra Bump to Willpower
Think of weight loss hypnosis as someone giving your willpower a boost and your dedication a better weapon in the resolution war. Hypnosis will help you focus on what deters you from success and help mold negative behaviors into more productive ones that can assist you in weight loss.
This is especially helpful for those who are emotional eaters and comfort cookers, people who use eating as a way to cope with a tough day. A weight loss hypnosis professional can focus on that behavior and mend it or help redirect it to a positive one. Helping to refocus you on food being an enjoyable fuel rather than something to cope with.
Weight Loss Hypnosis and 2019 Resolutions
Remember, don't think of weight loss hypnosis and "you're getting very sleepy...you will lose 10 pounds" nonsense. It's a conversation to find out why you have behaviors that prevent you from achieving your New Year's resolution and then overcoming them through hypnosis.
If losing steam in 3 months of going to the gym is the issue, then your weight loss hypnosis Spokane professional will focus on that. If it's a problem of willpower and emotional eating, then your weight loss hypnosis professional will discuss those triggers, and if it's a change in eating behaviors then that will be dealt with. There are plenty of reasons why you may find it difficult to stick to a resolution and weight loss hypnosis is a legitimate tool to help to finally achieve it as well as understand why.
So, make 2019 your year and begin searching for a weight loss hypnosis center in Spokane, WA. Make sure they're certified and explore reviews, as well posted recommendations. You don't want to end up missing out of another year of possible achievement, so don't waste money on a someone lacking skills. Find a weight loss hypnosis professional that can help get you where you want to be, which is into a happier and healthier 2019.
Finding a good hypnotherapist can seem like a difficult task as it isn't a profession that is promoted as well as it deserves to be in the media. Some clients who go don't admit to it and there are some deceptive hypnotists who promise instant results out there. While that may be a bit disconcerting, remember that hypnosis was approved by the America Medical Association in 1958 and prior to that people had been using clinical hypnotherapy for decades and there are many qualified hypnotherapist professionals that can help you.
Any kind of medical or therapeutic relationship requires you to vet the professional you're seeking help from. You wouldn't randomly stroll into the first doctor, psychologist, or dentist's office you see, right? Then you shouldn't for a hypnotherapist either. Not all professionals are made equal and even a great one may not have the background you need or be the best hypnotherapist for you.
So, if needing help kicking a smoking habit or with weight loss how do you find reputable hypnotherapy in Spokane? Let's cover some helpful tips that can spare you from random Google searches and help you to vet credible hypnosis centers in Spokane, WA.
State Registration is required by all Hypnotherapists in Washington State
Yes, hypnotherapists need to be registered and there are additional professional organizations that really help you discover who you are dealing with. You really want to keep an eye out for state registrations and other certifications. Make sure they are registered to practice hypnotherapy in Washington state and certified in the field of hypnosis, specifically. Professional organizations like the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) or American Council of Hypnotist Examiners (ACHE) would have rosters you could check, just look for hypnosis centers in Spokane, WA or hypnotherapists around Spokane. If looking for a specific treatment checkout their directories, as an example, stop smoking hypnosis listed in or near Spokane.
Another thing to consider is how much time the hypnotherapist has been in the field. You don't want to settle for someone who has only read and taken tests about using weight loss hypnosis, but someone who can bring years of experience to the treatment. You want to be sure that the hypnotherapist has experience relevant to whatever you're wanting to get through or overcome. When reading through the ASCH or ACHE directories, take a look at what the hypnotherapist specializes in and for how long, they'd be a better fit for your problem and would be a great shortcut in finding a good hypnotherapist in Spokane.
Avoid the inexperienced Spokane Hypnotist
A great way to root out phonies or hypnotherapists who just don't have a good skillset is to avoid those promising a quick fix like "1-week weight loss hypnosis". They're most likely over selling you and many websites will promote only the idea of single-session remedy. Remember change takes time and it’s best to look for those that offer longer term programs in addition to a single session.
Finding a good hypnotherapist in Spokane means finding a professional that is there to help identify the root of your habits rather than simply focus on the symptoms. Good hypnotherapists place emphasis on behavior change coaching to assist you in creating lasting change. But, also remember that hypnotherapy is not like traditional therapy nor is it a replacement for it, they're different professions. A good hypnotherapist asks your mind to help uncover the behavior patterns that support these non-productive habits. This approach frees us over time from the old stories that operate on a mostly subconscious level in support of this problematic behavior.
If you're concerned about finding hypnosis centers in Spokane, WA then ask a friend or your doctor for a referral. Professionals in all fields tend to network, so don't be afraid to ask for a recommendation. You may have cut out searching altogether with one question.
Hypnotherapy Consultations and Specialties
Alright, so you've combed the directories and think you found a good hypnotherapist in Spokane. They have the proper credentials, licenses and come recommended through ratings or referrals. Before settling in for treatment, get an in-person or phone consultation first. Any good hypnotherapist would be proud to share their experience and successes with you, it's a chance to show off their resume so-to-speak.
During the consultation take the opportunity to ask what behavior or problem they have the most experience treating successfully. No professional specializes in everything, ever notice the many kinds of therapists and medical doctors? A jack of all trades can only help a little bit in every area and if you're looking to mend a specific behavior then you want a hypnotherapist who has extensive knowledge as well as a background well-versed in your problem.
Listen to them when they answer you though. If they're giving you vague answers or claim to have been successful with every problem under the sun, then they're not being honest. No kind of therapy works every time and for everyone. Any good hypnotherapist or professional for that matter will be truthful regarding the limitations of their treatment, even recommending that you not go through with what they have to offer.
Fight for A Good Hypnotherapist
It's never easy looking for help with an issue, whether it's medical or behavioral, but it's important to shop around carefully. Hypnotherapy can be a great way to kick a smoking habit or an extra weapon in the fight for weight loss, even to move a phobia into nonexistence. Invest in yourself and choose a hypnotherapist who can work with you to solve the problem your facing. Don't expect a quick fix or settle for a sham-solution. You came here because you were wondering how to find a good hypnotherapist in Spokane, these three tips will help you avoid the frauds and pitfalls of your search.
How are you choosing to start your year? Are you hoping, it will be different from last year? Most people at least want this year to be better, they want to do something to improve their lives. Some join a gym or find a diet plan and that is a good start. What I am concerned with is the finish and most people never cross that line. It's not from lack of trying and I'll bet that you will agree with me on that. You are frustrated because you have tried and tried, in fact you even crossed that line a few times. Then you slowly fell back into your old routines and felt miserable for it. Do you know what the problem is?
You want Your Change to be for Life
You are not alone. The problem is goals, they are okay yet short sighted. They end up leaving you chasing your tail. It is not the goal that is most important it's the transformation that you go through on the way to it. When you glean the value of this process you discover how to navigate it. You become stronger, more self-confident, even more self-aware and these are resources that will serve you for life. You become an agent for change by living into a new story day by day with the support needed to finish strong.
Transcend Old Behavior Patterns with Spokane Hypnosis
We have mapped out this process for you into the four identifiable stages. We pinpoint markers and give you strategies to help you move through each stage. Becoming an agent for change, real change is a process and like anything worth having it takes time. You need the right support to transcend this type of behavior pattern. You need more than just support on a conscious level and this is where we excel. Our Intentional Hypnosis programs tackle this problem on both a conscious and subconscious level ensuring that your actions and intention remain aligned. We use individual hypnosis sessions combined with powerful personal coaching to help you push past your resistance and create the life that you desire and deserve.
About the Author
Behavior Change Coach and Author James Barfoot CHt holds certifications as a Master Practitioner of NLP and is a Clinical Hypnotherapist who is registered to practice in Washington State. He developed The Primal Toolbox a behavior change and coaching strategy based on a tribal models. James lives in Spokane WA.