Life Design


For a long time I thought I was happy with my job, I was doing what I’d set to do in joining the Royal Marines. I worked with like-minded people, got paid to stay exceptionally fit, got fed four times a day and was provided with a roof over my head. The trade-off was that I was expected to do what I was told do whether I liked it or not and, some of the things I was asked to do I really didn’t like. However I was still happy living my dream.

Or so I thought.

Continue reading Life Design

Hypnosis and Smoking Cessation


Stop Smoking

As Stoptober has now started, the NHS Stop Smoking campaign, I am posting my research findings regarding hypnosis as a tool for Smoking Cessation. he research papers covered a variety of session types and formats and the overall consensus is that hypnosis is a highly effective treatment method for smoking cessation.

I have seen may clients for smoking cessation and it has varied from one to six sessions and although there is an element of physical addiction, the physical aspect lasts for a maximum of 72 hours, after this any cravings are purely psychological and linked to a variety of associations and beliefs about the connection to smoking in those associated environments and situations.

core beliefs

I am registered with the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) and you can find my profile by clicking on the logo below.

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Study 1: Hypnosis for Smoking Most Effective Technique; Three Times More Effective than Nicotine Gum and Five Times More Effective than Willpower Alone
Smoking cessation A Meta-Analytic Comparison of the Effectiveness of Smoking Cessation Methods.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1387394
http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/apl/77/4/554/

Results: They found that among of all of the techniques used, hypnosis was the most effective. They found that a single session of hypnosis was three times more effective than the nicotine gum and five times more effective then willpower alone (willpower was 6%; nicotine gum was 10% and a single hypnosis session was 30%).

Notes: The Institute of Actuaries (in the US) commissioned the largest study ever done on smoking cessation. It statistically analysed the results of 633 smoking cessation studies involving 71,806 participants.

Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol 77(4), Aug 1992, 554-561
By: C. Viswesvaran, F. L. Schmidt, Department of Management and Organisations, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242

Study 2: Hypnosis and NLP to Quit Smoking
Freedom From Smoking: Integrating Hypnotic Methods and Rapid Smoking to Facilitate Smoking Cessation.
http://bscw.rediris.es/pub/bscw.cgi/d4584046/Barber-Freedom_from_smoking.pdf

Results: The researchers combined hypnosis with with NLP smoking cessation techniques and found that 39 subjects (90%) reported that they remained smoke-free 6 months after the treatment.. The 4 subjects that resumed smoking reported doing so in response to intolerable anxiety.

Notes: This study recruited 43 subjects who wished to quit smoking. The researchers combined hypnosis with with NLP smoking cessation techniques and found that 39 subjects (90%) reported that they remained smoke-free 6 months after the treatment. The following reasons are given for using hypnosis:

  • clarify and heighten patient’s awareness of his/her motivation to stop smoking
  • ego-strengthening to inspire new behaviour
  • ease the physical and mental effects of smoking withdrawal
  • encourage a general increase in daily activity
  • helping if smoking constitutes self-medication as a distraction from some unpleasant emotions.

Hypnotic suggestions were given that encourage the patient’s freedom to determine his/her behaviour rather than be compelled by smoking addiction. Also, just some of the hypnotic suggestions that were given:

  1. If you have any ambivalence at this time about stopping smoking, we will discuss it now and take the opportunity to meet any objections you might have to stopping smoking
  2. You are someone who used to smoke; there is no reason on earth that is sufficient to justify you ever picking up a cigarette again
  3. If your child or someone else you love has for some reason a really strong craving to eat poison, you wouldn’t let your child eat that poison, would you?
  4. You may be delighted by the creativity you may show in developing really interesting rationalisations to smoke, but you won’t take them seriously
  5. You may have a very brief, very peculiar, but interesting experience over the next several hours or days or even weeks – an image of looking back over your shoulder at the walls of a kind of prison that held you for some reason – a reason perhaps now forgotten – you are no longer a prisoner there. You may be able to hear or even feel the discomfort of other prisoners who are still there and you will feel compassion for them, but you also enjoy the clear air of your freedom
  6. You may be surprised at pride you feel having chosen to take care of yourself – to stand by what you know is right – and pride at having chosen to let this experience be calmer and more comfortable than you may have once expected
  7. You can enjoy the process of learning to live freely
  8. You no longer have to do something because someone else once convinced you that you must
  9. You can discover that any time you want to feel more comfortable, all you have to do is sit back in a chair or take a deep breath
  10. You can take comfort in knowing that if any feelings were bothering you, they no longer need to
  11. If you have cravings, that is natural – to miss the old habit – the difference now is that the craving will not be responded to in the old way – new responses will be discovered that will lead to more satisfying results
  12. Increased activity levels will be noticed – parking your car a little further away than usual and walking the extra distance – a renewed dedication to your favourite sport, etc
  13. This is not a short- term change – but for the rest of your life
  14. Increased fluid intake in response to any cravings – a pleasant full glass of water – you might be surprised how satisfying that can be

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2001 Jul;49(3):257-66
By: J. Baber, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington

Study 3: Smoking Cessation and Hypnosis: Three Sessions
Clinical Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation: Preliminary Results of a Three-Session Intervention.
http://bscw.rediris.es/pub/bscw.cgi/d4431440/Elkins-Clinical_hypnosis_smoking_cessation.pdf
http://www.belleruthnaparstek.com/smoking-cessation/clinical-hypnosis-for-smoking-cessation-preliminary-results-of-a-three-session-intervention.html

Results: At the end of the program 17 subjects (81%) reported that they had stopped smoking. A 12-month follow-up revealed that 10 of them (48%) remained smoke-free.

Notes: Twenty-one smokers who were referred to this study by their physicians for medical reasons, received three smoking cessation hypnosis sessions. All patients reported having failed in previous unassisted attempts to stop smoking. The clinical-treatment protocol included three sessions. The first session was the initial consultation and did not include a hypnotic induction. Sessions 2 and 3 involved individually adapted hypnotic suggestions and an individual therapeutic relationship with each patient. Each patient was also provided with a cassette tape recording of a hypnotic induction with direct suggestions for relaxation and a feeling of comfort. The patients were seen biweekly for treatment.

Hypnotic Suggestions: Absorption in relaxing imagery, a commitment to stop smoking, decreased craving for nicotine, posthypnotic suggestions, practice of self-hypnosis, and to visualise the positive benefits of smoking cessation. The induction was standardised, but the specific imagery for relaxation and the positive benefits for smoking cessation were individualised based upon the patient’s preference regarding such imagery. The suggestions may be summarised as follows:

1. Eye-focus induction. “Begin by focusing your attention on a spot on the wall. As you concentrate, begin to feel more relaxed. Concentrate intensely so that other things begin to fade into the background. As this occurs, noticing a relaxed and heavy feeling and allowing your eye-lids to close.”

2. Relaxation. “Noticing a ‘wave of relaxation” that begins at the top of your head and spreads across your forehead, face, neck, and shoulders. Every muscle and every fibre of your body is becoming more and more completely relaxed. More and more noticing a feeling of ‘letting go’ and becoming so deeply relaxed.”

3. Comfort. “. . . and as you become and remain more relaxed, finding a feeling of comfort. Feeling safe and secure. A peaceful feeling, calm and secure. Feeling so calm that nothing bothers or interferes with this feeling of comfort.”

4. Mental imagery for relaxation. “As you can hear my voice with a part of your mind, with another part going to a place where you feel safe and secure. A place where you become so deeply relaxed that you are able to respond to each suggestion just as you would like to, feeling everything you need to feel and to experience.” (Here individualised imagery is suggested, for example, suggestions for walking down a mountain path or along the beach, depending on the patients preference.)

5. Commitment for smoking cessation. “. . . and today becoming a nonsmoker, becoming free from nicotine and free from cigarettes. . . . You will not smoke cigarettes or use tobacco again. With each day that passes, your commitment to remain free from cigarettes will become stronger and each time you enter this relaxed state you will remember the reasons you want to stop smoking.” (Here individualised imagery is suggested consistent with the patient’s individual reasons for wanting to stop smoking, i.e., health, family, financial, etc.)

6. Dissociation from cravings. “As you enter an even deeper level of hypnosis, you may notice a floating sensation, less aware of your body, just floating in space. Your body floating in a feeling of comfort and your mind, just so aware of being in that pleasant place [individualised imagery for a pleasant place]. As your body floats, you will not be bothered by craving nicotine. Your mind blocks from conscious awareness any cravings and you can feel more detached from your body as you become more relaxed.”

7. Posthypnotic suggestions. “. . . and as you become and as you remain free from nicotine and free from cigarettes, you will find a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. You will find that, more and more, you are able to sleep very well, your sense of smell will improve, and your sense of taste will improve. You will not eat excessively and you will find an appropriate amount of food to be satisfying to you.”

8. Self-hypnosis. “Each time you practice self-hypnosis or listen to the tape recording that I will provide to you today, you will be able to enter a very deep state of relaxation, just as deep as you are today . . . and within this relaxed state, you will find a feeling of control. You will be able to become so deeply relaxed that you will become very comfortable, and you will be able to have a feeling of dissociation that keeps from conscious awareness any excessive craving for nicotine. Within this relaxed state, your commitment to remain free from cigarettes will become even stronger and you will find a kind of strength from your practice of self-hypnosis.”

9. Positive imagery for benefits of smoking cessation. “. . . now, seeing yourself in the future as a nonsmoker, free from nicotine and cigarettes. Notice all of the good things going on around you, how healthy you feel, and . . . [here, individualised imagery was introduced, depending on the patient’s perceived benefits from smoking cessation]. Seeing how well you are able to feel and you will not smoke, no matter if times become stressful or difficult. You will be able to remain calm and relaxed, both now and in the future.”

10. Alerting. “Returning to conscious alertness as a nonsmoker. Returning to conscious alertness in your own time and your own pace, in a way that just feels about right for you today. Feeling very good, normal, with good and normal sensations in every way as you return to full conscious alertness.”

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2004 , Jan;52(1):73-81
By: G. R. Elkins, M. H. Rajab, Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center

Study 4: Hypnosis to Quit Smoking for Medical Reasons
The Use of Hypnosis in Controlling Cigarette Smoking.
http://journals.lww.com/smajournalonline/Abstract/1968/09000/The_Use_of_Hypnosis_in_Controlling_Cigarette.23.aspx

Results: This early study (1968) found that the majority of people who want to quit smoking for medical reasons, were able to do so after having four hypnosis sessions.
Southern Medical Journal, 1968 Sep;61(9):999-1002
By: Crasilneck HB, (Ph.D.) , Hall JA. (Ph.D.)

Study 5: Hypnosis to Quit Smoking – One Session (Compared to Placebo and No Treatment)
Use of Single Session Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3369332

Results: When they were followed-up at 4, 12, 24 and 48 weeks, the researchers found that significantly more members of the hypnosis group had quit smoking than the other two groups. They also found that among those still smoking, those who were in the hypnosis group were smoking significantly less than those in the other two groups.

Notes: This study involved 60 participants who were randomly assigned to one of three groups: one that received a placebo, one that received a single hypnosis session and one that received no treatment.

Addictive Behaviours, 1988, Vol. 13(2):205-208
By: J. M. Williams, D. Hall, Dept. of Human Resources, University of Scranton, PA

Study 6: Hypnosis to Quit Smoking – Hospitalised Patients (Compared to Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Going “Cold Turkey”)
Hypnotherapy For Smoking Cessation Sees Strong Results
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071022124741.htm

Results: Hospitalised patients who smoke may be more likely to quit smoking through the use of hypnotherapy than patients using other smoking cessation methods. This study shows that smoking patients who participated in one hypnotherapy session were more likely to be nonsmokers at 6 months compared with patients using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) alone or patients who quit “cold turkey.”

Notes: This study compared the quit rates of 67 smoking patients hospitalised with a cardiopulmonary diagnosis. All patients were approached about smoking cessation and all included in the study were patients who expressed a desire to quit smoking. At discharge, patients were divided into four groups based on their preferred method of smoking cessation treatment: hypnotherapy (n=14), NRT (n=19), NRT and hypnotherapy (n=18), and a group of controls who preferred to quit “cold turkey” (n=16). All patients received self-help brochures. The control group received brief counselling, but other groups received intensive counselling, free supply of NRT and/or a free hypnotherapy session within 7 days of discharge, as well as follow up telephone calls at 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 26 weeks after discharge. Patients receiving hypnotherapy also were taught to do self-hypnosis and were given tapes to play at the end of the session.

At 26 weeks after discharge, 50 percent of patients treated with hypnotherapy alone were nonsmokers, compared with 50 percent in the NRT/hypnotherapy group, 25 percent in the control group, and 15.78 percent in the NRT group. Patients admitted with a cardiac diagnosis were more likely to quit smoking at 26 weeks (45.5 percent) than patients admitted with a pulmonary diagnosis (15.63 percent).

The researchers note that hospitalisation is an important opportunity to intervene among patients who smoke.

This study as presented at Chest 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071022124741.htm Oct. 24, 2007
By: Faysal Hasan, MD, FCCP, North Shore Medical Centre, Salem, MADr. Hasan and colleagues from North Shore Medical Centre and Massachusetts General Hospital

Study 7: Hypnosis and Smoking Cessation in the Workplace – Hypnotherapy Accompanying a Smoke-Free Work Policy
Reducing smoking at the workplace: implementing a smoking ban and hypnotherapy.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7670901?dopt=Abstract

Results: Fifteen percent of survey respondents quit and remained continuously abstinent. A survey to assess attitudes toward the policy was conducted 1 year after policy implementation (n = 1256; response rate = 64%). Satisfaction was especially high among those reporting high compliance with the policy. These results suggest that hypnotherapy may be an attractive alternative smoking cessation method, particularly when used in conjunction with a smoke-free worksite policy that offers added incentive for smokers to think about quitting.

Notes: This study examines the impact of a smoke-free policy and the effectiveness of an accompanying hypnotherapy smoking cessation program. Participants in the 90-minute smoking cessation seminar were surveyed 12 months after the program was implemented (n = 2642; response rate = 76%). Seventy-one percent of the smokers participated in the hypnotherapy program.

J Occup Environ Med. 1995 Apr;37(4):453-60
By: G. Sorensen, B. Beder, C. R. Prible, J. Pinney, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts

Study 8: Smoking and Suggestions Given During Anaesthesia for Surgery
Reducing smoking. The effect of suggestion during general anaesthesia on postoperative smoking habits.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2044.1994.tb03368.x/abstract

Results: In a double-blind randomised trial, 122 female smokers undergoing elective surgery were allocated to receive one of two prerecorded messages while fully anaesthetised. The active message was designed to encourage them to give up smoking whilst the control message was the same voice counting numbers. No patient could recall hearing the tape. Patients were asked about their postoperative smoking behaviour one month later. Significantly more of those who had received the active tape had stopped or reduced their smoking (p < 0.01). This would suggest a level of preconscious processing of information.

Anaesthesia. 1994 Feb;49(2):126-8
Comment in: Anaesthesia. 1994 Oct;49(10):917-8
By: J. A. Hughes, L. D. Sanders, J. A. Dunne, J. Tarpey, M. D. Vickers, Department of Anaesthesia, Morriston Hospital, Swansea, West Glamorgan

Study 9: Smoking and Hypnosis: Single Session with Self-Hypnosis
Predictors of smoking abstinence following a single session restructuring intervention with self hypnosis.
http://bscw.rediris.es/pub/bscw.cgi/d4465008/Spiegel-Predictors_smoking_abstinence_self_hypnosis.pdf

Results: Fifty-two percent of the study group achieved complete smoking abstinence 1 week after the intervention; 23% maintained their abstinence for 2 years. Hypnotisability and having been previously able to quit smoking for at least a month significantly predicted the initiation of abstinence. Hypnotisability and living with a significant other person predicted 2- year maintenance of treatment response.

Notes: A consecutive series of 226 smokers referred for the smoking cessation program were treated with a single-session habit restructuring intervention involving self-hypnosis. They were then followed up for 2 years. Total abstinence from smoking after the intervention was the criterion for successful outcome.

Am J Psychiatry. 1993 Jul;150(7):1090-7
By: D. Spiegel, E. J. Frischholz, J. L. Fleiss, H. Spiegel, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA

Study 10: Smoking and Hypnosis: Factors for Success – Patient’s Own Reason to Quit, Maintaining Contact with Patient, Self-Hypnosis
Smoking and hypnosis: A systematic clinical approach
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00207147008415930#preview

Results: 2 methods of helping cigarette smokers stop smoking were compared in treating a total of 181 patients. After 6 months, 60% of those treated with an active, personalised approach were not smoking. This approach emphasised: (a) the feedback, under hypnosis, of the patient’s own reasons for quitting, (b) maintaining contact with the patient by telephone, (c) use of meditation during hypnosis to obtain individualised motives, and (d) Sell-hypnosis. Only 25% of smokers were successfully treated by an earlier hypnotic procedure that did not systematically employ these features.

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Volume 18, Issue 4, 1970
By: William Nulanda, Morton Prince Clinic for Hypnotherapy and Peter B. Field, Veterans Administration Hospital, Brooklyn & Morton Prince Clinic for Hypnotherapy

Study 11: Smoking and Hypnosis: Which Suggestions Work
Hypnotic Treatment of Smoking.
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED240439&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED240439

Results: Results indicated that positive suggestions were more efficacious than negative. Treatment was most successful for subjects who did not see themselves as habitual smokers.

Notes: Prior studies of hypnotic treatment of smoking have reported abstinence rates of between 17 and 88 percent at six months, but few have investigated procedures or forms of suggestions. To compare the effectiveness of positive and negative hypnotic suggestions and self-hypnosis for cessation of smoking, 32 subjects were assigned to one of four treatment groups: (1) negative suggestions alone; (2) negative suggestions plus self-hypnosis; (3) positive suggestions alone; and (4) positive suggestions plus self-hypnosis. Subjects also completed a series of smoking history questionnaires; the Self-Efficacy for Smoking Avoidance Questionnaire, to assess expectations for smoking cessation; and the Horn-Waingrow Scale, used to delineate types of smokers. Treatment involved three 1-hour sessions, with those not abstinent at post-treatment or follow-up receiving three additional sessions. Outcome was assessed at post-treatment and 1, 2, 3, and 6 months following the final treatment session. Results indicated that positive suggestions were more efficacious than negative. Treatment was most successful for subjects who did not see themselves as habitual smokers. While ratings of self-efficacy at pre-test and following treatment were not predictive of later self-efficacy, subjects’ ratings at 1 month post-treatment were predictive of later self-efficacy ratings.

Summary of research presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (91st, Anaheim, CA, August 26-30, 1983)
By: Samuel A. Bastien, IV; Marc Kessler

Additional References:

NHS Stoptober Campaign

https://cnhcregister.org.uk/newsearch/index.cfm

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)


One of the most simple and easily learned techniques for relaxation is Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), a widely-used procedure today that was originally developed by Jacobson in 1939.

The PMR procedure teaches you to relax your muscles through a two-step process. First you deliberately apply tension to certain muscle groups, and then you stop the tension and turn your attention to noticing how the muscles relax as the tension flows away.

Through repetitive practice you quickly learn to recognise—and distinguish—the associated feelings of a tensed muscle and a completely relaxed muscle. With this simple knowledge, you can then induce physical muscular relaxation at the first signs of the tension that accompanies anxiety. And with physical relaxation comes mental calmness—in any situation.

Before practicing PMR, consult with your physician if you have a history of serious injuries, muscle spasms, or back problems, because the deliberate muscle tensing of the PMR procedure could exacerbate any of these pre-existing conditions.

If you continue with this procedure, you do so at your own risk.

There are two steps in the self-administered Progressive Muscle Relaxation procedure:

(a) deliberately tensing muscle groups

(b) releasing the induced tension

This two-step process will be described after you are introduced to the muscle groups.

After learning the full PMR procedure as follows, you will spend about 10 minutes a day maintaining your proficiency by practicing a shortened form of the procedure (given in the next section below). As you practice the short procedure, you will be simultaneously learning cue-controlled relaxation. Ultimately, you will acquire something that will probably become an indispensable part of your daily life, and the initial drudgery of practice will be long-forgotten.

Suggestions for Practice

It is recommended that you practice full PMR twice a day for about a week before moving on to the shortened form (below). Of course, the time needed to master the full PMR procedure varies from person to person.

Here are some suggestions for practice:

Always practice full PMR in a quiet place, alone, with no electronic distractions, not even background music
Remove your shoes and wear loose clothing
Avoid eating, smoking, or drinking. It’s best to practice before meals rather than after, for the sake of your digestive processes
Never practice after using any intoxicants
Sit in a comfortable chair if possible. You may practice lying down, but this increases the likelihood of falling asleep
If you fall asleep, give yourself credit for the work you did up to the point of sleep
If you practice in bed at night, plan on falling asleep before you complete your cycle. Therefore, consider a practice session at night, in bed, to be in addition to your basic practice
When you finish a session, relax with your eyes closed for a few seconds, and then get up slowly. (Orthostatic hypotension—a sudden drop in blood pressure due to standing up quickly—can cause you to faint.) Some people like to count backwards from 5 to 1, timed to slow, deep breathing, and then say, “Eyes open. Supremely calm. Fully alert.”

Muscle Groups

You will be working with most all the major muscle groups in your body, but for convenience you will make a systematic progression from your feet upwards. Here is the most popular recommended sequence:

Right foot
Right lower leg and foot
Entire right leg
Left foot
Left lower leg and foot
Entire left leg
Right hand
Right forearm and hand
Entire right arm
Left hand
Left forearm and hand
Entire left arm
Abdomen
Chest
Neck and shoulders
Face
Note. If you are left-handed, you might want to begin with your left foot, and so on.

Tension–Relaxation Procedure

Step One: Tension. The process of applying tension to a muscle is essentially the same regardless of which muscle group you are using. First, focus your mind on the muscle group; for example, your right hand. Then inhale and simply squeeze the muscles as hard as you can for about 8 seconds; in the example, this would involve making a tight fist with your hand.

Note. Beginners usually make the mistake of allowing muscles other than the intended group to tense as well; in the example, this would be tensing muscles in your right arm and shoulder, not just in your right hand. With practice you will learn to make very fine discriminations among muscles; for the moment just do the best you can.

It can be very frustrating for a beginner to try to experience a fine degree of muscle separation.

Because neglect of the body is an almost universal cultural attitude, it is usually very difficult to begin learning how to take responsibility for body “mechanics.” So take heart and realise that learning fine muscle distinction is in itself a major part of the overall PMR learning process. PMR isn’t just about tension and relaxation—it is also about muscle discernment.

But also relax a bit and realise that no part of the body is an isolated unit; the muscles of the hand, for example, do have connections in the forearm, so when you tense your hand there will always be some small tension occurring in the forearm. When PMR asks that the hand be tensed without tensing the arm, it is really speaking to the “clumsy” beginner who, out of total body ignorance, will unthinkingly tense everything in the whole arm.

So if you accept the fact that you are simply in the beginner phase—rather than perceive yourself as somehow inept—then you can have the patience to discern the fine muscles with practice.

It’s important to really feel the tension. Done properly, the tension procedure will cause the muscles to start to shake, and you will feel some pain.

Note. Be careful not to hurt yourself, as compared to feeling mild pain. Contracting the muscles in your feet and your back, especially, can cause serious problems if not done carefully; i.e., gently but deliberately.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation, stress management

Step Two: Releasing the Tension. This is the best part because it is actually pleasurable. After the 8 seconds, just quickly and suddenly let go. Let all the tightness and pain flow out of the muscles as you simultaneously exhale. In the example, this would be imagining tightness and pain flowing out of your hand through your fingertips as you exhale. Feel the muscles relax and become loose and limp, tension flowing away like water out of a faucet. Focus on and notice the difference between tension and relaxation.

Note. The point here is to really focus on the change that occurs as the tension is let go. Do this very deliberately, because you are trying to learn to make some very subtle distinctions between muscular tension and muscular relaxation.

Stay relaxed for about 15 seconds, and then repeat the tension-relaxation cycle. You’ll probably notice more sensations the second time.

The Full PMR Schedule

Once you understand the muscle groups and the tension-relaxation procedure, then you are ready to begin the full PMR training. Simply follow the list of muscle groups in the sequence given and work through your entire body. Practice twice a day for a week. Spend extra time, if necessary, until you can achieve a deep sense of physical relaxation; then you can move on to the Shortened PMR schedule.

The Shortened PMR Schedule

In the shortened form of PMR, you will (a) work with summary groups of muscles rather than individual muscle groups, and (b) begin to use cue-controlled relaxation.

The summary muscle groups. The four summary muscle groups are as follows:

Lower limbs
Abdomen and Chest
Arms, Shoulders, and Neck
Face
Instead of working with just one specific part of your body at a time, focus on the complete group. In Group 1, for example, focus on both legs and feet all at once.

Cue-controlled relaxation. Use the same tension-relaxation procedure as full PMR, but work with the summary groups of muscles. In addition, focus on your breathing during both tension and relaxation. Inhale slowly as you apply and hold the tension. Then, when you let the tension go and exhale, say a cue word to yourself (below). This will help you to associate the cue word with a state of relaxation, so that eventually the cue word alone will produce a relaxed state.

Many people find that cue-controlled relaxation does not have to depend on only one word; it may actually be more helpful in some situations to use a particular phrase. Some suggestions for cue words/phrases are:

Relax
Let it go
It’s OK
Stay calm
All things are passing
Trust in yourself

Summary

Initially, you should practice the shortened form of PMR under the same conditions as you practiced full PMR. After about a week of twice-daily practice you will then have enough proficiency to practice it under other conditions and with distractions. Or you might want to move on to the final process of Deep Muscle Relaxation.

Hypnosis Has Many Benefits That Can Help You Lose Fat and Keep It Off


Booklet Cover

Maintaining your optimal composition is very important for your overall health and well-being. Being overweight or obese can have detrimental effects on your physical health, mental health, and lifestyle. As important as losing fat is for your health, for some people it is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. The healthiest methods for losing excess fat involve natural methods such as diet and exercise. Research has shown that hypnosis is an effective tool to use in order to lose excess fat and continue to lose that fat and keep it off in the long-term.

Carrying extra pounds has a negative effect on your health and can to lead to life-threatening problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and diabetes. Losing excess fat can also help improve joint health, reduce your risk of getting certain kinds of cancer, and improve your ability to sleep (Life Clinic).

Many studies have been conducted to study the effect that hypnotherapy has on a person’s ability to lose excess fat and their ability to keep it off in the long-term. In 1998, a study involved 60 obese participants. The patients were randomly divided into one of three groups. One group received hypnosis that focused on stress reduction; another group received hypnosis that focused on energy intake reduction, and the third group received only dietary advice.

Researchers studied the percent of body weight lost at 7 different follow-ups from 1-month to 18-months after the treatment. At the 3-month follow-up, all participants in the three groups had lost 2-3% of their baseline body weight. However, at the 18-month follow-up, the group that had received hypnotherapy and stress reduction reported continued significant fat loss compared to no change in the other two groups. This study shows that when hypnotherapy is used in combination with stress relief suggestions, fat loss is significant in the long-term (Stradling, Roberts, Wilson, & Lovelock, 1998).

In a meta-analysis of two studies involving hypnotherapy and fat loss, Kirsch (1996) found a significant difference in amount of pounds lost comparing participants who received hypnosis and those who did not receive hypnosis. The initial follow-up showed the average fat loss to be 6.00 pounds in the non-hypnosis group and 11.83 pounds in the hypnosis group. The last follow-up conducted with the studies showed that the non-hypnosis group lost an average of 6.03 pounds and the hypnosis group lost an average of 14.88 pounds. This meta-analysis showed that use of hypnotherapy greatly increased amount of fat lost over time.

These studies show that hypnotherapy is a valid form of fat loss treatment and has lasting effects in the long-term. Hypnosis takes only a few sessions and has a long-term effect that helps patients continue to lose excess fat through addressing the psychological issues related to the excess fat gain. This is an effective and natural method of losing fat and keeping it off.

Sources

“benefits of losing weight.” Life Clinic Health Management Systems. Retrieved on July 6, 2009:http://www.lifeclinic.com/focus/nutrition/losing-weight.asp

Kirsch, I. (1996). Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments: Another meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64(3), 517-519.

Stradling, J., Roberts, D., Wilson, A., & Lovelock, F. (1998). Controlled trial of hypnotherapy for weight loss in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorder, 22(3), 278-281.

For information on my Hypnosis & Nutrition Weight Management Program using my Brain2Body System, drop me an email on simon@simonmaryan.com

Keys To Successful Fatloss Part 2: Self Perception


Harness The Power of Your Unconscious Mind


Brain
Human beings are different from the rest of the animals on our planets in so many ways, and, one significant difference is that we have, and kind of understand, the difference between our conscious and unconscious minds.

Your conscious mind helps you live a happy and healthy life. You really wouldn’t be able to survive without it. Sigmund Freud is famed for his use the idea of the iceberg to distinguish the conscious mind from the unconscious mind and it is one model that makes it very easy to explain.

freud Iceberg

The “tip” of the iceberg that extends above the water represents the conscious thinking mind. This part of your mind is the objective or thinking mind. It only holds one thought at a time. It also identifies information, and processes it through the senses or through sight, sound, smell, touch or taste.

This part of your mind is constantly observing, matching patterns and categorising what is going on around you. The unconscious mind, which is the part of the iceberg below the water, represents everything else – which is a hell of a lot.

Even though the conscious mind helps you as you go through your day, it can also hold you back by keeping you stuck in unhealthy patterns. Learning how to break through these limitations is critical when using self-hypnosis because the conscious mind can interfere with all your good work.

Preventing Conscious Interference

Just for example you decide to plant flowers in your garden. There are a several ways you can go about it. You could research different seeds and figure out the best ones to plant, and then even add some fertiliser into your soil if it’s lacking nutrients for the plants.

Now, let’s look at different approach you could take. After following all of the steps above, you chose to go out into the garden everyday and dig up the seeds to check on their progress. Every time you did this, you would reassure yourself that everything was going to plan. However, as you can see, your constant interference actually did more harm than good, because if you took this approach, your garden would never progress.

The same thing that happens when you overthink something. This is your conscious mind interfering. If you want your mental garden to thrive and prosper, you need to leave it alone so it has space and time to grow.

The same thing applies when using self-hypnosis. In a sense you are placing an order just like you would at a restaurant. If you ever worked for someone who micro-managed you, how much work actually gets done as a result of them constantly interrupting and sing for progress checks all the time, wanting to review what you’ve done and constantly adding to your workload because they want to make changes and add other things in. It’s a bloody nightmare, frustrating and a complete waste of time and effort.

When you give your mind an order and constantly worry about how the order will be fulfilled, you are in a sense doing the same thing, you’re micro-managing yourself. If you find yourself doing this, there are some steps you can take to counteract this…

1. Keep Your Conscious Mind Busy

When you do keep your conscious mind busy, it can’t interfere as much. What you need to do is find other things to get involved in, this way your conscious mind is focused elsewhere and not on the problem.

If you have time, go for a walk or get stuck into a different task; this allows you to let it go and allow the unconscious mind to work its magic.

2. Stay Focused and Engaged

It’s important to trust your unconscious, and yes I know that it can be frustrating “waiting” for the unconscious mind to work its magic. If you find yourself in this little cycle, and you decide to try a different approach before the first method has finished, you are actually disengaging from the process which keeps leading you further from your goal.

The key is to keep yourself engaged, without being too engaged.

3. Utilise Ancient Chinese Secrets

The Chinese philosophy Taoism is based on the idea of trusting your inner nature and letting your unconscious mind do its work. This approach allows the conscious mind to sit back and appreciate things, setting the scene and then letting events play out as they will.

I appreciate that this may be easier said than done at times, however, here are few tips to help explain this…

Act without acting
This is also known as doing without doing or “Wei Wu Wei”. This might be a tad confusing at first, because it may be hard to imagine doing something without really doing it. When you hand the responsibility over to your unconscious mind, you are trusting that it knows how to do its job.

Know without knowing
This is also known as “Pu.” In the Tao philosophy, there is a saying that goes:

“The Tao that can be named is not the true Tao.”

What this means is that if your intellect can grasp it, feel it away and put it into a neat and tidy box, then you have probably missed the entire point.

The Four Taoist Stages

The Pre-Hypnotic Suggestion
Hypnotic Questions
Emotional Streaming
The Big Drift
Pre-hypnotic suggestions: These generally involve positive affirmations, visualisations and self motivational talk. Affirmations are statements that emulate the state of mind or condition you want to be in, and they are always set in the present tense. Affirmations can be incredibly effective and they are easy to create and use.

Hypnotic questions: These are sometimes called afformations, are also a great way to keep the conscious mind busy. You can say statements like:

“How quickly am I mastering the power of self-hypnosis?”
“Why is it that I am such a master of self-hypnosis?”

These are simple to create and by saying them, it actually gives your mind something to answer.

Emotional streaming or Emo-streaming: This is similar to the principle of hypnotic questions, except it’s based on emotions and moods. For those who find themselves getting stuck on the content of the goal, emo-streaming works well.

For example, imagine yourself at a certain point in the future, say a year or so down the road. Take yourself there in your mind and ask yourself how you would be feeling having already achieved your goal. Avoid “thinking” and focus on “feeling” instead.

You can even imagine yourself going way beyond that goal, imagining how you feel having achieved that all-important milestone.

The Big Drift: This involves allowing your mind to become a casual observer, noticing the responses that are happening, without making any judgments. In other words, you’re just allowing things to happen in their own time and way.

Trusting in the process of the unconscious mind is what this is all about. The Big Drift allows you to create a space in your mind where new possibilities can appear.

7 stages of the Big Drift

Prepare yourself
Review resources
Review your purpose or problem
Review possibilities
Choose a behavior or action
Integrate everything
Get on with your life!
All of these techniques work through the process of distraction. In the Big Drift, you start by preparing yourself by raising your hands up infant of your face, palms facing you and looking at your hands as if they weren’t really your hands. In step two allow oner arm to lower automatically, while you review your life lessons.

Once your arm reaches your lap, you can then review your problem or purpose for self-hypnosis. Step four involves allowing your second arm to descend while you review the myriad of possibilities.

The next step involves you simply choosing for yourself a new behavioural pattern. Step six involves closing your eyes, if you haven’t already done so and integrating all of the steps together.

Step seven is all about learning how to “let go” and learning how to get on with your life. Focusing on something too intently only slows the process down; so there is no need to think too much about your issue once you finish your session.

In order to listen to your unconscious mind, you need to begin tuning into your intuition and paying attention to your gut feelings about whatever is bothering you. The messages of the unconscious can be subtle, but other times they may metaphorically slap you in the face.

When you use self-hypnosis you really have no idea how your unconscious mind will present the opportunity or change to you. Using these methods allows you to open up your mind to a host of new possibilities – possibilities that your conscious mind could never come up with!

A top tip is not to take self-hypnosis or yourself too seriously, it’s meant to be a fun process. You can take as many or as few of these tips as you want, because only you know what works for you and you will only really find out what works for you when you play around with them all and practice with these techniques. This will enable you to find the combination that works best for you. With your conscious mind out of the way – anything is possible!

You need your conscious mind to help you make important decisions throughout your day. Without it, you could not function. Always keep in mind though that your unconscious mind is vastly larger than your conscious thinking mind. Using the idea of the iceberg once again, you can clearly see that your unconscious mind plays a huge role in your life.

Programming your unconscious mind is easy, once you decide what you want to work on. The truth of the matter is that many problems you have can be solved using self-hypnosis because your unconscious mind is quite brilliant and it can help you achieve any goal.

The trick is getting your conscious mind out of the way and these techniques can help you do exactly that.

One Final Word

Obviously I am a firm believer in what we can achieve when we learn to access and harness the power of our unconscious minds. However, sometimes we need a little outside assistance because when we are the root of our own problem/s, it can be extremely difficult to solve it from inside our own minds. If this is the case for you, then I strongly recommend that you do your homework and find yourself a Hypnotherapist in your area that you feel comfortable working with and use their knowledge and experience to help you resolve your problem/s and make the changes you want and need to make.

Whatever path you choose, I wish you every success and much happiness.

Simon

References:

Adapted from a post by the Hypnosis Training Academy

Break Free from Smoking Using Hypnotherapy


Stop Smoking

This article is adapted from John Melton’s original post in 2005:

hypnosis.edu/articles/smoking/cessation

People are often skeptical about hypnosis and its ability to aid in smoking cessation. Because of my many years of experience helping people break free form smoking, I understand the skepticism. The purpose of this article is to help people understand the benefits of hypnosis as a smoking cessation aid.

First and most important is to understand that smoking is an addiction. Popular media has informed us about the obvious addictive potential of nicotine but not much is discussed about the psychological part of this addiction.

Cigarettes find their way into the very fabric of everyday life, becoming a part of so many activities. Habits are formed, creating associative relationships to things like food and alcohol or even driving a car. Smokers also learn to identify themselves with cigarettes, and after a while, it seems to become a part of them. You must understand that psychological cravings are just as real as chemical ones.

Perhaps most importantly cigarettes become for most people, part of a coping mechanism to try to deal with emotional pressures like stress and boredom. When a smoker becomes upset, he or she reaches for the cigarette to try and feel better. The truth is that cigarettes are a false friend that tries to control and injure you, it is an abusive relationship. There are much more positive ways to learn to calm and feel better without replacing smoking with food and putting on weight. You can learn how.

Recent publications tell us that our bodies eliminate the need for nicotine only a few days after we quit smoking. If it was purely a physical addiction, we would be done with smoking after a few days off the cigarette. But as most smokers know, the cravings usually continue when they try to quit cold turkey far after those first few days are over. This is because of the psychological needs that continue to drive the motivation to smoke through the many association stat develop over time.

This is where hypnosis helps. Hypnosis is an excellent tool for re-learning. By changing subconscious motivations to smoke you will change the habits and associations that drive much of this behaviour. You can also learn new coping skills so that the cigarette is not needed during stressful or emotional times. With these new attitudes and tools, getting through the first couple of days of the chemical addiction is usually much easier. Dealing with both the chemical and the psychological addiction is the real key to long term smoking cessation.

As you can imagine, with a smart plan and new tools and new attitudes about smoking, you can learn how to change the habits and healthfully deal with the emotional strains of a life free from cigarettes.

Hypnosis is not magic, it is a powerful tool. With professional help and understanding and if you really want to quit and are willing to put in some effort and invest in yourself, you really can quit smoking for life.

I have had great success with both my face to face and self help Break Free from Smoking programmes and there is more information on my Brain2Body Product page at the top and also details of sessions in the Hypno-Psychotherapy page.