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Quit Smoking through the Use of Hypnosis

Hokey movies and books often portray hypnosis as an experience where a hapless victim falls completely under the spell of some wild-eyed guru with bad intentions. The truth is far less exotic, and far more positive than most people believe. For example, when it comes to using hypnotherapy as a tool to quit smoking, the research results are surprisingly in favor of hypnosis as a smoking cessation aid.

Research on Hypnotherapy as Part of a Quit Smoking Program

Arreed Barabasz, the coauthor of "Hypnotherapeutic Techniques," is also the director of the laboratory for hypnosis research at Washington State University Pullman. He used hypnosis with 300 relapsed smokers who classified themselves as "heavy smokers." When he followed up with them 18 months after the end of the therapy, he found that 50 percent of them were still smoke-free, in comparison to the typical 10 percent success rate for those who only used a nicotine replacement therapy.

Other research shows even more positive results. In a study conducted at Texas A&M University, 81 percent of smokers who completed a course of hypnotherapy for smoking cessation reported that they had quit smoking, and 48 percent of them remained smoke free after a year. A study published in the 2005 Journal of Nursing Scholarship found that smokers who used hypnosis as part of their efforts to quit smoking were twice as likely to still be smoke free two years later.

What to Expect from Hypnosis

For starters, expect that the office will look like a typical therapist's office or clinic. On your first visit, you'll fill out a typical medical history form and talk about what you hope to get from hypnosis treatments. The therapist will take the time to talk to you about hypnosis and to answer your questions so that you understand what to expect. He'll then take you through a guided relaxation exercise to help you open your mind and become more receptive to suggestions, and make a few suggestions to help you toward your goal of quitting smoking. For example, he may suggest that in the future, you'll find the taste of cigarettes unpleasant, or tell you to picture your lungs getting cleaner and clearer each time you resist the urge to light up. At the end of the session, he may send you home with an audiotape to help you practice what you've learned, or make suggestions for homework before your next session.

How Long Does it Take?

Many people start seeing results within one to two sessions, suggests the research. The group hypnosis sessions that travel around the countryside are typically useless because there is little follow-up. You and your hypnotherapist will monitor and evaluate your progress and decide how to proceed based on your success.

If you live in or around Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, North Shields, South Shields or Gateshead, and you want to stop smoking, contact a local hypnosis clinic to find out how easy it can be to put down your cigarettes and walk away for good.

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