This week, thousands of Americans began taking harmful and unnecessary drugs in an effort to stop smoking, and most of them will soon be smoking again. Thursday, November 20, 2008 marked the 33rd Annual Great American Smokeout: a day intended to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking.
Everyone knows that smoking is dangerous, but it’s frightening that most smokers aren’t aware of the dangers of drugs like Chantix. People need to know that some of the methods intended to help them quit are even more dangerous than smoking itself.
This year, Americans who’ve been hesitant to try hypnosis in the past should find it even more appealing as a solution, especially in light of these facts:
- According to a recent study by Forbes.com, the average smoker could save $1000/year by quitting.
- A 2004 Duke University report calculated the true cost of smoking to be $40/pack.
- According to the London Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1084156/Anti-smoking-drug-linked-10-British-suicides.html) and USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-02-01-220606507_x.htm), Chantix has been linked to suicide and depression.
- In this 1992 study (http://www.purehypnosis.com/documents/SmokingCessationandHypnosis.pdf), hypnosis was scientifically proven to be an effective method to stop smoking.
- Samuel Jackson, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Ellen Degeneres, Charlize Theron and Drew Barrymore have all used hypnosis to quit.
In this economy, the thought of saving an extra $1000/year is very appealing to Americans struggling just to pay their mortgages and fill their gas tanks.
However, the real price of smoking is even more alarming.
In their book “The Price of Smoking,” Duke University health economists calculated the price of $40 per pack “by analyzing all the costs of smoking — personally, to the smoker’s family and to society at large.”
Although popular, many smoking cessation aids have dangerous or undesirable side-effects. According to the makers of the nicotine patch, side-effects may include “rashes, irregular heartbeat or palpitations, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness and rapid heartbeat.”
Chantix (known as Champix in the UK) is far more risky, and according to AboutLawsuits.com (http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/chantix-160/), it is now involved in a number of lawsuits, some related to suicide. Furthermore, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices reports that Chantix is linked to at least 50 deaths in the US during the first quarter of 2008.
When you really look at the alternatives, hypnosis is by far the fastest, safest and most affordable solution available.
Now that popular celebrities like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Ellen Degeneres, and Oprah Winfrey have publicly endorsed hypnosis, many more people are jumping on board.
People used to be very hesitant to try hypnosis because of what they’ve seen in movies, but now that the guys from Good Will Hunting have been hypnotized to quit, suddenly they’re far more open to it.
While thousands of people have attempted to quit smoking in tandem with the Smokeout, the American Cancer Society’s website says most people trying to quit will return to the habit within three months, if not sooner. That’s why it’s important to choose a method that’s structured to help smokers quit for good, even after a relapse.
Most hypnosis clients stop smoking after a session, two, or three of hypnosis.
If smokers do their research and look at the facts, they’re more likely to find the help they need.
Hypnosis is not the only way to quit, but people can be successful without putting dangerous chemicals into their bodies. Here’s hoping that this year, more choose a method that will allow them to celebrate a full year as a non-smoker when the next Smokeout rolls around in November of 2009.
Dr. Dave Hill, DCH
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” -Walt Disney
My husband, Richard, smoked cigarettes for 50 years, having failed several attempts to quit on his own. When a friend told him in August 1994 that hypnosis had enabled her to quit, he decided to give it a try.
“It didn’t work; I wasn’t hypnotized,” he declared after his one and only session. But it did work; since that day, he has not taken one puff of a cigarette.
Gloria Kanter of Boynton Beach, Florida, thought her attempt in 1985 to use hypnosis to overcome her fear of flying had failed. “When the therapist brought me out, I said it didn’t work,” she recalled in an interview. “I told her, ‘I heard everything you said.”‘
Nonetheless, the next time she and her husband headed for the airport, she was not drenched in sweat and paralyzed with fear. “I was just fine,” she said, “and I’ve been fine ever since.”
Like many others whose knowledge of hypnotism comes from movies and stage shows, my husband and Kanter misunderstood what hypnosis is all about. While in a hypnotic trance, you are neither unconscious nor asleep, but rather in a deeply relaxed state that renders the mind highly focused and ready to accept suggestions to help you accomplish your goals.
Hypnosis has been mired in controversy for two centuries, and its benefits are often overstated. It does not help everyone who wants to quit smoking, for example; then again, neither do other kinds of treatments.
And the patient’s attitude is critical. In the words of Brian Alman, a psychologist who practices hypnosis in San Diego, “The power of hypnosis actually resides in the patient and not in the doctor.”
Roberta Temes, a clinical hypnotist in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, insists that hypnosis cannot make people do anything they don’t want to do. Hypnosis can succeed only in helping people make changes they desire, she said in an interview.
In her book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hypnosis,” Temes points out that success in achieving your goal is the best proof that you were really hypnotized. She also suggests a second or third session if you didn’t quite reach your goal after the first try.
In effect, hypnosis is the epitome of mind-body medicine. It can enable the mind to tell the body how to react, and modify the messages that the body sends to the mind. It has been used to counter the nausea of pregnancy and chemotherapy; dental and test-taking anxiety; pain associated with surgery, root canal treatment and childbirth; fear of flying and public speaking; compulsive hair-pulling; and intractable hiccups, among many other troublesome health issues.
Writing in The Permanente Journal in 2001, Alman said that “useful potential” for benefiting from hypnosis “exists within each patient.” “The goal of modern medical hypnosis,” he said, “is to help patients use this unconscious potential.”
Alman described a 65-year-old concentration camp survivor who repeatedly choked when she tried to swallow, though examinations of her esophagus revealed no obstruction. After three hypnotherapy sessions, her problem was solved. “I was liberated from my esophagus,” the patient said.
You may not even have to be face to face with a hypnotist to benefit medically. Temes said hypnosis could be helpful even if done with a cassette tape or CD, or by telephone, which she offers as part of her practice. She said many helpful CDs could be found through the Web site http://www.hypnosisnetwork.com.
Ellen Fineman, a physical therapist in Portland, Oregon, had had five surgeries to repair a retina that kept detaching. Hoping that a sixth attempt would hold, she used a hypnosis tape prepared by Temes for patients undergoing surgery.
The tape “was very calming and reassuring,” Fineman said in an interview. “It told me that I would be in the hands of professionals who would take good care of me and that I’d have minimal swelling,” she said. “This time the surgery went superbly – no inflammation, no swelling and no more detachment. The surgeon was amazed and asked what I had done differently this time.”
As with any other profession, some hypnotherapists are more talented than others. Temes suggests that word of mouth may be the best way to find someone practiced in hypnosis for the kind of problem you’re trying to solve.
While not everyone is easily hypnotized, nearly everyone can slip into a therapeutic trance, Temes maintains. Another of her patients, Dr. Susan Clarvit, a New York psychiatrist, thought she could not be hypnotized – she was too scientific, too rational a person, she said.
“But I was desperate,” Clarvit said in an interview. “I was pregnant with my second child and too nauseated to be alive. Dr. Temes asked me what I held most often, and I said a pen. She hypnotized me so that when I held a pen I had an overall feeling of wellness. I held a pen all the time, even while driving, and didn’t feel nauseated.”
Under hypnosis, Clarvit was given a posthypnotic suggestion that linked holding a pen to feeling well. Such suggestions enable people to practice a new, desired behavior after being brought out of the trance.
Someone trying to overcome snacking on sweets might be told, “When you are hungry, you will eat vegetables.” The suggestion to a smoker might be “you will drink water when you want a cigarette.”
Sometimes patients with well-established illnesses can benefit indirectly from hypnosis. Alman told of a woman with multiple sclerosis who was treated with hypnosis for depression that had failed to improve with antidepressants. Almost immediately, he reported, not only did the woman’s depression ease, but her gait and speech improved markedly.
He explained that for many patients the medical problem is so complex that specific directions and commands may be ineffective. The benefit from hypnosis may rely more on unleashing unconscious processes within the patient. He suggested that there exists “a wealth of material in the patient’s unconscious that can be used in healing” but lamented the fact that although medical hypnosis can often produce rapid change even in difficult cases, it is “underutilized as a therapeutic tool.”
“When you were born, you didn’t come with an owner’s manual; these guidelines make life work better.” – Source for The Rules for Being Human is Anonymous.
1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s the only thing you are sure to keep for the rest of your life.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life on planet earth. Every person or incident is the Universal Teacher.
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation. “Failures” are as much a part of the process as “success.”
4. A lesson is repeated until learned. It is presented to you in various forms until you learn it–then you can go on to the next lesson.
5. If you don’t learn easy lessons, they get harder. External problems are a precise reflection of your internal state. When you clear inner obstructions, your outside world changes. Pain is how the universe gets your attention.
6. You will know you’ve learned a lesson when your actions change. Wisdom is practice. A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.
7. “There” is no better than “here.” When your “there” becomes a “here” you will simply obtain another “there” that again looks better than “here.”
8. Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another unless it reflects something you love or hate in yourself.
9. Your life is up to you. Life provides the canvas: you do the painting. Take charge of your life–or someone else will.
10. You always get what you want. Your subconscious rightfully determines what energies, experiences, and people you attract–therefore, the only foolproof way to know what you want is to see what you have. There are no victims, only students.
11. There is no right or wrong, but there are consequences. Moralizing doesn’t help. Judgments only hold the patterns in place. Just do your best.
12. Your answers lie inside you. Children need guidance from others: as we mature, we trust our hearts, where the Laws of Spirit are written. You know more than you have heard or read or been told. All you need to do is to look, listen, and trust.
13. You will forget all this.
14. You can remember any time you wish.
How can children benefit from hypnotherapy? In more ways than you might imagine. Hypnotherapy can help to eliminate childish habits such as bed-wetting and nose-picking. It can help develop good study habits, improve concentration and learning ability, develop motivation, creativity, and self-esteem. It can help deal with grief or loss. Most importantly, it can head-off potential psychological damage that might be caused by misunderstanding the words of an adult.
Hypnotherapists have file cabinets filled with case histories of adults who have sought help understanding childhood memories. It is really amazing how much damage can be done by well-meaning, but misunderstood remarks. Especially when the remarks come from a trusted source like a parent or a teacher.
Children all have individual personalities, just as adults do. They each respond to comments by authority figures in their own way. For instance, a parent might see a poor report card and try to use reverse psychology to motivate the child. The parent might say something like: “I can’t believe any kid of mine is this dumb.” If the child has enough self-confidence, it might provoke him into trying harder; but if the child is insecure, a statement like that could make him believe that he really is dumb, or worse, that his father or mother does not love him.
Hypnotherapy can help children to understand what was really meant, and prevent the misunderstanding from becoming an emotional scar that would limit their personal growth or performance throughout their life.
Children are actually the best subjects for hypnotherapy. Prior to beginning any program, a hypnotherapist should take the time to interview the child; to find out what the child likes and dislikes. This will ensure that the best imagery is used, and the child will have a positive response to hypnotherapy.
Once they develop an adequate attention span, children are easily hypnotized. Children spend most of their waking hours playing games and indulging in fantasies or pretend experiences; in which they become totally absorbed. For this reason, play can become an excellent method for implementing therapeutic suggestions. Hand puppets and stuffed animals easily capture a child’s attention and therefore make excellent tools for implementing therapeutic suggestions.
Children may not realize the potential power of visualization. Yet they have this natural talent for dreaming and for picturing things in their minds. They respond beautifully to fairy tales and bedtime stories. They like to imagine that they have a part in the story being told, and they slip into hypnosis easily.
Teenagers can also benefit from hypnotherapy. It can be effective in improving concentration and learning ability. It can also be helpful in dealing with behavior problems such as delinquency and drug addiction. With teenagers, however, motivation plays a much larger roll. It is essential they understand and want the change.