May 17th, 2013
Celebrity hypnotist Paul McKenna has recently launched his most ambitious project to date: a therapy designed to heal the minds of those who have experienced severe trauma.
Going from Topshop in-store DJ to TV hypnotist, Paul McKenna has made an incredible transformation to become one of the world’s most recognised hypnotists. His new technique boasts impressive results – but will it work on James Moore, writer for the Independent?
Two years ago James very nearly lost his life when a tanker ran him over while cycling in London. The psychological trauma from this event was profound, not only from the accident but from the coma he was in for three weeks and subsequent hallucinations.
After five months of therapy, James continues to be haunted by the memories, especially at night. McKenna became an advocate of the Havening technique after it helped him get over a particularly hard break-up. The hypnotist and the creator of the technique (Dr Ron Ruden) are looking for the credibility academic verification Havening would bring by submitting research for peer review.
In a nutshell, the technique is performed like this:
You think of a traumatic memory, visualizing it clearly and then rate its intensity. You then close your eyes and tap your fingers on your collarbone. Now you open your eyes, clear your mind and think of something more pleasant. After this you follow the hypnotist’s finger which moves rapidly from side to side.
Then, you relax as he/she rubs the top of your arms while you imagine tapping a keyboard while counting from one to 20. Now you hum a few bars of a well know tune (such as happy birthday) and close your eyes while the therapist rubs your arms again. Then you rate your trauma’s impact before the processed is repeated.
The general aim is to separate the thought from the feeling; Havening endeavours to change the chemistry of the brain to reduce ‘over-signalling’ caused by uncomfortable emotions.
So did it work for James?
“Up to a point. Some of the more traumatic memories, which I thought had been addressed by therapy but which have been leaking back in, are again in abeyance … all the same, I’m sleeping better, I’m a shade more relaxed and, interestingly, I feel more confident driving. So while I’d say the jury is out, and I’m sceptical of the 90 per cent success rate claimed given that it was only partially successful with me, I’m not quite ready to stand with McKenna’s critics.”
If you want to know what other subjects hypnotherapy could help with, please see our Hypnotherapy Areas page.
View and comment on the original Independent article.
May 15th, 2013
Experts are split over whether or not food addiction could be a big part of the rising obesity problem across the globe. Is overeating really an addiction? And if so, how can we treat it?
Managing an addiction can be very difficult, as anyone who has ever battled with smoking, alcohol, or caffeine will agree.
One method is to simply go cold turkey – to cut out the thing you’re addicted to completely. But what if the thing you are addicted to is key to your survival?
As obesity levels reach worrying proportions, the scientific community is starting to look for connections between overeating and addiction.
The EU has even launched a project called NeuroFAST to collate evidence that there is a link between the two.
There is currently only one eating disorder where addiction may play a role, and that is binge eating disorder.
Binge eating disorder can be a distressing and even life threatening psychological disorder. One former overeater, an articulate professional named Michael, said:
“It’s difficult for others to understand. Everyone overeats and they think it’s just a bigger version of that. It’s a completely different experience – a constant, daily minute-to-minute obsession about getting the substance, food. It is hell being there in that place.”
Overeaters tend to use food to fill an emotional ‘hole’. They find comfort in the obtaining and eating of food. However, the process comes with side-effects of shame, low self-esteem and of course weight gain and all the physical problems known to stem from that (diabetes, heart disease, stroke etc.).
But the question is: is binge eating disorder really an addiction to food?
Dr. Nora Volkow, neuroscientist and head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States, is certain that there are biological processes characteristic of addiction underpinning binge eating disorder.
In her studies, Dr. Volkow found that dopamine, the neurotransmitter involved in addiction, behaves in the same way in people who overeat as it does in alcohol and drug addicts.
Do you have a propensity to overeat? To find out more about the food addiction debate and to learn how hypnotherapy can be used to help, please visit our Food Addiction page.
View and comment on the original BBC News article.
May 10th, 2013
Learn how to enjoy alcohol without putting your health at risk by monitoring your intake and knowing when enough is enough.
For many adults socialising is often accompanied by alcohol – going for a quick beer with a friend to catch up, boozy lunches at work and flowing wine at dinner parties are all scenes we recognise. Most people do not drink with the intention of harming themselves (or others), but even this kind of social drinking can damage your health – especially if you have trouble knowing when to stop.
The truth is, because alcohol is legal many of us don’t believe it can do any real damage if enjoyed recreationally. But you do not have to be addicted to alcohol for it to have a severe impact on your health. By learning to drink in moderation and knowing when to stop, you can enjoy socialising without abusing the substance.
Create a plan for cutting back
If you think you could benefit from cutting back on alcohol, the following tips could help:
- Monitor your intake – often we do not keep track of what we’re drinking on a night out, but by simply keeping note of what we’re consuming and sticking to a previously determined amount can help you to be more aware.
- Enlist your friends and family – sometimes certain social circles encourage excessive drinking, be sure to tell your friends and family about your plan to cut down and ask for their support. Any true friends will be happy you are looking after your health.
- Stay hydrated – alternate your alcohol with water to keep yourself hydrated and be sure to eat a good meal before heading out (drinking on an empty stomach can lead to quicker alcohol absorption).
- Focus on the perks of not drinking – whether it’s not feeling hungover, losing weight, having more energy or even just getting better quality sleep – make sure you write down all the benefits you’ll get to enjoy by drinking less and post it somewhere you can look at daily. This will serve as a helpful reminder to keep you on track.
If you think your alcohol consumption is becoming a problem, it may help you to see a hypnotherapist who can help you break habits and change your attitude to alcohol. For more information, please see our Alcohol Abuse page.
View and comment on the original Greatist article.
May 8th, 2013
Hypnotherapy Directory – the online database for those in search of a professional hypnotherapist – is encouraging individuals plighted by insomnia and chronic insomnia to trade in their sleeping tablets in favour of this side effect free and natural complementary therapy.
Chronic insomnia, as anyone who suffers from it will be well aware, is not ideal, but is surprisingly common. Insomnia (Latin for ‘no sleep’) is a condition that renders individuals unable to fall asleep or stay asleep, with the term ‘chronic insomnia’ being used to describe symptoms that have persisted for three weeks or more.
According to the British Sleep Council, the number of Brits who only manage to get between five and six hours of sleep per night has increased dramatically over the past three years, with a staggering 40% not getting the NHS recommended six to nine hours . But just why is sleep so important?
The Science of Sleep
The average human spends a third of their lives doing it, Napoleon and Florence Nightingale survived on not very much of it (four hours per night) and Thomas Edison declared it ‘a waste of time’ . Everyone has a different perspective on sleep – to some it is a luxury to others an inconvenience. Some need very little of it, others need a lot and some can’t seem to get much of it at all. Whichever category individuals might fall into however, sleep is a biological requirement without which a human cannot function.
Whilst scientists still remain baffled as to why sleeping is so essential, what they do know for certain is that a lack of it is extremely detrimental to brain performance. Read the rest of this entry »
May 8th, 2013
Around 50% of adults in the UK suffer from phobias, according to a new survey by TV channel ITV.
One third said they were scared of heights, one in seven were afraid of flying and one in ten couldn’t bear to be around spiders.
One tenth of the 2,000 people surveyed said their phobia affected their relationships, while 7% said their fears had even cost them a job, suggesting that having a phobia can seriously change your life and impose damaging limits.
The findings were revealed on the ITV programme This Morning, which ran a ‘Phobia Week’ last week.
The slot featured an appearance from ‘celebrity’ life coaches Nik and Eva Speakman, who previously featured on a Channel 4 documentary about Kerry Katona’s struggle with cocaine addiction and the break-up of her marriage.
“Many people feel isolated and embarrassed by a phobia,” they told the Sun newspaper. “Many people therefore hide their fear, and adapt their lives to accommodate a phobia.”
The life coaches believe that people can change, no matter how deeply those fears are embedded and how long they’ve struggled with them. They have allegedly helped Atomic Kitten singers Kerry Katona and Liz McClarnon, as well as Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh and transsexual Big Brother winner Nadia Almada with their issues.
Nik told journalists he hoped the phobia series on ITV would help viewers take steps to overcome their own fears.
Hypnotherapy is thought to be an extremely effective method for fighting phobias. Using relaxation and linguistic techniques, a hypnotherapist will speak directly to the unconscious to alter thought patterns and tackle the phobia from the root.
To find out more and to contact a hypnotherapist, please visit our Phobias page.
View and comment on the original Ibtimes article.
May 3rd, 2013
Stress affects almost all of us at some point in our lives and trying to overcome it can be a constant battle. One of the more overlooked treatments for stress is hypnosis and, more specifically, self-hypnosis – here we’ll discuss how to use it to help reduce stress levels.
Hypnotherapy takes the mind into a deep state of relaxation and opens it up to suggestions that would otherwise be rejected by the critical mind. A qualified hypnotherapist can guide you during this process and help to tackle a range of issues, including stress.
After a professional session many people benefit from exploring self-hypnosis to help keep stress at bay. A typical self-hypnosis session lasts 15-25 minutes, but it can be as long or short as you like.
How to use self-hypnosis
1. Find your space - if you can, try to find a dedicated spot to practice self-hypnosis – the more relaxing, the better. Aim for somewhere comfortable, quiet and away from distractions.
2. Relax – now it’s time to relax yourself completely. Take some deep breaths and with every exhalation imagine your body and mind letting go of any tension or stress.
3. Visualise – a very common visualisation for self-hypnosis is to imagine you are at the top of some stairs and with every exhalation, you walk down one step. When you reach the ‘bottom’ visualise yourself in your favourite relaxation spot (real or imaginary) and take some time to explore your haven. Call upon all of your senses – smell the flowers, feel the sand beneath your toes, hear the waterfall – whatever you can do to make the experience feel more real. When you are ready to leave, walk up the stairs, feeling more energised with every step.
Sometimes the simple act of taking some time to escape into your own personal haven from the world can help to reduce stress levels.
For more information on hypnotherapy and the issues it can help with, please see our Hypnotherapy Areas page.
View and comment on the original Inspiyr article.
May 1st, 2013
We’re constantly told that exercise is good for our physical and emotional well-being, but even people who love exercise can suffer from their habits.
Now more and more exercise lovers are turning to sports hypnotherapy to think more positively about physical activity so they can boost their athletic performance without suffering from burn out.
We know obesity levels are rising and that people are leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles – but what about those of us on the other end of the scale? Sitting down for long periods of time may be unhealthy, but excessive training on an empty tank can do its own form of damage on the body and mind.
One cognitive sports hypnotherapist Hazel Gale has her own memories of letting exercise dominate her life: “I confused winning with being loved at an early age, resulting in the core belief of ‘I can’t lose’, so I burnt out,” she says.
It was a desire to overcome her obsession that led Hazel to study hypnotherapy. Now as a practicing hypnotherapist specialising in sports, Hazel believes the root of sports issues like this can be found within a ‘limiting core belief’ developed during childhood. The propensity to do too much is fuelled, she says, by an underlying anxiety. Some people use sports or exercise to measure their self worth. If they miss a training session, or don’t do as well as expected, they become consumed by guilt and inadequacy – ultimately taking away their initial enjoyment of exercise.
Hazel uses hypnotherapy techniques to address her clients’ unconscious minds and reframe the negative thoughts preventing them from enjoying exercise. Clients are then asked to listen to a recording of the session every day for the next week to reinforce those new positive messages.
One client, London-based triathlete Christy McKee said she was able to overcome the critical voice in her head and reclaim her initial love for sports by learning to think positively about her endeavours, which has helped her to achieve great things over the last few months.
To find out more about what hypnotherapy is and how it can help you, please visit our Hypnotherapy Topics page.
View and comment on the original Metro article.
April 26th, 2013
Mind techniques may offer some relief for those suffering with chronic pain.
Pain is often thought of as the brain’s way of telling us something isn’t right, using the sensation of pain as a message. While this is true in most cases, scientists have discovered that with chronic pain, it may be the message that is the problem.
One way to view chronic pain is to think of a fire alarm going off, telling you your kitchen is on fire. Imagine that you have put out the fire, but the alarm continues to ring. This is what happens with chronic pain, even though the injury (fire) has been eliminated, the pain (alarm) continues.
It has been well documented that our minds have a stronger capability than we know, so the following mind techniques may be able to help sufferers think the pain away.
The act of meditation looks to focus your attention on one thing (not the pain), which should help to distract your mind from the pain message. Another approach the practice has is called ‘open presence’ which involves focusing on nothing at all and letting any feelings or thoughts pass you by with a sense of detachment.
If meditation isn’t your thing, you can still employ the distraction element. Taking up a new hobby such as piano or painting can help you immerse yourself into something other than the pain; this should give your mind enough power to negate the pain messages.
A study carried out in 2009 saw how the expectation of pleasure could actually reduce pain. In the study two groups of rats were fed on a metal plate kept at room temperature.
The first group was given regular rat food and the second was given chocolate-covered biscuits. After the rats were conditioned to the foods, the scientists began heating the metal plate to uncomfortable temperatures. The rats expecting chocolate biscuits were willing to stay on the heated plate twice as long as the rats expecting regular food. Book yourself a massage or holiday and mentally expect pleasure to help ease the pain.
Seeing positive images can completely change the way our bodies respond to pain. An example of this can be seen in a Seattle hospital burn unit where a video called ‘snow world’ is used to help burn victims deal with the pain of getting their dressings changed. The video depicts scenes of snow, ice and cold weather, which have been shown to help diminish pain.
Where we direct our attention has the potential to be very powerful when it comes to pain relief, it is just a case of knowing where and how to direct this attention. Hypnotherapists can help you guide your attention and help to change the way you perceive pain. For more information, please see our Pain Management page.
View and comment on the original Express article.
April 24th, 2013
TV chef Nigella Lawson has attributed her recent two stone weight loss to a hypnotherapist who taught her portion control.
Considering this is the woman who invented a macaroni cheese sauce made solely of (according to the recipe description) a ‘huge amount of cheese’ bound with egg, it’s no wonder the buxom beauty has struggled to keep her figure over the years.
‘Guinness Chocolate Cake’, ‘Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies’ and ‘Caramel Croissant Pudding’ are just some of her most famous recipes, giving some insight into the 53-year-old’s eating habits.
One source told tabloids: “She will never compromise on epicurean delight for the sake of her waistline and isn’t the kind of woman to survive on rice cakes and cottage cheese. But she wanted to lose a few pounds, and decided hypnotherapy would mean she could still eat her favourite foods – but in smaller sizes.”
Despite her love for pleasure, Ms Lawson has managed to go from a size 16 to a size 12 in just 14 months – tweeting about pilates sessions and portion control along the way. The star is also thought to have hired a personal trainer to help her get fit and burn more calories – happily leaving room for more food.
Hypnotherapy does not necessarily change people’s tastes or preferences. Not all clients finish their sessions craving only wheatgrass smoothies and raw carrots. Like Nigella, some clients opt for hypnotherapy to learn self-control, which allows them to enjoy their favourite foods without the pesky side-effect of weight gain.
To find out more, please visit our Weight Loss page.
View and comment on the original Daily Mail article.
April 19th, 2013
A resent study suggests that listening to music while we sleep could improve our quality of sleep and even boost our memory.
As many of us know, when it comes to sleep it is the quality of sleep that really matters. Researchers have looked into improving our quality of sleep and have discovered that by syncing sounds to the rhythm of our brain’s slow oscillations, they can be enhanced for better quality of sleep and improved memory.
These slow oscillations in brain activity are known to be critical in our ability to retain memories. This means that when we enhance them, we will also enhance our capacity for memories.
Listening to music or sounds that have been synchronised to the rhythm of these oscillations can increase the amplitude of the oscillations by increasing the amount of slow-wave sleep we get.
The study in question was carried out on 11 people to see how listening to music affected the brains ability to remember. Participants were better able to remember word associations they had learned the previous evening after falling asleep listening to music synched with their slow-wave oscillations.
Interestingly, the study also revealed that listening to music not synched in any way to the brains activity had no effect on memory – proving that in order for this method to be effective, the music must be in synch with slow brain oscillations.
Dr Jan Born, co-author of the study from the University of Tübingen in Germany says:
“The beauty lies in the simplicity of applying auditory stimulation at low intensities. This approach is both practical and ethical if compared, for example, with electrical stimulation. Therefore, it portrays a straightforward tool for clinical settings to enhance sleep rhythms.”
The researchers believe this technique could also be used to enhance other brain rhythms to improve other functions, for example rhythms involved in our ability to focus and pay attention.
If you are struggling to get good quality sleep, seeing a hypnotherapist could help. For more information please see our Insomnia page.
View and comment on the original Daily Mail article.