Karen Weintraub, Special for USA TODAY
Published on: Jan 21, 2014
Source: USA Today
Amy Lavier, a resident of Watertown, Massachusetts, lost 50 pounds with the help of hypnosis. After failed attempts at diets and gym memberships, she decided to give hypnosis a try.
Hypnotism has been around since the mid-19th century, when it was often used as a parlor trick. Today, hypnotherapy is commonly used to break unhealthy habits like smoking, to rid people of phobias and to treat panic attacks.
Studies have found that hypnosis is effective for behavioral change, as well as for reducing surgical and cancer pain, nausea and fatigue in conjunction with other treatments.
Unlike the stereotype from old movies, hypnotherapy does not put people to sleep and old pocket watches are not involved. Instead, the client, with closed eyes, is guided through a series of relaxing imagery and ideas. The client is put into a trance where the hypnotherapist gives the client suggestions to help with the problem.
Hypnotism is not magic. It requires that the client is convinced that she wants to break the unhealthy habit. Success comes, as with Lavieri, after weeks or months of hard work.