Consciously speaking: Knowing the difference between anxiety and panic is important

"I have been feeling nervous and anxious since my divorce, is this feeling anxiety or panic?"

Anxiety disorders are found most frequently in the general population and are found in nearly all mental disorders. When it is a main symptom it requires the help of a mental health professional.

Most anxiety disorders begin when a patient is relatively young.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can be difficult to diagnose.

Worry is most operative and GAD patients worry about everything. GAD is found in 3-5 percent of the general adult population.

Let's look at a case history:

Case history No. 1

Gary Price had been a worrywart for most of his adult life. Even though he was successful at his job, he felt he was often walking a tight rope. His boss, a workaholic, wanted ideas implemented yesterday and often told Gary he was doing a good job.

This did not reassure Gary.

He felt uptight and had trouble concentrating at work. He did not think he was depressed and often enjoyed the activities he loved, football on Sunday afternoon, and going out with the guys.

He said his only problem was his uneasiness and worry. Valium made him drowsy so he quit taking it. Sometimes he would drink a beer to relax.

Gary's symptoms would fit the criteria for GAD. He had multiple worries. Despite repeated efforts to control these fears, (medication and alcohol) he had been unable to.

Patients who have feelings of anxiety do not always fulfill the criteria for a specific anxiety disorder.

Case history No. 2

Marilyn Adams was a 24-year-old woman who worked as a limo driver and drove people to and from the airport. She loved her job.

One day last winter while she was loading bags into the car a truck sped by her knocking her to the ground. She became frightened and scared every time she had to load luggage and she carefully avoided the traffic side of the vehicle. She avoided going out socially because she was feeling scared and panicky. She sought help from a therapist.

Marilyn's panic attacks have been established, originally associated with the specific work situation, and then more recently in other situations that involved being away from home. She avoided these situations.

Marilyn fit the criteria for a diagnosis of panic disorder with agoraphobia.

A person that feels panicky may not have the diagnosis of panic disorder.

Let me know what you think or ask me a question by e-mailing me at Until next time, light and blessings to you.

Sandi Squicquero, M.Ed, LPC, has more than 20 years of counseling experience. She is a certified clinical hypnotherapist in medical hyponosis. She is the director and owner of The Medical Hypnosis and Counseling Center in Windsor.

You are hereLifestyle Hypnotist to conduct Tullamore clinics

IF you are eager to give up smoking then you should go along to one of the clinics due to be held in Tullamore shortly with renowned hypnotist Tom Ryan.

“Why should you consider using Hypnosis?” asks Tom Ryan?

“Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness during which extraordinary events may occur. It is powerfully effective and is the most misunderstood of all therapies. Hypnosis brings us into resourceful states of mind. One can stop smoking or change habits in just one session. It’s a wonderful solution for stress or to stimulate one to achieve their true potential.”

Ryan gives the example of Dr Jack Gibson, a surgeon at Naas Hospital, who performed four and a half thousand operations using only hypnosis as an anaesthetic. Hypnosis has been practiced for 200 years and is now used extensively by Swedish and Russian Olympic Athletes to maximise their performance.

A recent survey in American Health magazine revealed the following recovery rates: Hypnotherapy: 93% recovery after 6 sessions; Behavior Therapy: 72% recovery after 22 sessions; Psychoanalysis: 38% recovery after 600 sessions.

Hypnosis is an increased state of receptivity to suggestion. However, one will never accept suggestions contrary to their morals. Hypnos is a Greek word meaning sleep. However electroencephalographic (EEG) tests show hypnosis to be a waking state. You may remember the experience of a teacher in school droning on and your mind drifted like the experience of a music lover closing their eyes and merging into the musical experience.

Hypnosis is a highly successful therapy that can unlock one’s true potential. This is due to its ability to bypass the critical faculty of the conscious mind so direct communication with the subconscious can take place. The programmes that run all automatic processes and habits can then be directly communicated with and influenced.

Tom Ryan is a Master Hypnotist and NLP Trainer. He has three and a half decades of experiences as a sales and marketing trainer, seminar presenter, and 35,000 hours of clinical work in the areas of Hypnotherapy and NLP as a therapist and trainer together with his own developments of Total Mind Dynamics, Dynamic Visual learning, Pneumodynamic Breathing, Dynamic Super Fitness, Dynamic Weight Control Programmes and his Dynamic Personal Success programmes.

Chantix; Immense Rise in Cardiovascular Issues Probable

Pfizer’s smoking cessation medication greatly increases the risk for cardio events

The results published this morning in the Canadian Medical Association Journal based on a meta-analysis which had examined 14 clinical trails involving 8,216 patients. The findings had revealed a 72% increase of cardiovascular events that include congestive heart failure and stroke.

Dr. Sonal Singh, M.D., MPH, CPH, lead author of study, doctor and professor at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, stated he has stopped prescribing the medication as soon as he heard about these new findings. He is not telling anyone they should not use it but believes people should have this information and make their own decision on the risk.

Dr. Curt D. Furberg, M.D., Ph.D, of Wake Forest University School of Medicine and co-author of this study stated the total of serious adverse events without a doubt outweighs the most positive effects of the medication. Thomas M. Burton, writer with the Wall Street Journal had noted his call for removal of this drug from the market.

Pfizer, is disagreeing about the interpretation of the data as noted by vp of medical affairs, Gail Cawkwell, in an email to Tom Randall of Bloomberg. Ms. Cawkwell had stated the benefits of stopping smoking are immediate and considerable. The company firmly believes in and supports the drug as a valuable treatment option. In her email she notes that "about one in 100 people in the studies had cardiovascular problems."

Pfizer and the FDA also in response to these latest findings remark that they have been planning on conducting a joint analysis of clinical trials on whether or not Chantix had posed cardiovascular risks. Dr. Celia Winchell, team leader with the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research note to the New York Times, Duff Wilson, had commented that the findings would of raised a red flag if not for the fact that red flag was already flying. The report will be due next year.

According to Pfizer, Chantix, is a non-nicotine prescription medication which works in two ways. It targets the nicotine receptors in the brain and hinders the nicotine from reaching the receptors. The company also believes that the drug stimulates the receptors producing a decreased release of dopamine compared to that of nicotine.

Dr. Yoon Loke, Clinical Senior Lecturer of the University of East Anglia and also had worked on the review had stated to the BBC there a numerous options to help people to stop smoking that do not involve the use of medications. He continues even though those numbers are small it is most likely due to the fact that those studies observed healthy people. Dr. Loke has own belief of the medication noting the risk could be even higher for those smokers who already have cardiovascular issues.

Writer Matt McMillen in his writing which is on WebMDHealthNews had pointed out just last month the FDA had issued a notice citing that Chantix could be linked with a small increase of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events in smokers with cardiovascular disease.

Lily Fowler of Fair Warning had reported the fact that Pfizer never did testing of Chantix on the mentally ill or those with recent history of depression during clinical trials. This is in spite of that fact that millions of smokers do endure psychiatric problems. Chantix had been approved in May 2006 and since its approval thousands who had used Chantix, endured serious psychiatric events. Those events had included suicide and depression. As a result from this a black box warning was placed on the drug. Among users some people have endured alterations in hostility, behavior, depressed moods and suicidal thoughts or actions while using this stop smoking drug.

Chantix sales have declined by 14% bringing last years total to $755 million in comparison to $883 million in 2007 according to information gathered from Bloomberg.

According to the information gathered the risk of enduring a cardiovascular event was 1.06% among Chantix users in comparison to 0.82% among those who had used a placebo.

Dr. Tina Kaufman, Ph.D, assistant professor of medicine and smoking cessation coordinator with Oregon Health and Science University and not part of this study, noted to WebMD’s Matt McMillen, that practitioners should discuss with their patients the issues that were raised in the study but her personal belief is that cardiologist will still continue to prescribe the medication. She also believes the risk is small compared to the benefits of the drug and it is more dangerous for persons to continue smoking.

Dr. Daniel Seidman, Ph.D, director of Smoking Cessation Services at Columbia University Medical Center has stated he avoids the use of Chantix in his clinical work with smokers due to the safety concerns. Commenting “This [study] is yet another black eye for Chantix."

There are several alternative therapies to help persons in quitting smoking. One such therapy is hypnotherapy. Research has revealed a success rate of 66% based on a four stage protocol.

Do not expect immediate results it can take several sessions in order to stop smoking. It has been noted around four sessions are needed. When choosing a hypnotherapist it is wise to chose one that is a licensed psychologist or one who has received training from a qualified academic university or college in hypnotherapy.

According to sound media press hypnotherapy has received rave reviews. Consumer Reports notes that hypnotherapy can aide adult patients in pain control, weight loss, speeding up healing of bone fractures and even surgical wounds.

News Week had reported "Hypnosis can help. A growing body of research supports the ancient practice as an effective tool in the treatment of a variety of problems, from anxiety to chronic pain."

Hypnotherapy is not going to have you cluck like a chicken. It is a far cry from what many refer to as stage hypnosis. Hypnotherapy merely taps into your subconscious . It is a state of concentration and focused attention.

Even the National Institutes of Health in 1995, had officially given support for hypnosis for cancer pain and other pain conditions. Among the medical institutions that give hypnosis a thumbs up is even Harvard Medical School that shows proof that hypnosis is in fact a process of mind over matter.

Debbie Nicholson is based in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, and is Anchor for Allvoices


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KAZAKHSTAN: "Absurd" criminal charge for praying for the sick

This article was published by F18News on: 5 July 2011

By Mushfig Bayram, Forum 18 News Service <>

Pastor Yerzhan Ushanov of the New Life Protestant Church in Taraz could face up to two years' imprisonment if criminal charges of harming an individual's health, brought by the KNB secret police, reach court. The KNB claim a visitor to the church suffered after Pastor Ushanov prayed for him using hypnosis, the second time the secret police have brought such charges against a Protestant pastor in Jambyl Region. "This is not the first time the authorities in southern regions of Kazakhstan bring such absurd accusations against pastors for allegedly using hypnosis, while in reality all they do is pray for the sick," New Life Church members complained to Forum 18 News Service. The police Department for the Fight against Extremism, Separatism and Terrorism then raided the Church's Sunday worship after an alleged complaint of food poisoning and the KNB searched Pastor Ushanov's home. The KNB secret police, as well as the ordinary police Department for the Fight against Extremism, Separatism and Terrorism, both refused to comment on the case to Forum 18.

In the second case known to Forum 18 News Service, a criminal case is being brought in Jambyl [Zhambyl] Region of southern Kazakhstan by the National Security Committee (KNB) secret police against a Protestant pastor for allegedly harming an individual's health by praying for them. The KNB regional branch opened the criminal case on 8 June against Pastor Yerzhan Ushanov of the New Life Protestant Church in the city of Taraz, local Church members who asked not to be identified for fear of state reprisals told Forum 18 on 30 June. Jambyl's ordinary police Department for the Fight against Extremism, Separatism and Terrorism raided the Church's Sunday worship on 19 June after an alleged complaint of food poisoning, and the following Saturday, 25 June, the KNB searched Pastor Ushanov's home.

"Why should such serious and important state bodies as the KNB secret police and ordinary police Department for the Fight against Extremism, Separatism and Terrorism be involved with churches and pastors?" one Church member exclaimed to Forum 18. "Is this how tax-payers' money should be spent?"

Religious communities Kazakhstan's government does not like often face raids, harassment and legal cases. An Ahmadi Muslim community in the southern city of Shymkent was fined in May and denied the use of its land and place of worship. One official claimed to Forum 18 in relation to the Ahmadis that "using a dwelling house for religious purposes violates the Land Code", but was unable to say where this was stated. In the southern region of Kyzylorda [Qyzylorda], three members of the Protestant Grace Church were prosecuted for unregistered religious activity, two of them being fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage each on 12 April and 6 May respectively (see F18News 7 June 2011

In Taraz in March, Baptist Pastor Andrei Panafidin was fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage for leading unregistered religious worship (see F18News 31 March 2011


Pastor Ushanov is facing prosecution under Criminal Code Article 111 ("causing severe damage to health due to negligence") for allegedly inflicting serious harm on the health of Aleksandr Kereyev by praying for him, Church members told Forum 18. Article 111 carries punishment of a fine of between 100 and 200 times the minimum monthly wage or community service of between 180 and 200 hours, or up to two years's imprisonment for inflicting serious harm to the health of one person. Punishments are higher if the health of more than one person is harmed.

At the Jambyl regional branch of the KNB secret police, the duty officer who answered the phone (who did not give his name) on 30 June, told Forum 18 he could not comment on the case, and that Kayrat Baybarakov, the KNB branch chief, was not available to talk. "Call us back in three or four days," the official asked. Called back on 4 July, the same officer refused to put Forum 18 through to Baybarakov or anyone else, and put the phone down.

"Not the first time"

"This is not the first time the authorities in southern regions of Kazakhstan bring such absurd accusations against pastors for allegedly using hypnosis, while in reality all they do is pray for the sick," New Life Church members complained to Forum 18.

"In some cases the authorities have even demanded some of our pastors to obtain a special licence from the Health Ministry for praying to heal the sick," they complained.

In another case in Jambyl Region, the KNB secret police started a case against another local Protestant pastor, Vissa Kim, Pastor of Grace Light of Love Protestant Church. He was punished under the same Criminal Code Article 111 Part 1 for allegedly harming a woman's health by praying for her. In April 2010 Taraz City Court No. 2 fined him 100 times the minimum monthly wage, 141,300 Tenge (5,723 Norwegian Kroner, 711 Euros or 961 US Dollars), plus 5,000 Tenge (202 Norwegian Kroner, 25 Euros or 34 US Dollars) court costs. "Now it looks like pastors will get fines for praying for the sick in churches," one church member complained to Forum 18 when the verdict was handed down (see F18News 1 April 2010

Pastor Kim's appeal to Jambyl Regional Court failed and he paid the fine. However, the Church complained to Kazakhstan's Supreme Court, which heard the appeal on 14 December 2010, the court website noted. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction and cancelled the fine, Church members told Forum 18 on 5 July, but only because prosecutors brought the case when the deadline for bringing a case after the alleged offence had passed. However, so far Pastor Kim has not received back the money.

KNB search to "plant evidence"?

At 7 am on 25 June, less than three weeks after the criminal case against Pastor Ushanov was opened, five regional KNB secret police officers, including Captain Aleksandr Bychko and Captain Galymzhan Jumashev, broke into Ushanov's home and searched it, church members told Forum 18. The officers showed the Pastor the indictment with the criminal charges and complaint of a woman named Nauryzbayeva that her husband Aleksandr Kereyev "felt sick after the hypnosis" allegedly conducted by Ushanov in the Church.

Church members did not remember Nauryzbayeva's first name, as the KNB officers did not give Pastor Ushanov copies of the indictment and complaint. "Kereyev visited our Church only 3-4 times within a period of 6 months, the last time being sometime in March," one Church member told Forum 18.

The case is fabricated, Church members complained, insisting that the KNB secret police searched Ushanov's home "with the purpose to plant evidence" against him. "The officers asked the Pastor at one point during the search to go out and tell the people from the Church who came to see him not to disturb him," they told Forum 18. "When he came back into the room he saw on the shelf the book entitled 'Modern Hypnosis' in Russian, which does not belong to him."

KNB secret police officers confiscated two laptop computers, an external computer hard drive, about 150 DVDs with Christian films and materials, and about 20 Christian books along with the book "Modern Hypnosis". They also confiscated cards of 85 Church members containing personal data such as names, history of their Church attendance, phone numbers and addresses.

Threat to Pastor

During the raid, Captain Jumashev and his colleagues warned Pastor Ushanov to "change his profession, and leave Taraz for good, if he does not want to get into trouble," church members told Forum 18.

Reached on 4 July about the raid and threats to Pastor Ushanov, Captain Jumashev asked Forum 18 to call back later: "I cannot talk at the moment as I am driving." Subsequent calls went unanswered.

Church members told Forum 18 that Captain Jumashev regularly visited the New Life Church and "kept tabs on believers".

Police raid

On 19 June, six days before the KNB secret police raid on Pastor Ushanov's home, Jambyl police's police Department for the Fight against Extremism, Separatism and Terrorism raided New Life Church's Sunday worship service. The officer leading the raid, Lieutenant Colonel Serik Khalykov, told the Church that the "reason of their visit was that Olesya Kotlyarova complained that she was poisoned when she ate at the Church cafeteria recently". The Police made Pastor Ushanov write a statement, explaining whether or not he knew Kotlyarova and how she could have been poisoned.

"These are outrageous and biased allegations against our Church," one member complained to Forum 18. "We are only renting those premises, and do not serve food to people there."

Lt Col Khalykov declined to comment on the case, saying it had been initiated by the regional KNB secret police. "Please talk to the KNB," he told Forum 18 on 30 June. Asked why a body dealing with such serious issues as the police Department for the Fight against Extremism, Separatism and Terrorism should target a Church and its pastor, for alleged food poisoning, he responded: "I can only talk to you in my office."

As the KNB secret police has refused to discuss the case, Forum 18 has been unable to enquire about Khalykov's claim that the KNB initiated the police action.

Will authorities consider complaints?

On 28 and 29 June, Pastor Ushanov personally delivered complaints to regional KNB head Baybarakov and Regional Prosecutor Bagban Taimbetov, New Life Church members told Forum 18.

Yernat Sybankulov, Deputy Prosecutor of Jambyl Region, told Forum 18 on 4 July that he "will look up the complaint, and inform you tomorrow what action we will take." Called back on 5 July, his secretary - who did not give her name - told Forum 18 that Sybankulov is not in the office and will be back in two days.

Earlier raids on New Life

In late April and early May, KNB secret police and the ordinary police Department for the Fight against Extremism, Separatism and Terrorism raided or intervened in the activity of four New Life congregations in different parts of Kazakhstan. The interventions appeared designed to obstruct planned meetings of local New Life Churches with Maksim Maksimov, Senior Pastor of New Life Church in Almaty (Kazakhstan's commercial capital), Church members told Forum 18.

On 29 April the KNB and the police Department for the Fight against Extremism, Separatism and Terrorism raided the New Life Church in Aktobe [Aqtobe]. Police broke in, filmed the Church meeting and told the attendees that New Life is a "dangerous sect". The Pastor, his wife and their three young children were put in a police car, and taken to the police station for questioning which lasted several hours (see F18News 6 May 2011

In response to the Church's subsequent complaint, Aktobe city Police responded in an official letter that the actions of their officers were "not appropriate and they were reprimanded", the New Life Church told Forum 18 on 5 July. The Police also told the Church that no measures against the Church or its Pastor will be taken.

In south-eastern Kazakhstan, Aktau [Aqtau] city police Department for the Fight against Extremism, Separatism and Terrorism on 28 April raided the Church's meeting after it had finished. Officers asked the local Pastor and Ivan Kryukov, visiting from Almaty, to go with them to a police station to write statements, but the two refused to go.

In northern Kazakhstan, the Kokshetau city branch of the KNB secret police on 3 May pressured the Director of a Culture House to cancel its agreement with the local New Life Church to hold a meeting in their premises. After this local New Life church members tried to hold their meeting at another church's building. However, the Pastor of that Church was summoned by the Regional Administration's Religious Affairs officials and pressured not to allow the meeting in their premises. And so the meeting did not take place.

Also in northern Kazakhstan, the Petropavl [Petropavlovsk] city branch of the KNB secret police on 4 May pressured the Director of a private art school to cancel its agreement with the local New Life Church to hold a meeting in their premises. The Church then arranged an agreement to rent a local cafe. However, about one hour before the meeting was due to start its Manager received a phone call with threats from the KNB. However, unlike in Kokshetau, the New Life Church members in Petropavl were able to hold their meeting at another venue. (END)

For a personal commentary on how attacking religious freedom damages national security in Kazakhstan, see F18News

For more background, see Forum 18's Kazakhstan religious freedom survey at

More reports on freedom of thought, conscience and belief in Kazakhstan can be found at

A compilation of Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) freedom of religion or belief commitments can be found at

A printer-friendly map of Kazakhstan is available at

Book Review" "The Hypnotist" -- Wait For It -- Mesmerizes

THE HYPNOTIST By Lars Kepler ** 1/2 out of $27 hardcover; 512 pages Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

This new mystery thriller comes from a husband and wife team based in Sweden, so naturally it's being compared to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But this is really an international book written for an international audience. It's movie ready with short chapters, vivid characters and enough twists and turns to keep pages turning.

Many mysteries feature damaged heroes but what may give this debut novel by the pseudonym Lars Kepler its own flair is the fact that virtually every character is deeply damaged in one way or another. Our hero is Detective Joona Linna. He's haunted by a tragic car accident and now simply cannot, will not rest until a case is solved. Linna also suffers from blinding headaches but when a case is on he skips his meds and lets the pain mount and mount so nothing distracts from the task at hand. He's so single-minded that Linna often leaves his glamorous girlfriend alone.

Linna is dragged into solving an horrific crime in which almost an entire family is brutally murdered but a 15 year old boy survives with hundreds of stab wounds. Time is running out because the boy's sister may be in danger and can't be found, but the boy is is barely capable of being questioned in the normal way. So Linna calls in...The Hypnotist.

That would be Dr. Erik Maria Bark. He swore never to use hypnosis again after some tragic event that haunts him. (Rest assured, we'll hear about it in detail.) Bark is addicted to painkillers and not sleeping with his beautiful wife, who hasn't forgiven him for a brief affair many years earlier. Their son is also wounded in a way: he suffers from a rare blood disease that means he must get weekly injections and can still die if jostled around too casually. The boy is finally dating a goth girl, who seems to be trying to pull away from a gang of aimless youth that terrorize the kids in their neighborhood. But are his parent too protective to let him have any fun?

When Bark is reluctantly pressured into using hypnosis in this crisis situation, you won't be surprised to hear it all spirals out of control. The madman who attacked that family is revealed and on the hunt. The missing sister is found but never feels safe. Bark's use of hypnosis makes national news and Amnesty International weighs in on his barbaric tactics. And then the hypnotist's son is kidnapped and any one of several terrifying suspects could be responsible. Soon we're plunged back into the past and Bark's controversial group hypnosis therapy sessions. He brought together all sorts of damaged souls, one of whom may be targeting him now for the sins of the past.

It's all pretty entertaining stuff, though regular readers of mysteries won't be thrown off by the red herrings. Mind you, herring served at a Christmas party and unusual street names are the only clues that this is set in Sweden. Either world culture is becoming unified or this book is geared towards a world audience. Certainly disaffected teens and psychopaths are the same the world over. A few missteps are soon brushed aside. (Early on, when a psycho has vowed to kill Dr. Bark and/or his family, wouldn't the cops simply go to Bark's home rather than just leave some frantic phone messages and leave it at that?) It's lean, amiable beach reading with Linna not quite center stage (much of the book is devoted to Bark and others) but an interesting character nonetheless. He has one annoyingly endearing quirk: Linna is always right and when he's doubted and proven right, he feels compelled to make his coworkers admit he was right and then says, "I told you so."

When this book becomes a bestseller and we get a sequel, just take it for granted that I'm thinking the same thing: I was right and I told you so.

***** Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day and features top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It's available free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website and his daily blog.Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes. Link to him on Netflix and gain access to thousands of ratings and reviews.

NOTE: Michael Giltz was provided with a free copy of this book in galley and final form. He receives far more books than he can cover and does not guarantee to review or write about any particular one.

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By Roy Masters July 5, 2011 News With

Adapted from Final Chapter of Hypnotic States of Americans Available in book and Kindle versions

From time to time, something in the news calls our attention to something that our laws and our criminal justice system have not yet taken adequately into account. This is the very real fact that quite often the actual perpetrator of a crime is acting under the influence of a hypnotic state when the crime is committed, and does something the real person never would have done otherwise. Without a better and more widespread understanding of how hypnotic influence works and how to counter it, we will continue to jail people who perhaps should not be jailed, and release them back unprepared into the abusive hypnotic environment of childhood whereby the real perpetrators remain the free hidden reason behind most all crime.

Consider some examples.

Just as my Hypnotic States of Americans book was going to press a couple months ago, the Associated Press reported that Sirhan Sirhan, the person convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, now believes that he was in a hypnotic state at the time. From the day of the assassination forward, I have claimed that Sirhan was somnambulistic, that is, a type who is easily programmed to do anything—and that the hidden motive was political. The girl in a polka-dot dress was simply the trigger to activate a post-hypnotic state in which he believed he was on a firing range and seeing circles with targets in front of him. “I thought I was at the range more than I was actually shooting at any person, let alone Bobby Kennedy,” Sirhan said in an interview with a hypnosis expert who has interviewed him—according to the Associated Press. According to the report, Mr. Sirhan has always claimed to have no memory of shooting Kennedy, and that his presence at the hotel that night was an accident, not a planned destination. There were reports from witnesses after the shooting of a female running from the hotel shouting, “We shot Kennedy.”

Many will remember the case of Patricia Hearst, great granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst who formed the Hearst publishing empire. In the 1970s Ms. Hearst was kidnapped and brutally mistreated by a group calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army. After some time in captivity, she actually participated in some bank robberies with them---something she would never have even considered doing before her kidnapping. Many have heard of the Stockholm syndrome—the strange phenomena where a group of people held captive by terrorists in Sweden for several days became very cooperative with them and would not even testify against their captors after their release.

As I observe the testimony in the Casey Anthony trial, now in progress, I see signs of many unrealized hypnotic influences in both Casey and several members of her family, and see that she may very well be in a state where she really does not know what happened and may have done things under hypnotic influence that she would not have done otherwise.

As I have repeatedly pointed out for many decades, it is more than possible for a skilled manipulator to program someone else to do his or her dirty work, and even to believe that it was the ultimate perpetrator’s own idea and action. A suitable subject can be programmed so as to have no remaining memory of either being programmed, or of the person who hypnotized him, or of the details of what happened.

Children are not born criminals, thieves and killers, but they are often born into families that cause hypnotic traumas that set them up so that, later in life, they can be acted through by others who know how to tap into their vulnerability to hypnotic authorities. People skilled at spotting and exploiting those with special vulnerability in this regard can, through the person they control, commit many crimes – all while remaining quite invisible except those who understand how hypnotic influences work.


Psychopathic master criminals are rarely caught and punished. Adolf Hitler, like many dictators, never needed to commit crimes of genocide they simply acted through do-unto-others-as-was-done-unto-them system of clones. It could be that we are punishing all the wrong people while the most wicked ones lurk out there scot-free multiplying themselves through crime and getting elected, which is why we are losing our country.

I strongly recommend the excellent 1962 movie The Manchurian Candidate—starring Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Harvey and Angela Lansbury, as well as Richard Condon’s 1959 book by the same title—upon which the 1962 version of the movie was very faithfully based. The means of control and programming portrayed in that book are more than likely. I believe that movie was ready for release about when President John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, but that its release was postponed for a year or so in the wake of the assassination.

(By the way, I recommend that you not bother with the 2004 remake of the movie, starring Denzel Washington, Liv Schreiber and Meryl Streep. This remake is not, repeat not, in any way faithful, in its essentials, to the book or to the crucial realities. It tends to hide and draw attention away from the crucial facts about hypnosis and manipulation, which—though not the fault of the fine actors in the excellent cast—may have been exactly what it was designed and released in order to do.)

The most despicable, oft-repeated lie about hypnosis is that one cannot be hypnotized to think what is untrue or to act against one’s own free will. That is simply false. Skilled manipulators have known it forever. The manipulators have guarded this secret carefully, partly by repeating the lie that such influence is impossible. It is not safe to regard hypnosis as a harmless parlor game, or to remain oblivious to how it works.

Without awareness of how hypnotic influence works and of how to counter and reduce its influence in oneself and others, even people living in supposedly free societies will become increasingly enslaved to influences largely invisible to them—while simultaneously being hypnotized to regard themselves as free and in charge of their own lives. A better understanding of these matters will enable us all to deal more wisely and more justly with the problem of crime and other misbehavior in our families and communities.

Based on my discoveries about hypnotic influence gathered over more than 60 years, my Hypnotic States of Americansbook seeks to show you how to become less susceptible to past and present hypnotic influences and thus more able to live in true freedom, drawing your energy from what is real and right so that you are fully alive in a healthy sense.

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Freedom from hypnotic influence, even from influences seeking to get you to do what is right or think what is true, is essential if you are ever to escape an unhealthy dependence on your manipulators, caregivers, experts and leaders (even the well-meaning among them).

Reading my Hypnotic States of Americans book, watching the hypnosis demonstration video and practicing the recommended exercise will awaken within you a spiritual center from which you will be impervious to improper influence and able to influence the world for the better—as effortlessly as the most skilled martial artist can deal with an opponent.

Contact Roy Masters

© 2011 Roy Masters - All Rights Reserved

Behavioral treatment for migranes a cost-effective alternative to meds, study finds

Treating chronic migraines with behavioral approaches – such as relaxation training, hypnosis and biofeedback – can make financial sense compared to prescription-drug treatment, especially after a year or more, a new study found.

Longtime behavioral therapy researcher and practitioner Dr. Donald Penzien, University of Mississippi Medical Center professor of psychiatry, coauthored the study. He said the costs of prescription prophylactic drugs – the kind chronic migraine sufferers take every day to prevent onset – may not seem much even at several dollars a day.

“But those costs keep adding up with additional doctor visits and more prescriptions,” Penzien said. “The cost of behavioral treatment is front-loaded. You go to a number of treatment sessions but then that’s it. And the benefits last for years.”

Published in the June issue of the journal Headache, the study compared the costs over time of several types of behavioral treatments with prescription-drug treatments. The research team included investigators from Wake Forest University, UMMC and the University of Mississippi.

The researchers found that after six months, the cost of minimal-contact behavioral treatment was competitive with pharmacologic treatments using drugs costing 50 cents or less a day. Minimal-contact treatment is when a patient sees a therapist a few times but largely practices the behavioral techniques at home, aided by literature or audio recordings.

After one year, the minimal-contact method was nearly $500 cheaper than pharmacologic treatment.

“We have a whole armamentarium of behavioral treatments and their efficacy has been proven. But headache sufferers are only getting a tip of these options,” said Dr. Timothy Houle, associate professor of anesthesiology and neurology at Wake Forest University, and the study’s principal investigator.

“One reason is people think behavioral treatment costs a lot. Now with this study, we know that the costs are actually comparable, if not cheaper, in the long run.”

At a time when health-care costs are under national scrutiny, the study offers a framework for comparing costs that researchers can update and use for years to come.

“We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to model this and see how it comes out over time?’” Penzien said. “All the figures are there so if someone disagrees with it, they can plug in their own numbers.”

The researchers didn’t compare the effectiveness of methods, nor did they calculate the costs over time of individual drugs, since dosages and prices vary widely. Rather, they figured the per-day costs of each method based on fees of physicians and psychologists. For the physician group, they added in the cost of prescription beta-blocker drugs at various prices.

For instance, among the psychologists surveyed, one-on-one behavioral sessions cost between $70 and $250 for the intake visit and $65 and $200 for follow-up visits. That put the median intake cost at $175 and median follow-up cost at $125 for a median 10 visits.

The researchers calculated the median cost of pharmacologic approaches at $250 for the intake session and a professional fee of $140 per session. Median time to the first follow-up was 52.2 days, rising to 60 for the second with a median five visits per year.

To get information on behavioral treatments, the researchers surveyed members of the Behavioral Issues Group of the American Headache Society. For figures on pharmacologic treatments, the researchers surveyed a group of Headache Society-member physicians they knew treated substantial numbers of headache sufferers.

The most expensive behavioral treatment method – individual sessions with a psychologist in clinic – cost more than pharmacologic treatment with $6-a-day drugs in the first months. But at about five months, individual sessions become competitive. After a year, they are cheaper than all methods except treatment with drugs costing 50 cents or less a day.

Overall, group therapy and minimal-contact behavioral treatment were cost-competitive with even the cheapest medication treatment in the initial months. At one year, they become the least-expensive headache treatment choice.

Grant funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke supported the research.

Interview with Dr. Jack Singer on Core Sports Performance

Dr. Jack was interviewed by Chris Shugart, the editor of T-Nation.


Mind Games

The ball is snapped. The quarterback takes a few steps back and looks downfield. Nothing. Then the defensive line fails and about a 1000 pounds of muscled meanness barrels toward him. A receiver suddenly breaks into the open and the quarterback lifts his arm to throw…


At this moment, the amount of weight the quarterback can bench press doesn't matter much. His VO2 max just isn't that important. In fact, his body has become a secondary element in his eventual success or failure. Maybe he'll throw an interception. Maybe he'll choke under the pressure and get clobbered.

But not if he has trained with Dr. Jack Singer.

Dr. Jack Singer is an elite level Sports Psychologist. He's the secret weapon of many professional athletes and teams, teaching his clients how to consistently reach states of peak performance. When top level players or even weekend warriors want to get the edge, they go to Dr. Jack.

You've seen him on ESPN, Fox Sports and CNN, now it's time for T-Nation to pick his brain.

T-Nation: Dr. Singer, thanks for chatting with us today. Let's begin by talking about the field of Sports Psychology. Is there a difference between a Sports Psychologist and a shrink who just likes football and consults a few players?

Dr. Jack: That is a wonderful question to ask because there are so many psychologists who don't have formal or ongoing training in Sports Psychology, yet call themselves Sports Psychologists because they happen to work with athletes. I, for example, am a Certified Sports Psychologist and have a Diplomate in Sports Psychology from the National Institute of Sports… a recognition that's only granted to half of 1% of all of the psychologists who apply for such a Diplomate recognition.

T-Nation: What kind of athletes have you worked with over the years? What do they come to you for that needs fixing?

Dr. Jack: I've worked with athletes in virtually every sports endeavor, and with all levels of proficiency, from pros, to college athletes, to nationally ranked juniors, to weekend warriors. They come to me to help them function at peak efficiency, consistently. This may involve anger control, stress and anxiety elimination, mental toughness training, confidence and self-esteem building, rapid injury recovery and staying-in-the-zone training, as examples. I teach every athlete who wants that "unfair advantage" self hypnosis, but there are a multitude of techniques besides hypnosis that we cover.

Incidentally, I also work with teams, teaching them how to communicate with their coaches, how to quickly learn game plans, and how to stay positive regardless of the score.

T-Nation: Reading through some of your work, I see the topic of relaxation and its relationship with peak performance coming up often. When it comes to sports or just lifting weights in the gym, we often think of getting "amped up" or "psyched up." I've seen powerlifters slap each other in the face before a big lift. Where does being relaxed come in?

Dr. Jack: You know, there's a certain amount of getting "amped up" that's necessary for peak performance in all sports. That means that being "too relaxed" is really not the most efficient way to perform your best. The problem is learning the exact point where the "amping" or "psyching" becomes so stressful, that performance actually deteriorates.

So what's the answer? I help each of my athletes determine where that cutoff point is for them and then teach them relaxation routines to use as soon as their "amp level" approaches the point at which continued amping will deteriorate their performance. It's like a rheostat that they control themselves and keeps their performance sharp and consistent.

T-Nation: Very interesting. We all know when we're in "the zone" and when we're not. But can an athlete or an avid ironhead create the zone?

Dr. Jack: Anyone can be taught to create "the zone." It's a combination of imagery, visualization and hypnotic training. The secret, however, is to learn how to switch it on and stay in the zone, as needed. In short, everyone is capable of creating the zone. Someone once said, "Whatever you conceive, you can believe, and whatever you believe, you can achieve." Conceiving that you want to get in the zone and learn how to stay there is the first step. I can teach you the rest.

T-Nation: I love the field of Sports Psychology because it deals not with beating the opposing team, but conquering one's own mental barriers and self-limiting thoughts. What are some common ways that people hold themselves back and become their own opponent?

Dr. Jack: Without a doubt, every athlete's number one opponent is their self-dialogue. You see, the specific messages that you give yourself during practice, just before competing, and during the competition all determine to a large extent your performance.

Self-limiting thoughts are all a result of unfortunate thinking habits and routines that people repeat over and over. As a Sports Psychologist, the very first thing I do is to help my clients recognize these self-limiting thoughts so that they can quickly switch them off and replace them with powerful, proactive, positive, performance enhancing thoughts. It really works!

T-Nation: Interesting. Can you give us an example of a top athlete with a specific problem and how you helped him or her overcome it?

Dr. Jack: Certainly. Of course, I can't relate the actual name or team because of confidentiality issues, but I can certainly share the problem, the treatment and the success.

This is a story about a football quarterback who was an All Star in high school. He was recruited by a major university, and after practicing with the team for two weeks, his coach referred him to me for mental toughness training. From day one, his "internal critic" started to work on him. He thought to himself about all of the other great quarterbacks on the team and how they were probably better than him… better prepared, stronger, etc. Even in practice, he was amazed at how his performance was so poor and then a coach referred him to me.

We set out to discover his internal dialogue and all of the sabotaging comments he was telling himself in his head. Once we discovered his negative thinking patterns, we devised a game plan to recognize and immediately change those thoughts, and his performance rapidly improved. The problem of his mental toughness issues was really a problem of poor self-talk habits, and once these were identified and reversed, his mental toughness and resultant performance skyrocketed!

T-Nation: I remember reading about Arnold the Governator using a mental trick in his early years. He didn't like leg training, so he purposefully walked around saying, "I love leg days!" Sure enough, he built a set of powerful legs. Was he on to something?

Dr. Jack: Absolutely! Think about the true case of a 97 pound older woman finding her husband trapped under the wheel of his car. She doesn't stop to think negatively; she only tells herself that she must lift the car to free her husband… right now! And she accomplishes it!

Your subconscious mind takes all of its directions directly from you and it believes exactly what you tell it, making no judgments. Therefore, if you say to yourself (and therefore to your subconscious mind) "I hate leg training," then it will help you to avoid leg training, because it thinks that's what you want. On the other hand, if you say to yourself, "I love leg training," guess what? Just ask the Governator, or better yet, look at his legs!

T-Nation: On your website you write briefly about a rubber band trick used to counter these self-defeating thoughts. It's a great trick! Tell us about it.

Dr. Jack: Certainly. Get yourself a fat rubber band, like the ones that come in the mail. Once you recognize your negative thinking patterns (for example, saying to yourself "My opponent looks stronger than me"), snap that rubber band one or more times on your wrist to STOP THAT THOUGHT.

Once the thought is stopped in its tracks, take a series of deep breaths through your diaphragm and then replace the negative thought with a positive one, such as, "I have trained hard for this moment and my body is ready to prove to me how really strong it is. Let's just do it!"

This really works, but like everything else, it gets better with practice.

T-Nation: I'll have to try that when I see those damn pizza commercials. Bad thoughts there! Let's talk about hypnosis. I think most people still visualize a stage show where someone is made to cluck like a chicken. What's the real story of hypnosis?

Dr. Jack: You're right about many folks seeing a stage hypnotist and believing that if they're hypnotized, they'll wind up acting silly or being out of control. Understand that stage hypnotists are entertainers who carefully select volunteers who enjoy being on a stage and making people laugh. Therefore, the folks who wind up clucking like a chicken are actually exhibitionists who enjoy laughing and making others laugh and are completely susceptible to whatever the hypnotist asks. Clinical Hypnosis is a whole different situation. First of all, no one can be hypnotized against their will or asked to do something which goes against their goals and best interests. It simply won't work. Ultimately, you are in total control in hypnosis, and it's a means of learning control.

Most of us have actually gone into spontaneous hypnosis hundreds of times during our lives. An example is when you're driving to your destination and get there without being aware of passing familiar streets or landmarks along the way…almost like you were driving on automatic pilot. Or, recall a beautiful spring day when you were in school, with your mind focused on something out the window and all of a sudden, your teacher startles you by calling your name. This "daydreaming" was a self-induced altered state of awareness called self-hypnosis.

We know that the mind is intricately connected to the body. There's a ton of research proving that through energy fields and electrical and chemical processes that every thought we have triggers an immediate response in every cell in the body, including, of course, the cells in our muscles. So, if our subconscious mind is filled with negative thoughts during our powerlifting contest, the muscles instantly weaken.

Through hypnosis, I infuse the subconscious minds of my athletes with powerful, positive suggestions, so that as they practice this, their muscles will actually work at peak efficiency during the event. This, of course, is just one of hundreds of examples I could share about the terrific power of hypnosis for athletic performance. I call it the athlete's "unfair advantage."

T-Nation: What about self-hypnosis? Can you teach us a quick technique?

Dr. Jack: Yes. Prior to a lifting experience, for example, just sit down on a mat and begin to breath slowly and deeply. When you're ready to go into self-hypnosis, make a tight fist with your dominant hand and that will serve as your cue to go into a brief hypnotic trance. Continue breathing slowly and deeply, perhaps visualizing your lungs taking in a full volume of healthy, clean oxygen and exhaling all of the tension out of your body. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Next, slowly count down from five to one, timing the count down with your exhales and when you get to one, visualize yourself lifting the weight you're about to attempt and lifting it with ease. Just picture in your mind the weights filled with feathers instead of iron, and see yourself lifting the weight easily as you tell yourself, "I know I can do this. I WILL do this."

Do this visualization as long as you wish and then calmly go and do your lift. When you are through, relax and tell yourself that it's time to come out of your self-hypnotic trance. Then, count backwards from five to one. When you get to one, you'll be back to your fully aware and alert stage, feeling wonderful, calm, energized and a new power! Have fun with this, and remember, practice, practice, practice.

T-Nation: Cool. I'll try that. You've written a lot about burnout in athletes, even very young athletes. What about the bodybuilder or average gym member? I don't recall the stats offhand, but the fact is that most people quit training after a while or at least become very inconsistent. Where do we burn out?

Dr. Jack: Burnout is caused by allowing the stresses involved in your sport to become larger than the pleasures. Since all stress is caused by the negative, self-defeating internal dialogue that we engage in, then we can overcome and, in fact, avoid stress by harnessing those negative thoughts in the first place and replacing them with positive affirmations.

Practicing this will ultimately eliminate overwhelming stress and thus eliminate burnout. You all deserve to feel powerful, empowered and proud of yourself. With the proven techniques of Sports Psychology, you can all accomplish this…whether you're a body builder, a powerlifter, a fitness enthusiast or a weekend warrior. These techniques really work!

T-Nation: In recreational bodybuilding, I see a lot of people getting discouraged and defeated because they compare themselves to others. The bodybuilding mags are full of genetic gods on steroids, so it's easy for the average guy to get discouraged. Oddly, the same guy doesn't get discouraged when he can't slam dunk like an NBA pro. He still likes shooting hoops. But many quit lifting weights if they don't look like magazine cover models in four weeks. How would a Sports Psychologist tackle this issue?

Dr. Jack: This is another internal dialogue/internal critic issue. So many of us compare ourselves to the best and the brightest celebrities and because we don't match up in a particular feature or two, we put ourselves down, feel helpless and hopeless, and give up on a goal.

We all need to realize that perfection is never naturally attained, set realistic goals for ourselves and strive to accomplish those goals. Just like we can't change our nose structure without artificial makeover surgery, we can't change our physical genetics…but what we can do is absolutely work our bodies, build them, and develop the very best that's possible for our genetically predisposed frames. In addition, new advances in self hypnosis actually dramatically aid muscle development, so that the body limitations you perhaps have always believed about yourself may not really be valid at all!

T-Nation: Now that's interesting! You may have to write us an article on that topic! Thanks for the talk today. Where can T-Nation readers go to find out more about you and your services?

Dr. Jack: This talk has been a real treat for me and I hope to be an ongoing resource for your readers. To learn more about my phone and in-person consultations, please contact me at (949) 481-5660. It will be my pleasure to help you skyrocket your athletic success!

To inquire about me speaking for your company, convention or association, please learn about my professional speaking services by visiting my web site at or contacting me at the same number as above.

If you're interested in obtaining my Core Sports Performance hypnosis CD's, please visit and click on the core sports performance picture. Incidentally, we'll soon have a second CD series on pain control and rapid injury healing available there, and I plan to produce a series for bodybuilding and powerlifting soon.

T-Nation: Cool. Thanks again!

© 1998 — 2005 Testosterone, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Tagged as: hypnosis for sports, Jack Singer, sports hypnosis

Review of The Hypnosis Experience and Preparing for Uncertainty

The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter, Summer 2006

The Hypnosis Experience and Preparing for Uncertainty by Eric Greenleaf, PhD The Hypnosis Network, 2005

These discs showcase Eric Greenleaf, leading us through half-hour trances – four on the double-disc Hypnosis Experience and two on Preparing for Uncertainty. Greenleaf's gentle, companionable voice covers a lot of territory in the process.

The programs work for hypnotic novices or experienced subjects. In The Hypnosis Experience Greenleaf describes the nature and wisdom of unconscious processing, using ideas like unself-conscious flow, dreaming, body processes, and unique organization. He links hypnosis to the great healing traditions, specifically the "sleeping cures" at the ancient Greek temple of Aesclepius. He quotes a patient describing the curiously doubled communication of hypnosis: "You're talking to me, yet you're not talking to me. You're talking to all of me."

Greenleaf creates a relaxed, natural feeling, assuring his listener that the process of hypnosis is easy, though some of the things accomplished within it may be difficult. That difficulty, though, is well within our capacity.

By creating trances designed for anonymous listeners, Greenleaf is forced to abandon a central Ericksonian dictum: Create a new therapy for each person. Lacking a unique, individual listener, he compensates by using metaphors that resonate widely (preparing for and taking a journey, emotions as a richly varied palette of colors) and sometimes by providing lists of possible images or concepts.

Greenleaf unobtrusively conveys a fair amount of factual information about hypnosis: the utilization principle; the focused attention excluding extraneous stimuli; unconscious functioning that "solves problems by shifting things around and making them balance." Myths are quietly debunked.

The Hypnosis Experience includes "Using the Resources of the Unconscious Mind," "Experiencing Useful Trance," "Tuning to the Body," and "A Pharmacy of Emotions" – all masterful stuff. We learn much about feelings, the body, healing, relaxation, allowing the mind to take its own lead – all without quite knowing how the learning is taking place. I use and teach this material, and I approached the CDs with the intent of listening critically, without giving myself over to the experience of trance. Nonetheless, my (conscious) recollection of listening is often cloudy and sometimes even absent. Had I not taken notes, I wouldn't have been able to write this review.

Preparing for Uncertainty could, I suppose, be faulted for a less than original metaphor: packing for and taking a journey. But it's such a rich metaphor, and Greenleaf gives his listener a lot. He asks us to prepare "like an athlete, a scholar, a contemplative, a child, a parent . . . a dreamer," to imagine preparation for birthing, taking time out (both as a welcome rest and as a disciplinary consequence),listening to stories at night.

The "Uncertainty" message is crucial. Our culture teaches us to try to make everything known, solid, and certain. Eric Greenleaf is wise – and kind – in teaching that uncertainty is our life; and we can find our way. This program, and The Hypnosis Experience, will be useful to new or seasoned hypnotherapists looking for examples of skillful work. The discs could be sent home with clients for practice and growth. The clinician could use them that way, too.

Reviewed by Will Handy, MSSW Dallas, TX

Published in: The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter Vol. 26, No. 2 Summer 2006

Tagged as: 

Eric Greenleaf

Ericksonian hypnosis

Hypnosis Slows Impact of Dementia

The University of Liverpool has published a study which demonstrates that hypnosis can slow the symptoms of dementia. As you may know, dementia is a neurological condition which can result in people losing their memories- they can forget where they live, they forget people they love, and tend to become more withdrawn and less social as the disease progresses.


In this study, dementia patients were treated with hypnosis, and showed improvements in memory, concentration, and levels of social interaction compared to a group who did not undergo hypnosis. In addition, for the hypnosis dementia group, relaxation, interest, and motivation also improved, as did participation in the activities of daily living (ADL's). Activities of daily living would include behaviors such as taking a shower, fixing a meal, and so on.

This research suggests that hypnosis can improve the quality of life for people with dementia, helping them soothe the anxiety and depression that often occurs with the disease.

Evidence suggests that hypnosis is a useful tool in helping slow the impact of dementia, and should be added to the treatment regiment for those suffering from the disease.

Source: "Alternative Approaches to Supporting Individuals With Dementia: Enhancing Quality of Life Through Hypnosis," Alzheimer's Care Today 2007, volume 8, number 4, pages 321-331.

Tagged as: hypnosis dementiamanaging dementia, university of liverpool

Hypnosis Improves Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder which leads to hair loss. Initially, the disease is characterized by rapid hair loss, usually on the scalp, but it can also lead to hair loss on other parts of the body. Alopecia Areata may lead to complete loss of hair, creating bald patches on the scalp or body, or it may be more diffuse, where the hair becomes thinner and more fragile.

Typically, Alopecia Areata is diagnosed when there is rapid hair loss, patchiness, and a more significant loss of hair on one side of the head compared to the other. It is believed to be caused by an immune disorder in which the body's own cells attack the hair follicles and disrupt normal hair growth and formation. Alopecia Areata is often associated with other autoimmune disorders such as lupus, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Typically, the condition is diagnosed by the presence of so-called "exclamation point hairs", which are short, close to the scalp, and are broken off.

Treatment for this condition typically includes injections, steroid creams and other medications. The longer the time between hair loss and treatment, the less likely the hair is to regrow. Hypnosis has been tested as an adjunctive treatment, and has produced interesting results. The mechanism for this effect is related to the fact that Alopecia Areata symptoms worsen under stress.

The International Journal of Clinical Experimental Hypnosis (July 2008) has published research suggesting that hypnosis can improve hair growth in patients with alopecia areata, as well as significantly reduce the anxiety and depression associated with the disorder.

Based on this finding, those suffering from Alopecia Areata should seek ways to actively reduce their stress, as an adjunct to ongoing medical treatment. Stress reduction, such as that provided by hypnotic suggestions, can go a long way to reducing the impact and progression of this type of autoimmune disorder.

Tagged as: autoimmune disorders, exclamation point hairs, hypnosis alopecia areata, hypnosis hair loss

Hypnosis Reduces Headaches in Children

When we read and learn about stress management, we are often focused on how adults can better manage stress- whether it be personal, on-the-job, or due to a failing relationship. Sometimes, though, with all this focus on adults, we forget that children can feel stressed too.


One of the biggest reasons children feel stress is because of changes in their environment. They feel out of control when things change, and might not be able to have any control over where they live or go to school (such as when their parents separate or divorce) and they may also be subjected to stress at school, such as by being bullied or ridiculed.

Sometimes, it's tough being a kid. One of the ways that children demonstrate stress is through complaints of headaches. A recent study published in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Hypnosis examined the impact of hypnosis for headaches in children.

The study made a distinction between fixed and variable stressors. Fixed stressors were defined as events over which the child had no control, while variable stressors are those in which the child might be able to change his behavior and modify the outcome.

In this study, 37% of children reported fixed stressors, and 63% reported variable stressors.

In the study, 96% of children reported improvement in their headaches after using hypnosis- improvement, in this case, meant that they had fewer headaches or the headaches weren't as painful than before. This effect was greater for children who were experiencing variable stressors.

For these children, it means that hypnosis, plus a greater understanding of the role they were playing in their own stress, was highly effective at reducing headaches.

This is a positive sign, because it means that, perhaps, children who are under stress can learn how to relax and gain control, instead of relying on medication to control their stress and headaches.

Tagged as: children headache treatment, hypnosis headache, treating headaches with hypnosis

You Will Never Look at Pain the Same Way Again

A new study, published in the November 2008 issue of the journal Current Biology* just blew my mind.


Researchers found that just by changing the way subjects looked at an achy limb, they could affect the degree of pain experienced AND the swelling of the limb.

This is pretty crazy stuff, but is just more evidence of the mind/body connection.

Here is the study in more detail:

Researchers found subjects who all experienced chronic pain in one of their arms. They then had them all do 10 hand movements that would trigger pain in the aggravated arm. The movements were such that the subject could watch their own hand movements.

They had the subjects do these movements under four different conditions:

1. With No visual Manipulation (control 1) 2. While looking through lenses that did not affect the size of their arm (control 2) 3. While looking through lenses that magnified the size of their arm 4. While looking through lenses that minimized the size of their arm

All of the subjects experienced some pain and swelling under all conditions, but the differences were significant under the different conditions, and truly amazing.

The lenses caused the subjects to see the arm as bigger experience more pain and swelling than the control groups, while the lenses that caused the subjects to see the arm as smaller causes less pain AND less swelling than the control groups.

Researchers still can't tell us why exactly this is happening but some guesses have to do with something called the, "top-down" effect of body image on body tissues. Meaning that the experience of pain is bi-directional (works both ways) between the actual cause of the pain and the perception of the pain causing stimulus.

Another related theory from one of the study's authors, Dr. Mosley, is that protective responses—including the experience of pain—are activated according to the brain's implicit perception of danger level. "If it looks bigger, it looks sorer and more swollen," Moseley said. "Therefore, the brain acts to protect it."

Either way, I find the whole experiment fascinating. It is just one more piece of evidence of the brain's role in how we experience pain.

More Information on the Brain's Role in How We Experience Pain

If you are interested in knowing more about the brain's role in how pain is experienced, we have downloadable recordings of Dr. Maggie Phillips (a world renowned expert on mind/body healing) going into great detail on the subject. This is free and consists of 5 mini lectures explaining how pain works and a mini session called, "Using Mental Focus to Shift Pain" that acutally guides you through a semi-hypnotic session where you actually shift the experience of pain using your mind.

The lectures are kind of cerebral (boring to some people) but I personally think they are interesting! And if you or a loved one is experiencing pain and/or taking dangerous medications, then it is more than worth listening to.

If you enjoy the lectures and are experiencing physical pain, Dr. Phillips created a four CD audio program where you can use hypnosis and other body/mind modalities to reduce and sometimes eliminate chronic pain.

Important: Please listen to the free interviews before making this decision. It is not a miracle solution and if you don't find the interviews interesting, you probably will not have the patience to use the program to great effect.

If you do have the patience to actually do the sessions and learn about how pain works (this is part of the process) then it will improve the quality of your life pretty dramatically.

While we are on the subject of pain, my good friend Jesse Cannone recently wrote an article on how back pain actually shrinks the brain!

Instead of co-opting his article, I think it is only fair that I send you to his site to read it. He has a really good back pain product that deals with the physical causes of back pain and is a great guy to know.

How Pain Shrinks The Brain

Well, here is to a great December! Please comment about this article and any of the links in it. I am interested in this subject. Please refrain from overt product pitches, but I would be interested to know of any interesting solutions for pain management, whether they are nutritional or physical exercises.


Michael Lovitch

* source: Visual distortion of a limb modulates the pain and swelling evoked by movement G. Lorimer Moseley, Timothy J. Parsons, Charles Spence Current Biology – 25 November 2008 (Vol. 18, Issue 22, pp. R1047-R1048)

Tagged as: chronic painhypnosis pain, hypnosis research, Jesse Cannone hypnosis, pain research

Christianity and Hypnosis: Answers from an Academic and a Minister

In order to help clarify the range of Christian viewpoints on hypnosis, we interviewed two experts about hypnosis and Christianity. Neither one is affiliated in any way with The Hypnosis Network.

Of course, everyone has their own theological perspectives. You may find that neither of these commentators reflects your views. The interviews are provided strictly as information for those who are curious about possible Christian perspectives on hypnosis.

Our interviewees are:

  • John Court, Professor of Psychology, University of South Australia Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Adelaide Diploma of Clinical Hypnosis, Australian Society of Hypnosis Certificate in Theology, Sydney
  • Paul Durbin, United Methodist minister Chaplain (Brigadier General), United States Army (retired 1989) Director of Pastoral Care & Clinical Hypnotherapy, Methodist Hospital, New Orleans, LA (retired 2001) Director of Clinical Hypnotherapy, MHSF, affiliated with Methodist Hospital (retired June 30, 2005)

Below are their answers to some of the questions we frequently receive.

Some Christians are concerned that by undergoing hypnosis they might be going against their faith. Why is this?

John Court

Because they have been told, or have read in Christian books, that hypnosis is condemned in the Bible. Those who love to find a proof text for their beliefs use one word in Deuteronomy 18 (vv 10-11). In English the Hebrew word is usually translated 'charmer,' or 'one who casts spells,' and from other contexts it is clear that the word refers to snake charming. To relate it to hypnosis is quite misleading.

Good exegesis, of course, calls for more than a simple proof text, and this is lacking.

On the other hand, there are two examples in the Acts where it refers to Peter going into a trance (the Greek word is ekstasis from which we get 'ecstasy') and both events are reported as both positive and significant.

Paul Durbin

As you well know, there are many misconceptions concerning hypnosis which make some people (religious or non-religious) have some fears of hypnosis. A few years ago, I read an article in Family Weekly titled "Boom Days For Devil Hypnosis." Hearing that title, what ideas, images, or thoughts come to you? Though the article had what I considered a very negative title, it was a very positive article on hypnosis in the health care field. The only reference to the devil was in the last paragraph, "Some conservative religious groups consider hypnosis to be the work of the devil."

Hypnosis is mistakenly viewed as mind control or demonic by many misinformed people. Let me describe one situation I've experienced:

Recently I received a physician consult to work with a Catholic woman for pain management. As I explained the process of relaxation, imagery, and hypnosis, I could see that she was very responsive. As I concluded my pre-talk, she said, "I am really looking forward to this experience, but I need to tell you that my daughter is a self-proclaimed born-again Christian and she may say something negative to you about this. If so, do not pay any attention to her, for I am the one who is hurting and I want this."

As I completed the induction, the phone rang. I told the patient, "Just allow the ringing of the phone and my answering it to add to your relaxation." I answered the phone, "This is Mrs. Doe's room. As she is in therapy, please call back in 30 minutes," and hung up the phone.

When the procedure was completed, I walked out of the room and there was her daughter standing in front of the door with arms folded over her chest. She said, "What have you been doing to my mother?" I explained that I had taught her mother relaxation, self-hypnosis, and pain reduction. She responded, "I am a born-again Christian." Before she could continue, I raised my hands and said, "Praise the Lord, so am I." She was speechless, so I continued, "I will bring you some information on hypnosis, but regardless of how you feel about hypnosis, your mother has found it very helpful in the reduction of pain."

Some would say that there is no place in religion for hypnosis. I believe that hypnosis and religious faith can work hand in hand to bring about a better life. Jesus said in St. John 10:10, "I am come that you may have life and have it more abundantly."

Christianity includes many different denominations. Which denominations support hypnosis and which do not? Please explain why some traditions do, and some don't.

John Court

This is not easy to answer. In general the Catholic tradition has no problem with hypnosis. The Anglican tradition also has no problem. Lutherans have varied: some for, some against. Seventh Day Adventists used to be against it but appear to be changing.

It is mostly the smaller Bible-based and fundamentalist churches, and especially Pentecostals, who have taught against hypnosis. They have largely been teaching from second and third hand writers who have observed some aspect of hypnosis but without personal study of the subject.

Apart from the biblical evidence, the other major issue that has caused this is that some of the less orthodox traditions such as Christian Science have favored hypnosis, and so the orthodox seek to create distance.

Paul Durbin

Each one here comes with his/her own history: religiously, personally, and professionally. I come to you as a Christian Minister who looks upon hypnosis as a valuable tool of counseling. Coming from a religious profession and working in a church-related hospital for 30 years, I was often asked, "Why does one of religious faith need hypnosis?" or "How can you use hypnosis? Isn't there a conflict between religious faith and hypnosis?" I believe that these questions can be responded to by referring to the statement of Jesus in John 10:10, "I am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly." Hypnosis is one of the gifts of God which help people experience the "more abundant life."

Hypnosis is neither anti-religious nor pro-religious. It can be used for good or bad, depending on the hypnotist and the subject. Today, most religious groups accept the proper ethical use of hypnosis for helping people.

The Roman Catholic Church has issued statements approving the use of hypnosis. In 1847, a decree from the Sacred Congregation of The Holy Office stated, "Having removed all misconceptions, foretelling of the future, explicit or implicit invocation of the devil, the use hypnosis is indeed merely an act of making use of physical media that are otherwise licit and hence it is not morally forbidden provided it does not tend toward an illicit end or toward anything depraved."

The late Pope Pius give his approval of hypnosis. He stated that the use of hypnosis by health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment is permitted. In 1956, in an address from the Vatican on hypnosis in childbirth, the Pope gave these guidelines:

(1) Hypnotism is a serious matter, and not something to be dabbled in. (2) In its scientific use, the precautions dictated by both science and morality are to be used. (3) Under the aspect of anesthesia, it is governed by the same principles as other forms of anesthesia. This is to say that the rules of good medicine apply to the use of hypnosis.

Except for exceptions noted, no other Protestant or Orthodox Churches have any laws against the proper-ethical use of hypnosis. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no opposition to the use of hypnosis in the Jewish faith when it is used for the benefit of mankind. Many of the Eastern faiths, such as Buddhism, Yoga, Shintoism, Hinduism and others, approve the use of hypnosis and they often use hypnosis in their worship. Islam has no opposition to hypnosis that I have been able to discover.

Hypnosis should not be condemned as anti-religious just because some people misuse it. Some oppose hypnosis because the say it is used by the occult, but do they condemn prayer because prayer is used for occultist purposes? Hypnosis can be a very helpful tool in counseling. Without apology and when appropriate, hypnosis can be used for growth, health and the benefit of people.

Are there any Christian denominations where hypnosis is absolutely forbidden? (We want to make sure that no one purchases our CDs and then subsequently regrets his or her purchase due to this reason.)

John Court

There are certainly some strong prohibitions in some Christian books, but the readership is, I think, restricted to fundamentalists.

Paul Durbin

Exceptions are Christian Science, Seventh-Day-Adventist and some individuals of various churches.

In recent years, the Seventh-Day-Adventists have lessened their resistance by using relaxation therapy and suggestion therapy. A hypnotist by the name of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby greatly helped Mary Baker Eddy overcome an illness and she used many of his teachings and techniques in developing the Christian Science Church. Though Quimby used hypnosis to help her, she denounced hypnosis while using its techniques.

Though many in various churches opposed to hypnosis are using the principles of hypnosis (relaxation, concentration, suggestion, repetition) in their healing services, they denounce hypnosis. For those who oppose hypnosis on religious grounds, I remind them of the words of Baptist Van Helmont, "Hypnosis is a universal agent . . . and is a paradox only to those who are deposed to ridicule everything and who ascribe to Satan all phenomena which they cannot explain."

Is hypnosis a form of mind control?

John Court

It can be, and in stage hypnosis, obviously is.

In clinical work the control is negotiated between therapist and patient so that control is largely with the patient, who is then invited to allow the therapist to work within clearly identified ethical boundaries. There is also self hypnosis, which emphasizes the point that ultimately the control of the mind is with the person in trance (either self-induced or delegated to the therapist). Certainly clinical hypnosis is about enabling the patient to gain greater control of the mind; that is, empowering, not taking control away.

Paul Durbin

Hypnosis is no more mind control than watching TV, listening to a political speech, or attending a worship service. It is my belief that a person will not do anything under hypnosis that is against his/her will.

There is a story about Milton Erickson going to his secretary and telling her that he was tired and wanted to rest so anyone called, she was to say that he was out of the office. She agreed to do this for Dr. Erickson. Some days later he put her in a hypnotic state and make the same request. She responded that she could not. He asked her "Why?" and she responded, "Because it would be a lie." She had stronger moral resolve under hypnosis than in the normal waking state.

There is one area where there is a danger, and that is in what I would call "brainwashing," which can be accomplished in or out of hypnosis. It consists of a person being bombarded with suggestion time after time, day after day.

Many therapists of the past 30 years produced false memories for their clients by telling them that they would never get well until they admitted that they were sexually abused as children even though they could not remember it. They would have them imagine what might have happened, and even used guided imagery to help them remember. The results from many were the recovery of false memories which brought havoc to the client and family of the client. I have had several articles published on the subject of "False Memories," and one can find articles on my website by me and others on this subject.

Does someone who uses hypnosis for themselves risk punishment in some divine way?

John Court


Paul Durbin

I certainly do not believe that one risks divine punishment for using hypnosis, or I would not use it in my counseling. Some may risk criticism from their church, but not from God.

You have used hypnosis with many devout Christians. Do you have any examples of people who initially feared hypnosis that ended up benefiting?

John Court

Yes, often. My book (Hypnosis, Healing and the Christian [Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2002]) contains a number of examples of client experiences, published with their permission.

Paul Durbin

While a hospital chaplain and hypnotherapist, I had some people who feared hypnosis either on a personal basis or religious basis. Often a physician would send me a referral to work with a patient who was from a Pentecostal-type church. Many said, "Is it alright for me to call my pastor to see if it is OK?" In each case, their pastor said that it was OK. I had been a chaplain at Methodist Hospital in New Orleans for 6 years before I began practicing hypnotherapy, so the pastors knew me and so did not fear me working with their members.

It has been our position that hypnosis actually gives a person more control as opposed to less control. What are your views on this?

John Court


Paul Durbin

I totally agree. It gives the person the power to use what he or she already possesses but has not been able to control. People gain control over bad habits, control over fears and phobias, and the list goes on.

I know this is a personal question and just your opinion, but do you see any reason why a person would not try hypnosis only because he or she is a Christian? Please explain.

John Court

I know of people who do adopt that position. They have been told Christians must not be hypnotized because that would be to relinquish their free will to another person. If that view can be shown to be false, then it is possible to proceed.

I am saddened at how many Christian people feel unable to accept hypnotic-based interventions, when they could be very helpful in dealing with physical and emotional issues. Christians will also often report with surprise that the experience is spiritually beneficial, as it is possible to incorporate prayer and meditation into the therapeutic process.

Paul Durbin

I can see a person who would not use hypnosis because of his/her church position or on their personal understanding.

As an example, I was referred to a lady for pain management who wanted her pain medication long before the required time. I told her that I had been referred by her physician to help her reduce pain with hypnosis and she said "No, I am a Christian." I talked with her about that and even explained some of the common misconceptions about hypnosis. I told her that hypnosis was a normal experience that we pass through many times a day, but she said "No." So she just hurt until her drugs were due.

We have heard that people are concerned that hypnosis can override a person's "will" and/or create space for evil spirits to enter. What are your thoughts on this?

Paul Durbin

The vast majority of research disagrees with the above statement. A person in hypnosis will not do anything against his/her will. They may do things that they would not normally do, but would do if the situation were such as to entice them to do it.

For a physician, it is not unethical to prescribe drugs to stop pain, but it is unethical for a physician to intentionally set up a situation where the patient becomes dependent on that drug so the physician can make more money.

I am a theologically conservative United Methodist Christian and ordained clergyperson of the United Methodist Church. Hypnosis happens all the time: watching television, driving your car, being involved in a worships service, just before going to sleep, and just after waking up. Anything can be used unethically, but that is a problem of the person involved, be he clergy, physician, fireman, policeman, business person, wife, husband, teacher, or hypnotherapist. But don't condemn the profession or the role for the unethical ones among us, or we would have no professions.

People who have been smoking for years, no longer smoke due to hypnotherapy and at a much higher rate than patches, gum or drugs. People are released from fears in a few sessions that have been going to therapy for years. People in pain have had pain reduced or eliminated. Babies have been born to moms who did not have to take any drugs, a positive for both baby and Mom. Cancer patients have been able to take chemo with some of the side effects and have been helped to reduce the pains of cancer and even be healed of cancer. Burn patients have been able to have 3rd degree burns reduced to 2nd and 2nd to 1st when cared for by a hypnotherapist within the first few hours following burns, and to undergo painful procedures following burns with a great reduction of pain. These are blessings from God to be used to help relieve suffering emotionally and spiritually.

For more information about our interviewees

You can read more about either John Court or Paul Durbin online. Here are the links:

John Court

Paul Durbin

Our stance on hypnosis and faith

The Hypnosis Network feels that if you belong to a group that does not accept hypnosis, then you should not use the programs. Your spiritual views are more important than any benefit you might receive from hypnosis.

To read more about this perspective, and how to listen to the content of a recorded hypnosis program to check it for yourself without undergoing a hypnotic trance, see our separate article on "Hypnosis and Faith".

Hypnosis and Headache Pain: The Research

In a study conducted by Anderson (1975), migraine patients treated with hypnosis had a significant reduction in the number of attacks and in their severity compared to a control group who were treated with traditional medications. The difference did not become statistically significant until the second six-month follow-up period. In addition, at the end of one year, the number of patients in the hypnosis group who had experienced no headaches for over three months was significantly higher.

In a controlled trial conducted by Olness (1987), self-hypnosis was shown to be significantly more effective than either propranolol or placebo in reducing the frequency of migraine headaches in children between the ages of six and twelve years of age.

In a research conducted by Schlutter (1980), hypnosis was also found to be effective in dealing with the relief of tension headache.

Alladin (1988) reviewed the literature on hypnosis, identifying fully a dozen different hypnotic techniques that have been used in the treatment of chronic migraine headaches. Of these, hypnotic training emphasizing relaxation, hand warming (which, according to Anderson, 1975) seems the simplest method of establishing increased voluntary control of the sensitive vasomotor system) and direct hypnotic suggestions of symptom removal have all been shown to be effective in reducing the duration, intensity and frequency of migraine attacks during a ten-week treatment course and at thirteen-month follow-up when compared to controls.

A study (Gutfeld, G. and Rao, L., 1992) was conducted on 42 patients suffering from chronic headaches. These patients, all of whom had responded poorly to conventional treatments, were split into two groups. One received hypnotherapy to relieve their daily headaches; the rest acted as a comparison group. The hypnotherapy group experienced reduced frequency and duration of headaches, cutting the intensity by about 30%. "These results are impressive in such a difficult, hard-to-treat group of patients," commented Egilius Spierings, M.D., Ph.D. director of the headache section, division of neurology at Brigham and Women's Hospital.


Alladin, A. (1988). "Hypnosis in the Treatment of Severe Chronic Migraine. In M. Heap (ed.), Hypnosis: Current clinical, Experimental and Forensic Practices. London: Croom Helm. pp. 159-166.

Anderson, J.A., Basker, M.A. & Dalton, R. (1975). "Migraine and Hypnotherapy." International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 23, 48-58.

Gutfeld, G. and Rao, L. (1992). "Use of Hypnosis with Patients Suffering from Chronic Headaches, Seriously Resistant to Other Treatment," As reported inPrevention, 44, 24-25.

Olness, K., MacDonald, J.T. & Uden, D.L. (1987). "Comparison of Self-Hypnosis and Propranolol in the Treatment of Juvenile Classic Migraine." Pediatrics, 79, 593- 597.

Schlutter, L.C., Golden, C.J. & Blume, H.G. (1980). "A Comparison of Treatments for Prefrontal Muscle Contraction Headache." British Journal of Medical Psychology, 53, 47-52.

Tagged as: hypnosis for painhypnosis headachehypnosis research

Hypnosis and Pain Reduction: The Latest Research

University of Iowa News Release March 14, 2005


Brain Imaging Studies Investigate Pain Reduction By Hypnosis

Although hypnosis has been shown to reduce pain perception, it is not clear how the technique works. Identifying a sound, scientific explanation for hypnosis' effect might increase acceptance and use of this safe pain-reduction option in clinical settings.

Researchers at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and the Technical University of Aachen, Germany, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to find out if hypnosis alters brain activity in a way that might explain pain reduction. The results are reported in the November-December 2004 issue of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.

The researchers found that volunteers under hypnosis experienced significant pain reduction in response to painful heat. They also had a distinctly different pattern of brain activity compared to when they were not hypnotized and experienced the painful heat. The changes in brain activity suggest that hypnosis somehow blocks the pain signal from getting to the parts of the brain that perceive pain. "The major finding from our study, which used fMRI for the first time to investigate brain activity under hypnosis for pain suppression, is that we see reduced activity in areas of the pain network and increased activity in other areas of the brain under hypnosis," said Sebastian Schulz-Stubner, M.D., Ph.D., UI assistant professor (clinical) of anesthesia and first author of the study."The increased activity might be specific for hypnosis or might be non-specific, but it definitely does something to reduce the pain signal input into the cortical structure."

The pain network functions like a relay system with an input pain signal from a peripheral nerve going to the spinal cord where the information is processed and passed on to the brain stem. From there the signal goes to the mid-brain region and finally into the cortical brain region that deals with conscious perception of external stimuli like pain.

Processing of the pain signal through the lower parts of the pain network looked the same in the brain images for both hypnotized and non-hypnotized trials, but activity in the top level of the network, which would be responsible for"feeling" the pain, was reduced under hypnosis.

Initially, 12 volunteers at the Technical University of Aachen had a heating device placed on their skin to determine the temperature that each volunteer considered painful (8 out of 10 on a 0 to 10 pain scale). The volunteers were then split into two groups. One group was hypnotized, placed in the fMRI machine and their brain activity scanned while the painful thermal stimuli was applied. Then the hypnotic state was broken and a second fMRI scan was performed without hypnosis while the same painful heat was again applied to the volunteer's skin. The second group underwent their first fMRI scan without hypnosis followed by a second scan under hypnosis.

Hypnosis was successful in reducing pain perception for all 12 participants. Hypnotized volunteers reported either no pain or significantly reduced pain (less than 3 on the 0-10 pain scale) in response to the painful heat.

Under hypnosis, fMRI showed that brain activity was reduced in areas of the pain network, including the primary sensory cortex, which is responsible for pain perception.

The imaging studies also showed increased activation in two other brain structures — the left anterior cingulate cortex and the basal ganglia. The researchers speculate that increased activity in these two regions may be part of an inhibition pathway that blocks the pain signal from reaching the higher cortical structures responsible for pain perception. However, Schulz-Stubner noted that more detailed fMRI images are needed to definitively identify the exact areas involved in hypnosis-induced pain reduction, and he hoped that the newer generation of fMRI machines would be capable of providing more answers.

"Imaging studies like this one improve our understanding of what might be going on and help researchers ask even more specific questions aimed at identifying the underlying mechanism," Schulz-Stubner said."It is one piece of the puzzle that moves us a little closer to a final answer for how hypnosis really works.

"More practically, for clinical use, it helps to dispel prejudice about hypnosis as a technique to manage pain because we can show an objective, measurable change in brain activity linked to a reduced perception of pain," he added.

In addition to Schulz-Stubner, the research team included Timo Krings, M.D., Ingo Meister, M.D., Stefen Rex, M.D., Armin Thron, M.D., Ph.D. and Rolf Rossaint, M.D., Ph.D., from the Technical University of Aachen, Germany.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

Tagged as: hypnosis pain, hypnosis research

How Effective Is Hypnosis in Relieving Pain?

Hypnosis is a state of altered awareness in which we can become absorbed in more relaxing thoughts, ideas, images and feelings, and more easily distracted from negative or painful ones. Many people who benefit from hypnosis respond well to suggestions about feeling less pain, more comfort, increased energy, better sleep, and having rapid healing outcomes. Only about 10-20% of the general population does not receive good results from hypnosis; this group may benefit more from biofeedback and other methods.


There are many published, well-controlled research studies that focus on the use of hypnosis with surgery. In a recent review of 18 of these studies1, the overall result was that most patients treated with hypnosis have moderate to significantly better surgical outcomes including reports of less pain, use of fewer pain medications, and faster recovery. For example, medical hypnosis for orthopedic hand surgery, which is typically very painful, showed benefits that included significantly less post-surgery pain and anxiety, and fewer complications2. In a different study, 339 patients undergoing thyroid and parathyroid neck surgery, were divided into two groups. One group had hypnosis and an intravenous medication that kept them conscious while the other group was given general anesthesia. The hypnosis group had less pain, used fewer pain medications, and had shorter hospital stays3. In a similar study of 241 patients who underwent invasive medical procedures4, those who received pre-surgical instruction in self-hypnosis had less pain and anxiety than those who did not receive self-hypnosis instruction. In summary, a year 2000 review of published articles in the field of hypnosis concluded that "the research to date generally substantiates the claim that hypnotic procedures can ameliorate many psychological and medical conditions." 5

There has also been evidence that hypnosis may affect the way that pain is processed in the brain. In a recent study, volunteers who plunged their hands into hot water were measured by a PET scan. Later, they were hypnotized and told that the water would not seem as painfully hot. During hypnosis, the PET scan was readministered, showing significantly less activation in the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that is involved in expanding feelings of emotional distress and can also influence the inhibition of pain. On the other hand, the PET scan data obtained during hypnosis showed no decrease in activation in the somatosensory cortex region which is involved in processing the sensation of pain.6 These results suggest that even though the brain may continue to register the sensation of pain, hypnosis seems to help patients shift their experience of pain away from distress and suffering.

Hypnotic intervention has also been used successfully with many types of specific pain. In the treatment of burn patients, hypnosis has been used to reduce the pain associated with debridement (the scrubbing away of burned tissue to give new tissue a chance to grow) and wound cleaning, to modulate anxiety related to burn procedures, and to enhance coping styles such as repression and intellectualizing.7 With cancer patients, hypnotic suggestion helps to reduce the suffering related to many painful procedures such as the administration of chemotherapy and treatment-related throat pain and nausea. Hypnosis can also help to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches, and to relieve tension headaches8. In the area of dentistry, hypnosis is used to reduce orofacial pain held in the muscles and jaw, and pain, distress, and anxiety related to specific dental procedures such as root canals and extractions. Other significantly effective applications of hypnosis include reduction of anxiety and physical pain related to invasive medical procedures including endoscopies, intubation, catheter discomfort, and blood transfusions.


1 Montgomery, G.H., DuHamel, K.N., and Redd, W.N. (2000). A meta-analysis of hypnotic analgesia: How effective is hypnosis? International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 48, 138-153.

2 Mauer, M.G., Burnett, K.F., Ouellette, E.A., Ironson, G.H., & Dandes, H.M. Medical hypnosis and orthopedic hand surgery: Pain perception, postoperative recovery, and therapeutic comfort. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 47, 144-161.

3 Defechereux, T., Meurisse, M., Hamoir, E., Gollogly, L., Joris, J., & Faymonville, M.E. (1999). Hypnoanesthesia for endocrine cervical surgery: A statement of practice. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 5, 509-520.

4 Lang, E.V., Benotsch, E.G., Fick, L.J., Lutgendorf, S., Berbaum, M.L., Berbaum, K.S., Logan, H., & Spiegel, D. (2000). Adjunctive non-pharmacological analgesia for invasive medical procedures: A randomized trial.Lancet, 355, 1486-1490.

5 Montgomery, G.H., David, D., Winkel, G., Silverstein, J.H., and Bovbjerg, D.H. The effectiveness of adjunctive hypnosis with surgical patients: A meta-analysis. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 94, 1639-1645.

6 Rainville, P., Duncan, G.H., Price, D.D., Carrier, B., & Bushnell, M.C. Pain affect encoded in human anterior cingulated but not somatosensory cortex.Science, 277, 968-971.

7 Patterson, David. (1996). Burn pain. In Joseph Barber (Ed.), Hypnosis and Suggestion in the Treatment of Pain, pp. 267-302. New York: Norton.

8 Barber, J. (Ed.). (1996). Headache. In J. Barber (Ed.). Hypnosis and Suggestion in the Treatment of Pain, 158-184. New York: Norton.


Hypnosis for Weight Loss: Does It Work?

Yes, research demonstrates a significant effect when using hypnosis for weight loss.


In a 9-week study of two weight management groups (one using hypnosis and one not using hypnosis), the hypnosis group continued to get results in the two-year follow-up, while the non-hypnosis group showed no further results (Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1985).

In a study of 60 women separated into hypnosis versus non-hypnosis groups, the groups using hypnosis lost an average of 17 pounds, while the non-hypnosis group lost an average of only .5 pounds (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1986).

In a meta-analysis, comparing the results of adding hypnosis to weight loss treatment across multiple studies showed that adding hypnosis increased weight loss by an average of 97% during treatment, and even more importantly increased the effectiveness POST TREATMENT by over 146%. This shows that hypnosis works even better over time (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1996).

Here are some of the studies:

Cochrane, Gordon; Friesen, J. (1986). Hypnotherapy in weight loss treatment.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 489-492.

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

Allison, David B.; Faith, Myles S. Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for obesity: A meta-analytic reappraisal. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 1996 Jun Vol 64(3) 513-516

Stradling J, Roberts D, Wilson A, Lovelock F. Controlled trial of hypnotherapy for weight loss in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. International Journal of Obesity Related Metababolic Disorders. 1998 Mar;22(3):278-81.


Hypnosis and Healing

Hypnosis helps healing: Surgical wounds mend faster


By William J. Cromie Harvard University Gazette

Marie McBrown was invited to test whether or not hypnosis would help heal the scars from her breast surgery. Marie (not her real name) and 17 other women underwent surgery to reduce their breast size.

It's a common operation for women whose breasts are large enough to cause back and shoulder strain, interfere with routine tasks, or prompt social and psychological problems. The pain and course of healing from such surgery is well-known, and a team of researchers headed by Carol Ginandes of Harvard Medical School and Patricia Brooks of the Union Institute in Cincinnati wanted to determine if hypnosis could speed wound healing and recovery.

"Hypnosis has been used in Western medicine for more than 150 years to treat everything from anxiety to pain, from easing the nausea of cancer chemotherapy to enhancing sports performance," Ginandes says. A list of applications she provides includes treatment of phobias, panic, low self-esteem, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, stress, smoking, colitis, warts, headaches, and high blood pressure.

"All these functional uses may help a person feel better," Ginandes continues. "I am also interested in using hypnosis to help people get better physically. That means using the mind to make structural changes in the body, to accelerate healing at the tissue level."

Four years ago, Ginandes and Daniel Rosenthal, professor of radiology at the Harvard Medical School, published a report on their study of hypnosis to speed up the mending of broken bones. They recruited 12 people with broken ankles who did not require surgery and who received the usual treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. In addition, Ginandes hypnotized half of them once a week for 12 weeks, while the other half received only normal treatment. The same doctor applied the casts and other care, and the same radiologists took regular X-rays to monitor how well they healed. A radiologist who evaluated the X-rays did not know which patients underwent hypnosis.

The result stood out like a sore ankle. Those who were hypnotized healed faster than those who were not. Six weeks after the fracture, those in the hypnosis group showed the equivalent of eight and a half weeks of healing.

How to Hypnotize

Not everyone is convinced by the results. Some experts claim that the differences can be explained by the extra attention — the increased psychological support — given to the hypnotized patients. So when she was ready to try hypnosis again on 18 breast surgery patients, Ginandes randomly separated them into three groups. All got the same surgical care by the same doctors. Six received standard care only, six also received attention and support and from a psychologist, and six underwent hypnosis before and after their surgery.

Hypnosis sessions occurred once a week for eight weeks. Psychological soothing took place on the same schedule.

Ginandes did not put the patients to sleep by swinging a watch like a pendulum while the patients lay on a couch. "That only happens in the movies," she laughs. "In hypnosis, people don't lose control and go into a zombie-like state where they can be made to do things against their will. They don't have to lie down, you can enter a state of hypnosis standing up, even standing on your head. Patients don't even go to sleep, rather, they enter a state of absorbed awareness, not unlike losing oneself in a good book or favorite piece of music."

While in this state, Ginandes offered suggestions that were custom-tailored to different stages of surgery and healing, Before surgery, the suggestions emphasized lessening pain and anxiety. "You can even suggest to a patient that she can reduce bleeding during surgery by controlling her blood flow," Ginandes notes. Overall, the suggestions focused on things such as expectation of comfort, decreased inflammation, diminished scar tissue, accelerated wound healing, return to normal activities, and adjustments to self-image.

The women received audio tapes of these sessions so they could practice at home.

At one week and seven weeks after surgery, nurses and doctors participating in the study visibly assessed and measured the wounds of all three groups without knowing which group the women were in. They took digital photographs for three physicians to review. Each patient also rated her own healing progress and how much pain she felt on scales of zero to 10.

The result was clear. Marie McBrown and the women who had undergone hypnosis healed significantly faster than the others. Those who received supportive attention came in second.

From hooey to hurrah

The researchers reported these results in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. This report, of course, doesn't prove conclusively that hypnosis will accelerate the healing of wounds. The biggest limitation of the study involves the small number of patients, which makes it difficult to generalize the results to other types of wounds. Then there is the possible effect of expectation, the belief of some patients that hypnotism will work. It's the same effect seen when people who take a sugar pill for a backache do as well as people who take medicine. It's going to require more studies involving many more people to get the majority of doctors to shout hurrah instead of hooey.

Ginandes agrees. "Our study underscores the need for further scientific testing of hypnosis," she says. "Subsequent studies might clarify unresolved speculations about the mechanisms by which hypnotic suggestion can trigger the physical and psychological effects that we see."

She and her colleagues suggest future experiments to compare the effects of simple hypnotic relaxation versus "targeted suggestions for tissue healing." They would also like to see more work done using hypnosis for people suffering from other kinds of wounds, such as foot ulcers caused by diabetes.

Nevertheless, Ginandes believes that the study of healing after breast surgery "breaks the ground for studying a broad and exciting range of new adjunctive treatments. Since clinical hypnosis is a noninvasive, nondrug treatment, finding that it can speed healing of wounds and other conditions could lead to fewer visits to doctors' offices and faster return to normal activities. Also, further investigation might confirm our supposition that the mind can influence healing of the body."


Are your allergies making your 4th of July Picnic unbearable? Try hypnosis, says East Bay CA expert.


"We simply use hypnosis, guided imagery and other related tools to help your immune system react appropriately to the substances that are not otherwise harmful," (Press Release Distribution) - Jul 02,2011 -With allergy forecasts ranging from "Moderate" to "Extreme" for the 4th of July weekend in Northern California, grass pollen, tree pollen and ragweed may chase allergy sufferers throughout the East Bay area away from picnics, parties and parades.

Most allergy sufferers turn to antihistamines and decongestants for relief. But hypnotherapy offers a drug-free alternative.

How can hypnosis—most often thought of as a way to help people lose weight or stop smoking—help relieve allergy symptoms?

"Hay fever and allergies are physical manifestations of immune processes that can be controlled at the subconscious level," says Dennis Atkinson. "An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system encounters a foreign substance like cat dander or grass pollen," he says. "These substances are not poisonous or harmful for most people.

But if you suffer from an allergy, your immune system overreacts to something harmless like pollen—sending out killer T-cells as though it's an anthrax spore or bubonic plague bacteria. Your body is flooded with histamines. Your eyes water, you sneeze, you get itchy. You may get congested."

"The good news is that the immune system can be retrained with hypnotherapy," says Atkinson, who is certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners.

"Many people with minor environmental allergies can give up decongestants and antihistamines completely after just a few sessions," says Atkinson. The retired police officer founded his hypnotherapy practice in Fairfield, California in 2009.

A hypnosis study published in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis reported that 86% of the study participants who had been taking medication for allergy relief had been able to reduce their medications. Three out of four participants reported an improvement in their symptoms.

"We simply use hypnosis, guided imagery and other related tools to help your immune system react appropriately to the substances that are not otherwise harmful," says Atkinson.

For more information about hypnotherapy for allergy relief, contact Dennis Atkinson at 707-474-9230. An initial consultation for allergy sufferers is $45 and includes an assessment, a hypnosis session, and customized hypnosis CD to take home.