Using hypnosis to quit smoking might seem like wishful thinking. But can you quit smoking for good with the help of hypnotherapy? In this article, we’re going to examine the effectiveness of using hypnotherapy for smoking, and see whether or not it brings something new to the table.
Giving up smoking can be a real challenge. Smoking is a dangerous habit that can cause cancer and lead to death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 1.1 billion people around the world are smokers. Unfortunately, a lot of these smokers come from low- or middle-income countries, so they suffer from tobacco-related diseases.
The WHO considers the tobacco epidemic as one of the most significant public health threats the world has ever faced. Tobacco consumption is responsible for up to 7 million deaths each year. Sadly, up to half of the people who use tobacco die because of it.
Even though most find quitting smoking difficult, there are certain things that can help. Nicotine patches, lozenges, and chewing gum can help you overcome your addiction.
But you don’t have to panic if you’ve tried all these methods without any results. There is still something you can try.
Hypnotherapy is perfectly suited to help you break bad habits and cope with stress. Even though hypnotherapy is used for a variety of applications, it is especially good at stimulating your mind and helping you overcome the temptation of relapse.
Psychiatrists started using hypnotherapy for psychological treatment in the 1950s as an aid to traditional therapy. The American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) recognized hypnotherapy as a medical procedure back in 1958.
Dr. Herbert Spiegel first used hypnotherapy to help people quit smoking and documented it in 1970. His treatment strategy is widely known as the “Spiegel method” and it’s still used to this day.
Modern hypnotherapists use suggestions to convince smokers to associate cigarettes and cigarette smoke with unpleasant sensations which helps the smokers quit. The hypnotherapists might also stimulate the smokers’ ability to cope with their nicotine withdrawal symptoms and lessen their desire to smoke.
During a hypnosis for smoking cessation session, the therapist might ask the patient to imagine the unpleasant outcomes of smoking. The hypnotherapist might make plastic suggestions that will make the patient uncomfortable for a short while. For example, the therapist might suggest that the smoke coming out of a cigarette smells like car exhaust or that the smoke leaves the patient’s mouth feel parched.
One popular smoking cessation hypnosis technique is called Spiegel’s method. This technique focuses on three ideas:
The hypnotherapist also teaches you some useful self-hypnosis techniques that will help you overcome your desire to smoke anytime it arises.
Hypnosis has always been a controversial subject. People are skeptical about the benefits of hypnotherapy because this branch of alternative medicine has been misrepresented in movies and other types of media for decades. Some people believe that hypnotherapy is nothing else than stage magic, while others believe they become gullible under the influence of hypnosis.
Nevertheless, there are several studies that focused on the effectiveness of hypnosis on smoking. Here are their conclusions
A study conducted in 1993 examined the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for smoking cessation. But the interesting thing about this study is that it studied the effects of hypnotherapy for smokers after a single hypnosis session.
226 smokers were treated with a single hypnosis session involving self-hypnosis. The researchers contacted the smokers two years after the study to follow up on their results. This study calculated only the total abstinence for smoking as a successful outcome.
52% of the people who participated in this study abstained from smoking for a week after the hypnosis session. 23% of the participants maintained their abstinence for two years. Curiously, the study found that those who were living with a significant other were more likely to abstain from smoking than those who didn’t.
The study concluded that hypnotherapy is moderately effective at prompting people to give up smoking. The researchers found that hypnosis is superior to spontaneous efforts to give up smoking.
A study presented in May 2008 wanted to determine whether hypnosis would be more effective than regular counseling in helping smokers quit. The randomized study enrolled 286 smokers who lived in and around San Francisco. The smokers participated in two 60 minutes sessions of counseling or hypnotherapy, and they received three follow up calls after the study.
After seven days into the study, 29% of those in the hypnotherapy group reported they abstained from smoking, as opposed to 23% in the counseling group.
Six months after the study, 26% of the people who were part of the hypnotherapy group reported they did not pick up the habit again, as opposed to18% of the behavioral counseling group.
One year after the study, 20% of those in the hypnotherapy group reported they did not smoke, compared with only 14% of the counseling group.
This study concluded that hypnosis is more effective than standard behavioral counseling for long-term quit rates.
A study presented in 2017 examined the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for smoking cessation among students.
59 students were selected randomly to participate in the study. The researchers trained the students in practicing self-hypnosis, and they asked the students to practice it at home and keep a diary of how much they smoked for nine weeks.
The study found that 65.4% of the students stopped smoking after practicing hypnosis for nine weeks. The study reported that the students smoked less after implementing the program, and it concludes that hypnotherapy has a therapeutic effectiveness in achieving smoking cessation among students.
So far, we’ve seen that part of the scientific community backs the use hypnosis as an aid for those who want to give up smoking. But what makes hypnosis so effective for smokers?
With the help of hypnotherapy, smokers can develop a different mindset regarding cigarettes. The hypnotherapist suggestions will help you see cigarettes and cigarette smoke differently.
One of the most common phrases you’ll hear when someone tries and fails to quit smoking is that he or she likes smoking. Well, it’s one thing to give in to your cravings, and it’s another to state you actually like it.
This mentality changes with the help of the hypnotist’s suggestions. After the therapeutic intervention, you will no longer see smoking as something you like. You will see it as the danger it is. Even though some of the suggestions might make you uncomfortable at first, they will not only help you quit smoking, but they will also help you overcome your cravings and relapse.
Most people wrongly believe that only hypnotherapists can induce hypnosis. This is not true. With the help of a guided meditation session, you can learn to perform self-hypnosis and help yourself beat your addiction.
Certain words and phrases can help your subconscious see cigarettes differently. Repeating these words or phrases can help you fight the urge of lighting a cigarette, and they can help you abstain from smoking long-term.
One of the good things about hypnotherapy is that you can combine it with other methods to increase your chances of quitting smoking. Not only that, but hypnotherapy might even enhance the effects of other smoking cessation methods such as nicotine patches or chewing gum.
Hypnosis can help your mind overcome the addiction while the nicotine gum or patches can help your body deal with the nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
You might be wondering why hypnosis is not mandatory for those who want to give up smoking if it’s so good. Well, there are many factors that can potentially lower the effectiveness of hypnosis.
Even though using hypnotherapy to give up smoking is backed by science, this treatment method does not always work. You might find sources claiming that some people are not hypnotizable, no matter how experimented the hypnotist. While this might be true for a few, the main reason some people don’t quit smoking after a hypnotherapy session is a lack of motivation.
The hypnotherapist does his or her best to motivate people to give up smoking, but once they’re out of the hypnosis session, the smokers lack the motivation to abstain from smoking.
If you ever tried to quit smoking, you know that the real challenge lies not in putting out a cigarette, but in staying smoke-free. Every smoker stopped for a few times only to start again, usually when they face a stressful situation.
Some people suffer from severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms once they stop smoking. The first symptom of nicotine withdrawal is – you might have guessed by now – an intense craving for nicotine. But that’s not the only symptom, it’s just the first. Some people experience nausea and abdominal cramping, constipation and gas, excessive sweating, headaches, and coughing fits.
But even these symptoms are mild comparing them to the next ones: irritability, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, and insomnia.
When people experience severe withdrawal symptoms, they will forget every suggestion the hypnotherapist made and they will pick up smoking again. Only those who have an iron will and are really determined will manage to abstain from smoking long-term, no matter if they use the services of a hypnotherapist or not.
Hypnotherapy can provide excellent results for those who suffer from severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms if it’s combined with alternative treatment options such as nicotine replacement medication or nicotine patches.
Even though most hypnotherapists follow similar strategies to help people quit smoking, some don’t. Now, following a different strategy is not a bad thing, and it can actually lead to good results.
But you shouldn’t be disheartened if you do not notice any significant changes after a therapy session. You should consult with your therapist and see if he or she can try a different approach for your treatment, since the one they’re trying is not right for you.
Unfortunately, as it happens in all fields, there are some self-proclaimed hypnotherapists out there who are not performing their job as they should. You should always look for a specialist that has credentials and authority in his or her field of work.
The “Quit Smoking” hypnosis session is specially developed to encourage your subconscious mind to abstain from smoking. The program helps with:
Hypnosis can be fun and relaxing, but fundamentally it’s a powerful methodology for triggering profound personal change.