Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, but it rarely happens easily.
Withdrawal symptoms and nicotine cravings can make quitting a challenge, which is why many of us rely on supportive aids such as nicotine patches. A slightly unusual method that has proved popular is hypnosis.
Hypnosis might be more commonly associated with stage magicians, but it is becoming a recognized treatment for conditions such as addiction.
Hypnotherapists work by planting suggestions into the focused mental state of a subject. Many credit hypnotherapy with helping them to kick a bad habit for good.
Although some have found hypnotherapy to help, research into its effectiveness is still needed. In this guide, we’ll cover how hypnotherapy is used to quit smoking, the potential benefits, and any associated risks.
Giving up smoking is hard, but understanding potential resources can help you find a method that works for you.
Hypnotherapy And Smoking
When you hear the word ‘hypnosis’, what comes to mind? You probably picture something akin to a circus act, with people being made to do silly things in a trance state. You might not imagine hypnosis doing much good when it comes to fighting addiction.
However, the hypnotherapy used to quit smoking is quite different from these performances. A trained hypnotherapist helps the subject to reach a deep meditative state.
While in this state the subject feels relaxed, and finds it easier to focus. The hypnotherapist is then able to make suggestions and give advice. The hypnotized subject is more likely to be receptive to these ideas.
What a hypnotherapist can’t do is force you to do something you really don’t want to.
How Can Hypnosis Potentially Help You Quit Smoking?
Hypnotherapy works differently to some other stop smoking aids such as nicotine gum and patches. Instead of helping you to slowly replace and remove addictive nicotine, hypnosis is intended to fight the desire to stop smoking in the mind.
It attempts to break the need by changing your associations with smoking. After hypnotherapy, a smoker should no longer associate cigarettes with feelings of happiness.
Hypnotherapy often tackles smoking from three angles.
First, a hypnotherapist will fight the desire to smoke. This might be done by getting the subject to focus on the negatives of smoking: bad smells, dry mouth, and the effect on the body.
Second, they will try and build the willpower to quit. Reminding the subject of the benefits of a life smoke-free, both healthwise and socially, can be used to increase the desire to give up. Hypnotherapy tries to put the subject back in control of the habit.
Finally, a hypnotherapist can help a subject to focus on and reinforce their plan to quit. The therapist might try and suggest healthy smoking alternatives, and work on breaking negative patterns.
Hypnotherapy isn’t a radical approach to quitting smoking, and it won’t leave you in an altered state.
Much of what a hypnotherapist says are thoughts that those trying to quit smoking will have already experienced. Instead of planting new ideas, hypnotherapy works to reinforce positive behaviors, fight negative behaviors, and improve focus.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Hypnosis For Smoking?
There are no associated risks with using hypnotherapy as an aid to quitting smoking. Reviews into hypnotherapy suggest that under clinical conditions it is safe to do.
However, those who experience hallucinations or psychotic symptoms should speak with a doctor first.
What Happens In A Hypnotherapy Session?
The ‘unknown’ aspect of hypnotherapy can be off-putting for those looking for methods to stop smoking. By understanding what is likely to happen in a hypnotherapy session, you can decide whether this method appeals to you.
An initial session will begin with a discussion. The therapist will ask about your goals, and what you hope to accomplish by trying hypnosis.
They’ll want to know more about your habit, and what has motivated you to quit. They’ll also want to establish which methods you’ve already tried, and what you might be doing alongside hypnotherapy.
You may want to ask the hypnotherapist what they plan to do. This can help to put you in the right mindset, and help you prepare. Therapists will use different methods to tackle the issue, so ask if you feel unsure.
The hypnotherapist will then guide you towards a meditative state. You should be feeling relaxed and focused. Various verbal cues will be used to help you achieve this state.
Once you’ve achieved your meditative state, the therapist will make suggestions. These comments will focus on the negatives of smoking, the benefits of quitting, and reinforcing your willpower.
It’s important to enter hypnotherapy with an open mind. Hypnotherapy uses the power of suggestion to alter your thought patterns, and this can’t work if you remain resistant.
How Can Hypnosis Help You Quit Smoking?
Once you understand what’s happening, hypnotherapy is quite simple. However, you might still be wondering how it actually works. Research into the effectiveness of hypnotherapy is ongoing, and some remain skeptical.
Hypnotherapy might work by altering your mindset. For many smokers, quitting is difficult because they still have the positive associations of enjoying a cigarette. Hypnotherapy might be able to break this connection, and help you to see out cravings.
Similarly, hypnotherapy might help by creating new habits, leaving behind old habits. Many smoke out of routine, and as a learned response. Hypnotherapy might be able to change the thought patterns that lead to smoking.
However, some think that the main benefit of hypnosis could be the relaxing effect it has. Nicotine withdrawal can be stressful and uncomfortable. Spending time relaxing in a hypnotherapist’s office might be what you need to move past cravings.
Is Hypnotherapy Right For You?
Quitting smoking is a personal journey, and finding an effective treatment plan can be complex. Hypnotherapy isn’t right for everyone, but some may find it is highly beneficial. Before embarking on hypnotherapy, there are a few things to consider.
- A hypnotherapy session typically costs around $100, and it might not be covered (or part covered) by your health insurance. While this is more expensive than other aids, hypnotherapy is less expensive than many alternative therapies.
- Hypnotherapy is typically more effective for those who go in with an open mind. If you don’t think it’s going to work, then you probably won’t be open to the therapist’s suggestions.
- You need to be comfortable for hypnotherapy to have any benefits, so you should research potential therapists before deciding on someone suitable. Speak to your doctor for recommendations.
- Hypnotherapy can be used alongside other treatment plans. Hypnotherapy can be an aid, but it doesn’t have to be your only support when you quit smoking.
If you’re considering hypnotherapy, we recommend contacting a qualified practitioner. Before booking a session, make sure to speak to the hypnotherapist to see what methods they use, and to better understand if they’re a good fit.
Hypnosis intends to place suggestions in a relaxed and focused mind. Doing so can lessen the desire to smoke, and help you to break the habit.
Although some have found hypnotherapy to be beneficial, its effectiveness is still debated. However, as there is limited risk associated, it might be what you need to quit smoking for good.