- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Gastric Band Hypnosis
A Hypnotic Alternative To Weight Loss Surgery
Gastric Band Hypnotherapy is a recently developed treatment for obesity. It uses clinical hypnosis to replicate the effects of actual surgical gastric banding, but without the wide array of side effects that the surgery can bring about. This hub will describe the procedure that is used to achieve this effect, some possible future extensions of the procedure, risks, side-effects, benefits, and hopefully eventually we will offer a list of resources that can help you to get this procedure done in your area.
Hypnosis is effective for a wide array of ailments, including irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, anxiety, depression, surgical anesthesia, acute and chronic pain. There is some disagreement among researchers and clinical hypnotists as to what exactly hypnosis is: many believe hypnosis is a distinct state of consciousness, others believe it is a form of response to social expectations, and still others decline to define the phenomenon at all. Whatever it is, clinical hypnosis is now an evidence-based treatment for a wide variety of ailments, and is also extremely useful for improving performance in healthy individuals. Even self hypnosis for weight loss is possible.
You can use hypnosis to improve attention, concentration, memory, stress tolerance, confidence, and even sports performance. Elsewhere I have written a hub on the topic of sports hypnosis. As you might expect, weight loss has become a very popular application of hypnotherapeutic clinical techniques. Many individuals offering hypnosis services are termed "lay hypnotists" because they specialize only in hypnosis and have no training in any other area of clinical work. It is generally preferable to make sure that the individual treating you with hypnosis has also received formal training in managing any medical or psychological issues that may become involved in the hypnotherapy, both to ensure that you receive the most comprehensive care available and so that your hypnotherapist will be capable of dealing with anything that might go wrong during the treatment.
With that introductory information out of the way, I would like to describe the gastric band hypnosis technique in more detail. It works by convincing the patient, at an unconscious level, that a true gastric banding operation has been performed. The unconscious mind and body thereafter respond to food and hunger in the ways that the individual would expect (or be led to expect.) The simulated surgery has not been performed very many times at the time of this writing, but the patients who received the treatments have reported a profound reduction in stomach capacity and ability to tolerate heavy foods.
I actually laughed very hard reading about the first patient to receive gastric band hypnosis, because they described their attempt to eat fried chicken sandwich. They called it a "KFC burger." They literally had to choke it down, and were incapacitated for days afterward. The really funny thing was how committed they were to eating that "KFC burger." They forced it down, at any cost! This was probably someone who would have benefitted from some psychotherapy or counseling in addition to the weight loss hypnosis.
The hypnotist who performed the simulated surgical procedure went to great lengths to convince the patient's unconscious mind that an actual physiological surgery had been performed. The patient was brought into an operating room, introduced to the sights and sounds of surgical lights, masks, gloves, anesthesia. The hypnosis led the patient, mentally, through all the things that would happen in an actual gastric band surgery, of course with hypnotic suggestions that they would experience no pain from the operation.
Hypnosis is a really powerful way to introduce concrete metaphors into the unconscious and subconscious processes, and I have little doubt that a procedure like gastric band hypnosis could be effective for weight loss. There are many ways to assist weight loss using hypnosis, and I think that often the most effective will be whatever metaphors are the most potent in the minds of the patient and the hypnotist. Particularly for patients like the chicken-burger lady, who are utterly stuck in their patterns of unhealthy eating, it may be quicker to alleviate obesity with hypnotic gastric banding than by attempting a more psychological or motivational solution. At the very least, the gastric band hypnosis could by a therapist some time in trying to find out why the patient was so intently self-destructing by way of food.
Risks and Side-Effects of Gastric Band Hypnosis
Because the surgery is entirely imagined, it is much less risky than a real stomach band surgery. The real thing tends to be somewhat prone to infection, whereas that is not a risk at all with the hypnotic equivalent. The main risk is psychological: if you are so obese that you need a weight loss surgery or equivalent hypnotherapeutic intervention, the chances are good that obesity serves some psychological purpose for you.
There is a chance that any number of side effects could emerge as a way of compensating for the loss of the primary symptom, which is the obesity. As I mentioned before, I think that this type of weight loss hypnosis could be a good way to achieve some quick symptom reduction while the work of psychotherapy was done. This would probably only be desirable for very severe cases of obesity, as there are many other effective weight loss interventions available for other types of patients. However, this means that the type of patient you'd give this type of treatment to would be the most likely to manifest side-effects. The KFC-burger lady experienced mainly some nausea and difficult inhaling trans fats, but that is from a preliminary report.
It wouldn't surprise me too much to see a gastric band hypnosis patient develop something like IBS in response to a successful treatment. In any event, the risks of this treatment are entirely psychosomatic, so a competent mental health professional will be able to manage them during the gastric band hypnosis and also during followup sessions.
Gastric Banding Hypnosis In The Future
Like many hypnotic treatments that catch media attention, this kind of gastric bypass hypnosis is a fairly ingenius idea. Weight loss surgery operations gained prominence in the public psyche, and are therefore ripe for utilization by a savvy hypnotherapist. It is actually a pretty natural extension of the way that hypnosis has been used in real surgeries for years. When someone is a good candidate for hypnosis and a poor candidate for general anesthesia--and a qualified hypnotherapist is availabel--it is fairly common for the individual to enjoy surgery with no anesthetic at all.
Now, the reverse is taking place, with voluntary surgeries being bypassed entirely in favor of simply convincing the unconscious mind to produce the surgical outcome without all the risks and expense of actually cutting open the body. It's an idea whose time has come, and I would like to explore more possibilities for elective virtual surgery. Perhaps hypnotic cosmetic surgery is not that far off?
Finding A Gastric Band Hypnotherapy Provider
You will notice in the comments section of this hub that there are many providers claiming to offer gastric hypnosis services, and even to be offering certification to other providers. However, please be aware that hypnotherapy is not regulated by any governmental licensing body in most countries. That means that essentially anyone can call themselves a hypnotherapist, and anyone can claim to be certifying others to perform hypnotherapy. So when someone tells you they are a "certified hypnotherapist," the statement is basically meaningless. You may be dealing with someone who is knowledgeable, or you may not.
For this reason, I want to really make it clear that I strongly advise readers of this hub to undergo hypnotic procedures only with licensed healthcare professionals who have also received additional training in hypnosis. By doing so, you ensure that the person providing treatment to you has received adequate training to assist you with your symptoms even if hypnosis does not work. Furthermore, by dealing only with licensed professionals, you ensure that your therapist's practice of hypnosis is regulated by the ethical principles of their licensed profession. So there are two safeguards there that you simply do not have if you undergo hypnosis with someone who is not a fully qualified professional.
Professions eligible for training and certification in the use of clinical hypnosis include:
- Medical professionals (doctors, dentists, nurses, chiropractors)
- Psychological and counseling professionals (clinical psychologists, licensed psychotherapists, social workers)