Gastric band hypnotherapy
Gastric band hypnotherapy is a technique used to suggest to the subconscious that you've had a gastric band fitted around your stomach, to help you lose weight.
Considered a last resort, gastric band surgery involves fitting a band around the upper part of the stomach. This limits the amount of food you can physically eat, encouraging weight loss. It's a surgical procedure and therefore comes with potential risks and complications.
Gastric band hypnotherapy or having a ‘virtual gastric band’ fitted doesn’t require surgery. It is a technique used by hypnotherapists to get the subconscious to believe there's been a gastric band fitted. The aim is that on an unconscious level, you will believe that you've had the physical procedure and that your stomach has reduced in size.
The process doesn’t involve surgery or medication and is completely safe. On this page we will explore what gastric band hypnotherapy involves, how it works and whether or not it could work for you.
What is a gastric band?
A gastric band is an adjustable silicone device used in weight loss surgery. The band is placed around the upper section of the stomach to create a small pouch above the device. This restricts the amount of food that can be stored in the stomach, making it difficult to eat large amounts.
The aim of a gastric band is to restrict the amount of food a person can physically eat, causing them to feel full after eating very little to encourage weight loss. For most people who have this surgery, it is a last resort after trying other methods of weight loss. Like any surgery, fitting a gastric band comes with risks.
There have also been cases of unpleasant side-effects and complications. Some patients will suffer nausea and regurgitation. Those who do not adjust well to the band may need further surgery to adjust or remove it. Some people may think this type of surgery is a ‘quick-fix’, but patients need to meet a certain criteria, be healthy enough to undertake surgery and be committed to long-term weight loss. This means committing to changing their lifestyle and attending regular follow-ups.
Undertaking surgery is a big step for anyone and one that considers a great deal of thought. Most people will look to other options before going down this route; this is where gastric band hypnotherapy comes in.
Gastric band hypnosis
Gastric band hypnosis can be used to help people lose weight, without the risks that come with surgery. Many hypnotherapists use a two-pronged approach. First they look to identify the root cause of your emotional eating.
Using hypnosis, the therapist can encourage you to remember long-forgotten experiences surrounding food that may be subconsciously affecting you now. Addressing and recognising any unhealthy thought patterns surrounding food can be helpful before carrying out gastric band hypnotherapy.
Next the hypnotherapist will carry out the virtual gastric band treatment. The procedure is designed to suggest, at a subconscious level, that you have had an operation to insert a gastric band. The aim is for your body to respond to this suggestion by making you feel fuller quicker, as if you had the real surgery.
Hypnotherapist Becca Teers explains why diets don't work for weight loss:
"Diets don’t tend to deal with the permanent lifestyle changes required, such as a sustainable long-term change in our eating habits and attitude to food. Many diet plans are temporary and can be difficult to maintain on an on-going basis, often because they are too restrictive or they totally deprive us of our favourite foods.
These regimes can be adhered to short-term but don’t work so well in the long run. By causing us to count calories or consciously measure portion size or even totally omit types of foods, many diets can make us more obsessed with food and our eating. This can take the pleasure out of eating and can lead us to crave more of certain foods and a diet-overeat/binge cycle can start."
Read more in her virtual gastric band article.
How gastric band hypnosis works
Using relaxation techniques a hypnotherapist will put you into a state of hypnosis. In this relaxed state, your subconscious is more open to suggestion. At this point hypnotherapists make suggestions to your subconscious. With gastric band hypnotherapy, this suggestion is that you’ve had a physical band fitted.
The mind is powerful, so if you’re subconscious accepts these suggestions, your behaviour will change accordingly. Usually, along with the ‘fitting’ of the virtual gastric band, suggestions surrounding confidence and behaviour will be made to help you commit to this change in lifestyle.
Many therapists will also teach self-hypnosis techniques so you can enhance the work you’ve done following the session. Educating yourself on nutrition and exercise is often advised as well, to promote physical health and well-being.
Your first meeting with the hypnotherapist will likely be an initial consultation where you discuss what you hope to gain from hypnotherapy. This is an opportunity to talk about any previous weight loss attempts, your eating habits, any health issues and your general attitude towards food. This information will give the therapist a clearer idea of what will help and whether or not any other forms of treatment should be considered.
Note: if you have any health problems relating to your weight, it’s important to seek advice from your doctor.
The procedure itself is designed to mimic gastric band surgery, to help your subconscious believe it has really happened. To make the experience more authentic, many hypnotherapists will incorporate the sounds and smells of an operating theatre. Your therapist will begin by taking you into a deeply relaxed state, also known as hypnosis. You will be aware of what is happening and will be in control at all times.
Once you are in a hypnotic state, the therapist will talk you through the operation. They will explain step by step what happens in surgery, from being put under the anaesthetic, to making the first incision, fitting the band itself and stitching up the cut. Sounds and smells of an operating theatre will enhance the experience, to persuade your subconscious that what’s being said is really happening to you.
As previously mentioned, other suggestions may be incorporated during the procedure to increase self-confidence. Once the procedure is complete, your hypnotherapist may teach you some self-hypnosis techniques to help you stay on track at home.
Some hypnotherapists will request that you return for follow-up appointments to monitor the virtual band’s success and to make any adjustments. This happens when people get the physical band fitted too. For some it can be helpful to continue hypnotherapy sessions as part of a long-term weight management plan. This allows the hypnotherapist to work with you to address underlying issues surrounding food and self-esteem.
Gastric band hypnosis should form part of a weight management programme that addresses nutrition and exercise habits. It is the combination of changing habits in both body and mind that is often most successful for those seeking weight loss.
How will I feel after?
The overall aim of gastric band hypnosis is to curb your appetite and encourage a healthier relationship with food. When your subconscious believes you have had a gastric band fitted, it will believe your stomach is smaller. This in turn makes your brain send out messages that you are full after consuming less food.
For those who overeat, recognising when you’re physically full can be difficult. Sometimes we eat purely for the taste (or comfort), ignoring whether or not we are physically hungry. Learning to recognise the physical sensations of being hungry and being full is helpful for cultivating healthy eating habits.
Unlike gastric band surgery, the virtual gastric band does not have any physical side-effects. For some, the real surgery can cause nausea, vomiting and acid reflux. As gastric band hypnosis isn’t a physical process, it won’t cause symptoms like this.
The procedure should be a pleasant and relaxing experience, with most people reporting a feeling of calm when they come out of hypnosis.
Will it work for me?
A common question for those trying hypnotherapy for the first time is - will it work for me? Unfortunately it isn’t a simple case of yes or no; it is largely up to you. Hypnotherapy helps people with a range of concerns, but is particularly useful when it comes to changing habits. For this reason, it is often successful in helping people develop healthy eating habits and lose weight. However, just like any other weight loss system, it will require your total commitment.
You are more likely to get what you want from gastric band hypnotherapy if you believe in the process and your therapist. Being comfortable and trusting your hypnotherapist is essential. This is why it is advised that you take time to research hypnotherapists in your area and find out more about them, how they work and what their qualifications entail. You can arrange to meet with them before the procedure to ensure you feel comfortable with them.
If you are committed to making a lifestyle change, believe in the procedure and trust your hypnotherapist, gastric band hypnosis should work for you.
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