Does Gastric Band Hypnotherapy work?

What Is Gastric Band Hypnotherapy?

Gastric band hypnotherapy is a technique involving hypnosis that helps a patient feel they have undergone a gastric band procedure and have one fitted, without actually requiring them to undergo the surgery.The mind is retrained using methods such as hypnosis, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and neuro linguistic programming (NLP). During this retraining, individuals are convinced that they have had a gastric band fitted. With this knowledge, they will “feel” the same lack of hunger that those who actually have the band do, and therefore eat less. The hypnotherapist can also address psychological and emotional issues that could have lead to overeating and caused the obesity, reducing the chances that an individual will revert to this behaviour once the treatment is complete. It is common for the hypnotherapist to recreate the surgery itself, relaxing individuals into a state of hypnosis and simulating the operating room to help patients feel as though they are genuinely about to be fitted with a gastric band.

The technique has been used with success in the UK, USA and Australia and is designed for people who have a body mass index of twenty five or over. There are many reasons why patients may wish to opt for gastric band hypnotherapy instead of the surgical procedure. Some may be unable to afford the operation privately, while others may be off-put or scared by the thought of the actual procedure and/or the recovery. Hypnotherapy provides a non-surgical alternative that can assist with weight loss.


How Is The Treatment Performed?

The treatment is normally carried out over a period of time, usually consisting of five sessions, with its aim being to gradually trick the persons mind into thinking they are having a gastric band fitted. It uses a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy and guided imagery.

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During these sessions, patients undergo hypnotherapy to make them believe that they are having the surgery carried out and having a gastric band fitted. This is achieved by combining cognitive behavioral therapy and imagery to evoke the same feelings of having a surgical procedure. The operation is recreated step by step, with everything from the administration of anaesthetic to the incision, insertion of the gastric band and closing sutures being reconstructed.

It is common for a practitioner to include imagery and sound effects that would appear during the actual procedure to assist with the hypnotherapy. Subsequently after the treatment, patients are often given follow-on recordings and materials to reinforce the belief that they are now living with a gastric band. Following the procedure, individuals should feel the same as those with a band fitted, meaning they are less hungry and enjoy smaller portion sizes during meals. Ongoing visualisation techniques may be used to strengthen the hypnotherapy results; for example, a patient may be told to picture themselves in an item of clothing or in a photograph, and hold onto this visualistion as a deterrent should they be tempted with over eating.

The actual surgical procedure of having a gastric band fitted is explained to the patient under hypnosis, sometimes with operating room sound effects in the background. During the first four sessions the patient is guided to imagine all of the usual preparation that would normally be done in the surgical process of having a gastric band. The fifth session is when they will have the virtual band fitted. Under hypnosis positive dietary changes are given and weight loss techniques. The patient will often be given recordings that re enforces the healthy living message that they can continue to listen to at home.


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Is This Safe?

Unlike a surgical operation to have a gastric band fitted this process is entirely safe. There is no recovery period, no side effects and no stress and trauma to the patients mind or body. The patient should have a realistic expectation of what this process can do for them but they must completely believe that the process will work for results to be achieved. In no way will the hypnotist try to make you do anything under hypnosis and you will be back to your normal self when you have been brought out of the trance. The relaxation techniques used when you go into a hypnotic state may make you feel calmer and more relaxed in general after the session. For this reason patients are advised to get someone to drive them too and from the session.


Does It Work?

There are many different opinions out there as to if this process actually works. Regardless it has helped many people to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle without having a surgical operation. The main thing that will make this work is the patient’s complete belief in the process. If you believe any type of hypnotherapy will help you make changes to your life then there is a good chance that this procedure will work for you. Whether positive effects from hypnosis have been down to the patient firmly believing they have had a gastric band fitted or the patient listening to the healthy diet and lifestyle advice under hypnosis is not clear. The surgical view is that this will not work. However, even the most clinical of institutions do believe in the power of mind over matter. This is what hypnosis will do. It will re programme how the person feels about food in general. If you firmly believe in the procedure there is no reason why it may not work for you. It has got to be worth trying before embarking on a painful and dramatic surgical procedure.

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