There’s no such thing as a silly question – especially when it’s about your health and well-being. We know it’s important to have easy access to all the information you need, including the answers to all of your questions.
So, this week we’ve teamed up with BMI Healthcare to offer you a hypnotherapy Q&A!
BMI Healthcare is the UK’s largest private hospital group, with 59 hospitals and clinics throughout the UK. What we do is in our name, it expresses its commitment to providing high-quality healthcare, reiterating that there are two sides to healthcare; clinical expertise and caring support for the patient.
Serious about health. Passionate about care.
Can hypnotherapy help with health conditions?
Hypnosis can be used as a tool to access the subconscious and may help with breaking bad habits, identifying and removing phobias and reducing stress. It’s important to point out that clinical hypnosis is very different to, for example, stage hypnosis where this is used for entertainment
Hypnotherapy in healthcare uses a range of techniques to help you feel more relaxed and it may help in the following conditions.
Which conditions can be treated with hypnotherapy?
- Negative thoughts and ideas, such as low self-esteem and obsessive thoughts
- Phobias and fears
- Panic attacks and feelings of anxiety
- Unwanted habits
- Sleep disorders such as insomnia
- Performance – at work or in a sport
- Losing weight
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Quitting smoking
What do you experience during hypnosis?
Most people feel more relaxed during hypnosis, but the effects associated with hypnosis vary for everyone. It is common to experience the following effects:
- Becoming paler or more flushed
- Changing of breathing
- Flickering of eyelids
- Feeling heavy or light
- Feeling lethargic
- Rapid Eye Movement (REM)
- Tighter-feeling muscles
- Time distortion
Can anyone use hypnotherapy as a treatment?
It is strongly advised that you shouldn’t opt for hypnotherapy as a treatment if you suffer from mental health conditions such as psychosis or personality disorders.
People who consume recreational drugs, certain prescribed drugs such as antidepressants, or alcohol also wouldn’t be suitable for hypnotherapy as it’s important that patients are able to concentrate fully during the session.
Are there any risks associated with hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis is a gentle therapy and, like any treatment, you can expect it to affect everybody differently. However, we’d suggest discussing the possible risks with your hypnotherapists as they will be able to advise you according to your specific condition.
Although hypnotherapy is practised by specialists such as doctors and psychologists, there are non-professionals out there who also offer the treatment. For your benefit and safety, it’s important you take the time to research thoroughly before choosing a qualified hypnotherapist.
Dr Raymond Lancer, hypnotherapist at BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital has thirty years’ experience of using hypnotherapy in private medicine. Here, he answers commonly asked questions regarding hypnotherapy.
Are there any other conditions hypnotherapy may help with?
ln general, any condition that has a psychological component may be amenable to treatment by hypnotherapy, for example, skin conditions such as eczema, urticaria, pruritus and some mild forms of psoriasis. As well as this, it can also help treat some chest conditions, including asthma and shortness of breath due to anxiety. Sessions can also aid gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, excessive burping or other problems of gut motility.
Hypnotherapy may help with urogenital problems such as irritable bladder syndrome, premature ejaculation, sexual frigidity and subfertility.
How many sessions of hypnotherapy does a patient need on average?
The number of sessions varies from therapist to therapist, depending on the needs of each individual patient. However, in my opinion, four to six sessions should be adequate in most cases. I use the final session to teach the patient self-hypnosis, which is designed to encourage self-reliance and minimise therapist dependency.
What qualifications does a hypnotherapist in health need?
There is currently no single regulatory scheme for hypnotherapists and therefore people working in this field may include doctors, dentists, psychologists, nurses, social workers or lay people. There are moves afoot to produce more regulation for the benefit of patients and there are many good professional bodies that monitor their own members.
For myself, l am a registered medical practitioner listed with the General Medical Council. I belong to the British Society for Clinical and Academic Hypnosis (BSCAH) as well as the General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR), which is run by the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council.
To search for a hypnotherapist near you, use our Advanced Search tool.