Hypnotherapy and the Immune System

“In fact, the brain and the nervous system weave into all the tissues of the body and affect them in very important ways. And because of the two way street that connects the mind and psychology with physiology and biology, the mind itself can affect the body in many powerful ways.”

One neat way to personally experience this amazing mind-body connection is with a method first used in hypnosis called Chevruel’s pendulum. If you’d like to give it a try, tie a small, lightly weighted object (like a metal nut or bolt) to a thread about 12 inches long. Then hold the tip of the thread between your index finger and thumb so the object hangs straight down. Next, place the elbow of your arm holding the thread on a surface like a table top while sitting so the object hangs about ¼ inch above the surface. Sit up straight and let your fingers holding thread hover about 6 inches in front of your nose…”

This is an an excerpt from an excellent article published in Psychology Today by Clifford Lazarus PhD, the Director of the Lazarus Institute, that describes a simple experiment you can do at home to show how the mind directly influences the body.

It goes on to explain how visualisation can boost the immune system 

It’s well worth a read and you can find the entire article here.

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Foods that Harm our Health

Here is a very good article that explains in a way that you don’t need to be a chemist to understand, the link between certain foods and cancer risk.

What I found really disturbing is how food manufacturers use tricks to enable them to poison us without our knowing about it.

Well worth a read.

If you’d like to consume less of these foods, but you’re finding it a struggle, hypnotherapy can really help.

You see, much of what and how we eat is a matter of habit. Often these habits have become deeply ingrained in our subconscious over our entire lifetimes. They’re not easy to change.

Hypnotherapy is on of the most effective ways known to achieve lasting changes to habitual behaviour.

And best of all, it’s side effect free.

If you’d like to know more, you can contact me HERE. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, and there’s no obligation.

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We can begin identifying cancer-causing foods once we recognize which ingredients in our food cause cancer. Some of these ingredients are food additives and chemicals used to enhance taste, while others are used strictly for appearance or to increase product shelf life.

Cancer tumors develop, in part, by feeding on sugar in the bloodstream. If you eat lots of sugary snacks loaded with simple carbs, you’re loading your bloodstream with the chemical energy needed for cancer cells (and tumors) to proliferate. No biological system can live without fuel for its chemical processes, including cancer cells. Thus, one of the strategies to pursue for any anti-cancer diet is to eat low-glycemic diet. That means no refined sugars, no refined grains (white flour, for example), no heavy use of sweeteners and the lifetime avoidance of sugary soda pop.



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The Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Patients.

Huffington Post has a report of huge meta study covering 70,000  patients world wide, conducted by Australian researchers,

It shows that moderate exercise reduced cancer-specific mortality by up to 44 percent, all-cause mortality by up to 48 percent and cancer recurrence by up to 35 percent.

This is both remarkable and exciting.

Here we have a low cost, minimal side effect, (unless it’s overdone) adjunct to treatment, that can almost halve  mortality. And we already know that exercise reduces the depression that so often accompanies such diagnoses.

You can read the article here.



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The Effects of Hypnosis on Gastrointestinal Functioning

Here is an extract from an article published by Olafur S. Palsson, Psy.D. Associate Professor of Medicine, School of Medicine, UNC-Chapel Hill, explaining why hypnosis is so effective in the treatment of even long standing gut pain problems.

[1]. . . In recent years, the effects of gastrointestinal functioning and GI symptoms have been studied extensively.

The hypnotic state itself, without any particular suggestions, seems to slow down the gut. Clear-cut and specific changes in GI functioning can be induced in individuals by directing thinking or inducing specific emotional states under hypnosis. For example, one study found that when healthy volunteers were hypnotized and simply instructed to relax, the orocaecal transit time (the time it takes material to pass through the GI tract from the mouth to the first part of the colon) was lengthened from 93 to 133 minutes.

Another study found that being in a hypnotic state decreases muscle movements in the stomach. The same study demonstrated that the emotional state of happiness, created under hypnosis, suppresses gastric muscle activity while anger and excitement increase muscle movement in the stomach. A pair of other studies have shown that when volunteers were guided to use imagery of eating a delicious meal while they were under hypnosis, gastric acid secretion was increased by 89%, and that acid production of the stomach could also be deliberately decreased during hypnosis using hypnotic instructions. Close to fifty published studies have reported on the therapeutic effects of hypnosis on nausea and vomiting problems related to chemotherapy, after surgery, and during pregnancy. Overall, this substantial body of literature indicates that hypnosis can be a powerful aid in controlling nausea and vomiting.

Hypnosis may also be helpful in preventing gastrointestinal problems from recurring after they have been treated with medication. One study of thirty patients with relapsing duodenal ulcers who had been successfully treated with a course of medication, found that only 53% of the patients who received preventive hypnosis treatment had a relapse within one year. By contrast, everyone (100%) in a comparison group receiving no hypnosis relapsed in the same period of time. In 1984, researchers in Manchester in England published a study report in the journal Lancet, showing that hypnosis treatment dramatically improved the symptoms of IBS patients who had failed to benefit from other treatment.

The researchers had randomly divided patients with severe IBS problems into two groups. Fifteen patients were treated with seven hypnosis sessions. Fifteen comparison patients were treated with seven sessions of psychotherapy, and those patients also received placebo pills (pills with no medically active ingredients) which they were told were a new research medication for IBS symptoms. Every patient in the hypnosis group improved, and that group showed substantial improvement in all central symptoms of IBS. The control group showed only very modest improvement in symptoms. Partly due to these dramatic results with treatment-refractory patients, a dozen other studies have followed, including three U.S. studies.

The general conclusions from most of these studies are that hypnosis seems to improve the symptoms of 80% or more of all treated patients who have welldefined “classic” IBS problems, especially if they do not have complicating factors such as psychiatric disorders. The improvement is, in many cases, maintained for at least a year after the end of treatment. What is particularly remarkable is that this high rate of positive treatment response is seen even in studies where all the participating patients had failed to improve from regular medical care.

You can read the entire article here.


[1] Effects of Hypnosis on GI Problems, Olafur S. Palsson, Psy.D. Associate Professor of Medicine, School of Medicine, UNC-Chapel Hill

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Hypnosis and Health Anxiety

Health anxiety refers to the experience of thinking that there may be a threat to your health, which consequently triggers your health anxiety response.

While we may think and worry about any number of health related issues, some of the more common health  anxietyrelated fears include having or developing cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, a mental illness such as schizophrenia, a thyroid disorder, or that you may have a heart attack or stroke.  Not everyone thinks about specific problems though.  Your fears could be more general, in that you simply think that something is “not quite right” and that may lead to health anxiety disorder.

When is health anxiety a problem?

To a certain extent, milder forms of health anxiety can affect us all from time to time.  Who hasn’t been concerned when waiting for some test results to come back, or had some worrisome thoughts about a new lump or bump that we have noticed?  So, at what point does mild health anxiety become a problem and lead to full blown health anxiety?  While having concerns about your health and seeking advice and appropriate health checks are something that all human beings experience, as with anything, too much of something can be bad for you.  This is where Cognitive Hypnotherapy may help you think about your health anxiety in a more balanced way.

Health anxiety can become a problem when:

  • Health anxiety is excessive
  • Health anxiety is out of proportion to the realistic likelihood of having an actual and serious medical problem
  • Health anxiety is persistent despite negative test results and/or reassurance from your health practitioner.
  • Health anxiety leads to unhelpful behaviours such as excessive checking, reassurance seeking (e.g. from doctors, family or friends), or avoidance (e.g. of check-ups, doctors, health related information).
  • Health anxiety causes you significant distress orimpairs your ability to go about your day-to-day life.

How health anxiety develops:

The exact cause of health anxiety is not known.  While there is some evidence that health anxiety, like all anxiety disorders, may in part be an inherited or biologically based problem, it is generally accepted that several other important factors can increase the likelihood of you developing this problem.

The important thing to remember is that out of control health anxiety may trigger the production of damaging stress hormones, whcih in turn could help to create the very health issues that are the cause of worry in teh first place.

A self fulfilling prophesy indeed.

A skilled hypnotherapist, using hypnosis to work directly at the subconscious level can bring effective and permanent relief from debilitating health anxiety.

Click to go to the Conditions page for Health Anxiety

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Hypnotherapy and Fertility

Doctors and scientists from all over the world are proving the effectiveness of hypnosis for fertility and other reproductive challenges.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) –Women who are hypnotized before undergoing the
transfer of an embryo by in-vitro fertilization (IVF), may be more likely to become pregnant, Israeli researchers report. Dr. Eliahu Levitas of Soroka University Medical Center in Beer Sheva and colleagues found that nearly 60 percent of a group of women who used hypnosis during the procedure became pregnant.ivf_2342241b

This compared to about 30 percent of a group of women who didn’t use hypnosis.

Many fertility experts see the transfer of an embryo to a woman’s uterus as a key event that determines whether IVF will succeed, the researchers report in the journal Fertility and Sterility. Women may be stressed during embryo transfer from fear that the treatment will fail, they explain, or that the transfer will be painful…

Click here to read the complete report.

If you are undergoing IVF and are considering hypnotherapy to help you to remain calm during this challenging and stressful process, you’re most welcome to give me a no obligation call.

I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.


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Hypnotherapy and Skin Conditions

If you’ve ever blushed from embarrassment, you know that your skin can reflect what you’re feeling inside. It makes sense, then, that emotional trouble might show up as skin trouble.

Although cause and effect can be difficult to pin down, considerable data suggest that at least in some people, stress and other psychological factors can activate or worsen certain skin conditions.

The bond between skin and mind has deep roots, going back at least as far as skin-to-skin contact between newborn and mother. But communication through the skin is thought by many to be central to the development of feelings about the self and the world. Little wonder that our emotions might affect our skin — and that the relationship is likely to be complex.

The hypnotic state, involving focused concentration or awareness, can affect many physiological functions, including blood flow, pain sensation, and immune response.

In this state, the mind has a heightened capacity to affect autonomic functions (those we have little conscious control over, such as heart rate).

A therapist using the technique called guided imagery may ask the patient to imagine having healthy skin or picture immune cells on the march.

In small studies, hypnosis has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety; reduce pain and inflammation; control sweating and itching; speed healing; and limit behaviors such as scratching, picking, or hair pulling.

Belgian researchers reported in the August 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that 67% of patients with significant hair loss (alopecia) who underwent hypnosis (including self-hypnosis) had total or partial hair regrowth during treatment, although some of them lost the hair again during the four-year follow-up period.

In some studies, hypnotherapy, especially combined with behavioral and relaxation techniques, has helped reduce itching and scratching in people with atopic dermatitis.

Hypnosis has been studied extensively for treating warts. In one controlled trial, which compared hypnosis to no treatment at all, 53% of the hypnotized patients — but none of the unhypnotized patients — lost at least some of their warts. Another trial compared hypnotic suggestion (of the warts healing and shrinking) to salicylic acid (the standard treatment for warts), placebo salicylic acid, and no treatment. The hypnotized participants lost significantly more warts than subjects in the other three groups.

Hypnotherapy can be a powerful, side effect free tool in dealing with troublesome skin conditions.

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Hypnotherapy and Female Sexual Response

‘Hypnotherapy was used as the method of treatment in seventy-six cases of frigidity with seventy-two of them showing rather dramatic improvement, Direct hypnotic suggestion as well as hypnoanalysis were both used in securing these results. The effects of this treatment are presented in tabulation form, are discussed in detail and show hypnotherapy to be a very effective method of treatment.’

So begins a report of a study* conducted by Dr T.A. Richardson entitled “Hypnotherapy in Frigidity” , published in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis in 1963.

Use of the term, ‘frigidity’ when referring to female sexual response is a reminder of the enormously  important progress we’ve made in this area over the intervening decades.

Despite it’s antiquated and now disturbing title, the study shows that hypnosis can be an effective tool in helping women to enjoy a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Although this study focuses on women – I suppose that back then, it was thought that men did not suffer from problems in this area, or at least, it wasn’t talked about – the same is true of men.

I have had considerable success using hypnotherapeutic techniques to help both men and women experiencing problems with sexual performance.

You can read the entire article here

* T. A. Richardson M.D. (1963): Hypnotherapy in Frigidity, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 5:3, 194-199



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Hypnosis and Asthma

As early as 1968 the British Medical Journal published details of a study conducted for the Research Committee of the British Tuberculosis Association*

The study was an investigation of hypnosis in asthma among patients aged 10 to 60 years with paroxysmal attacks of wheezing or tight chest capable of relief by bronchodilators.

“Independent clinical assessors considered the asthma to be “much better” in 59% of the hypnosis group and in 43% of the control group, the difference being significant There was little difference between the sexes. Physicians with previous experience of hypnosis obtained significantly better results than did those without such experience.”

In the more than forty years since then, there have been many more studies confirming that hypnotherapy is an extremely valuable tool in helping with asthma.

In particular, most asthmatics can be quite easily taught a simple self hypnosis technique that they can use to help them remain calm at the onset of symptoms. This state of calmness can often avert a full asthmatic attack.

As the study group’s age range (10 – 60 years), shows, this is true both for adults and children.

You can read the complete study here

* Hypnosis for Asthma – a Controlled Trial. A Report to the Research Committee of the British Tuberculosis Association Br Med J. 1968 October 12; 4(5623): 71–76

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