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What's It Like: Being hypnotized for medical reasons

Through hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, people enter trance state and become more open to suggestions that could help them improve their health. Sometimes people use hypnosis to quit smoking or lose weight.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: November 4, 2012

Each person is different in how much they remember. Most hypnotherapists will record your session using an audio recorder or a video camera. This recording is available for you in case you would like to know more about what took place. The session will usually take between 30 minutes and an hour.

Does it hurt?

It shouldn't. The only pain you might feel could be emotional pain if you're dealing with past trauma. It's not uncommon to cry a little, because you're releasing emotions and relaxing.

What are the risks?

Hypnosis is generally considered safe, if performed by a trained professional. There aren't many risk factors to hypnotherapy. It's rare, but you might headache, dizziness, nausea, anxiety or creation of false memories.

One risk factor is that it might not work. It's best to research hypnotherapists and hypnotists before using their services.

What's the follow-up?

The number of times people go back varies and is based on the severity of the case and the individual. For example, people going for weight loss who need to lose a significant number of pounds might go back five times. Others trying to quit smoking might go back fewer times. Sometimes after a year or so, people might want to go back for another session to refresh their minds.

Source: Charles Bender, hypnotist, chief financial officer and programs director at Chrysalis Institute in Moore; National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; The Mayo Clinic.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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