Thursday, 5 July 2007

Studies Reveal Hypnosis is More Effective when Stopping Smoking

Half of all smokers will die prematurely. Some 440,000 deaths are attributed to smoking annually. Every organ in the body has been linked to a disease that smoking causes. Adjusted for inflation, smoking 20 cigarettes a day costs a smoker $100,000 over his or her lifetime.

These statistics are straight out of the office of the U.S. Surgeon General and are compelling enough to prevent anyone from starting the deadly habit. But for the millions of Americans who are trying to stop smoking, mortality rates, economic impacts and physical impairment statistics do not do the trick. What can do the trick, however, is hypnosis: an alternative that is becoming a standard smoking cessation procedure.

Consumers looking for avenues in which to quit smoking have a lot of choices: patches, gum, cold turkey, support groups, acupuncture, carrot sticks and sweets are but a few of them. While these avenues have worked for some, they do not get to the heart of the problem, or shall we say the “brain” of the problem.

Hypnosis puts a patient into a relaxed state of mind, allowing the hypnotherapist to access the patient's subconscious mind and the triggers that set off his or her desire to smoke. Through a handful of sessions, the patient’s thought process is changed, which enables him or her to resist the temptation for a cigarette when the enticement rears its ugly head. This is the essential difference between hypnosis and other methods: hypnosis delves into the person’s subconscious, and fixes the underlying issue; other methods merely mask the addiction, feeding it bit by bit until the nicotine craving—hopefully—diminishes.

The effectiveness of hypnosis in helping smokers quit has been thoroughly examined by smoking cessation groups. Quit Smoking Support, a website that has been labelled by Yahoo as “An Incredibly Useful Website,” analyzed the varying methods in helping people quit. Their research indicated that, when hypnosis was done correctly, 66 percent of people reported success, compared to a 25 percent success rate for those who used a form of nicotine replacement, 25 percent who used a form of behavior therapy and just 5 percent success through other “go it alone” methods. So, when it comes to hypnosis and its effectiveness, as they put it, “There is no other method supported by research that even comes close.”

In Colorado, as reported by the Windsor Tribune, professional counselors are getting the word out to Windsor residents on how to kick the smoking habit through hypnosis. Sandi Y. Squicquero has been a licensed professional counselor for the past 20 years. She now works at The Medical Hypnosis & Counseling Center, P.C. in Windsor, Colorado, and boasts an 80 percent success rate in the three offices she has worked in. But despite the stellar success rate, she advises those seeking help to be sure they really want to quit.

“You have to want to quit for your own reasons, not someone else’s,” she said to the Windsor Tribune in an interview. “The more you repeat the suggestions, the more it is implanted into their subconscious. But you still have to want to quit” (Windsor Tribune, July 10, 2006).

Once you yourself have resolved to quit, hypnosis treatments can be expensive as they often take several sessions. But as a study out of the Ohio State University School of Nursing shows, nearly 60% of people who underwent hypnosis to stop smoking were still no smoking after 15 months. This is in stark comparison to the 10% of people who were still not smoking over the same period using other methods.

Can you really put a price on your health?

Antonia Stuart-James is an English hypnotherapist in Belgium helping people to make positive change, overcome unwanted habits and relieve stress-related health problems. For more information, visit

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