Thursday, 23 January 2014

Hypnosis in the news

On Friday 24th January at 11am, I will be hosting my radio show, "Christy Hypnotherapy" which is now aired every other week on Natural Health Radio.

Recently I decided to take a look through the press to see what articles, press releases and interesting stories I could find about hypnosis and  hypnotherapy. I was surprised by the sheer number I found which have appeared in various publications (both online and in paper) in just the past few months so I thought it would be interesting to review some of these on my next radio show.

During my 60 minute show I'm going to be talking through some of these articles, discussing the relevance of hypnotherapy in today's society and also talking through some experiences with my own clients. It may be surprising for some listeners to learn the wide range of situations where hypnosis can be useful, especially when combined with more 'conventional' medicine.

To listen live, please head over to at 11am on Friday 24th. The show will also be replayed at various points over the coming week so if you miss it on Friday, please check the schedule for replays.

And please do contact me if you have any questions or comments about what I'm discussing: just email me at or call me on 01252 334377.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

How does hypnosis work?

One definition of hypnosis I recently came across is that it is, "a state of aroused, attentive, focal concentration with a relative reduction in peripheral awareness". I wanted to begin this blog with this definition as I think it helps explain that hypnosis does not mean you go unconscious, become unaware of what is happening or that you have reduced control over yourself. In fact the complete opposite is true - my clients very often experience feelings of having a heightened sense of awareness and feelings of increased personal control.

So how does hypnosis work? To help explain I would like to quote Deb Barton, who is an Associate Professor of Oncolocy at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, in the USA who says, "The brain is the central headquarters for a lot of the chemicals that really govern the physiological processes in our bodies". She also says "There have been several studies that show that, through providing various messages to the mind, these chemicals change". The end result of this chemical shift can for some, produce a significant change in the way we feel.

As part of the process of inducing hypnosis, people are often asked to imagine a pleasant scene such as a beach or a forest... the point of this is firstly to help relax the person physically and mentally and also to 'wake up' the imagination. When we daydream or become engrossed in something (like a good film) our brains cycle from the 'beta' (or waking state) to an 'alpha' state. Hypnosis has a very similar effect, and by using metaphor, it helps the brain to be more open to suggestion which can re-calibrate our mind-body connection. Whilst some people think they can't be hypnotised, it's actually true that people who have good imaginations are actually extremely good at it. Most people can be hypnotised to some degree - the only question is how far they can go.

Part of the reason why hypnosis works is that the deep relaxation of the hypnotic state is hugely beneficial. Many illnessess (both psychological or physical) are aggravated by anxiety and muscle tension so the negative symptoms can be significantly reduced through relaxation alone. The hypnotic state, whilst relaxing, is not however specifically therapeutic in itself; but rather the suggestions and images which are repeated to the client which can profoundly alter behaviour. So for example if a client was experiencing pain, I might use a metaphor that they imagine the pain as a red light or red liquid which is hot in temperature. I would then suggest they gradually change the colour to perhaps a cooling, soothing blue - the result is a significant reduction in the experience of discomfort for the client.

So in summary, hypnosis works by first helping our brain move toward an 'alpha' brainwave state where we can access our imagination and establish a stronger mind-body connection. Once this has happened, a hypnotherapist will then often use visualisation and metaphor to help the client change the way they think and feel. As people then rehearse the new ways they want to think and feel over time, they lay the groundwork for powerful changes in their future actions. Simples!

If you are interested in finding out how hypnosis could benefit you, please call Christy today on 01252 334377 or email