Hypnosis Over 30 Times as Effective for Weight Loss
Effectiveness of hypnosis as an adjunct to behavioral weight management.
Bolocofsky DN, Spinler D, Coulthard-Morris L.
This study examined the effect of adding hypnosis to a behavioral weight-management program on short- and long-term weight change. 109 subjects, who ranged in age from 17 to 67, completed a behavioral treatment either with or without the addition of hypnosis. At the end of the 9-week program, both interventions resulted in significant weight reduction.
However, at the 8-month and 2-year follow-ups, the hypnosis clients showed significant additional weight loss, while those in the behavioral treatment exhibited little further change. More of the subjects who used hypnosis also achieved and maintained their personal weight goals. The utility of employing hypnosis as an adjunct to a behavioral weight-management program is discussed.
Journal of Clinical Psychology. 1985 Jan;41(1):35-41.
The Effectiveness of Hypnosis for Weight Loss
We ran across three studies, among many others, that clearly demonstrate how
hypnosis is effective for people who want to lose weight and keep it off.
Bolocofsky, David N.: Spinler, Dwayne; Coulthard-Morris. Linda
(1985). “Effectiveness of hypnosis as an adjunct to behavioral weight
management.” Journal of Clinical Psychology, 41 (1), 35-41.
The first study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, divided 109 people into two groups for a 9-week study. The members of the first group were treated with changes in diet and exercise habits (the only way to lose weight) without the addition of hypnosis. The participants in the second group were given the same diet and exercise treatment and were also provided hypnosis for reinforcement.
After 9 weeks, not surprisingly, both groups lost weight due to the changes in diet
and exercise while under supervision.
What happened after the 8-month and 2-year follow-ups might surprise you:
1. The group that did not have hypnosis did not lose any more weight, and, in
fact, most gained most of their weight back.
2. The hypnosis group, however, continued to lose weight during both intervals, and the studies showed that far more people in the hypnosis group met their long-term weight-loss goals.
The most important thing to realize is that the hypnosis group continued the eating
and exercise habits learned in the experiment, while the non-hypnosis group did
There is no magic pill for weight loss. You simply have to follow a healthy eating
and exercise plan. From this study, it is clear that hypnosis supports diet and
Study Two: Cochrane, Gordon: Friesen, J. (1986). “Hypnotherapy in weight loss
treatment.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 489-492.
The next study, published in the “Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,”
investigated the effects of hypnosis in weight loss for 60 females at least 20%
overweight and not involved in other treatment. The researchers interviewed each
participant this time about their family background, educational background, and
their belief as to their hypnotizability.
The group was split into hypnosis and non-hypnosis groups with both groups being
given weight-loss behavioral treatments and counseling. The results were very
interesting. The group using hypnosis lost an average of 17 pounds at the 6-month
follow up. The group that did not receive hypnosis only lost 1/2 pound. They also
found that “hypnotizability” and social and educational backgrounds had nothing to
do with the results.
Study Three: Kirsch, Irving (1996). “Hypnotic enhancement of
cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments”—another meta-reanalysis. Journal of
Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64 (3), 517-519.
In this meta-analysis, (which is when researchers correlate the results of multiple
studies), the results of the two studies I just mentioned and other studies were
In the studies of hypnosis versus no hypnosis the average short-term weight loss
was 6 pounds for those not using hypnosis and 11.83 pounds with hypnosis.
Even more importantly, over the long term the average weight loss without
hypnosis remained at 6 pounds, but with hypnosis it jumped to 14.88 pounds,
indicating again that the effects of hypnosis seem to continue over time.
What is impressive about these results is that doing hypnosis under controlled
conditions is extremely difficult, and to have the research indicate that people are
losing anywhere from about 2 to on average 16 1/2 times more weight under
hypnosis than when they do not use it, clearly indicates that hypnosis should be
used by anyone who is serious about weight loss.
Investigated the effects of hypnosis in weight loss for 60 females, at least 20% overweight. Treatment included group hypnosis with metaphors for ego- strengthening, decision making and motivation, ideomotor exploration in individual hypnosis, and group hypnosis with maintenance suggestions. Hypnosis was more effective than a control group 17lbs vs. 0.5 lbs on follow-up.
Hypnotherapy in weight loss treatment. Cochrane, Gordon and Friesen, J. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1986; 54, 489-492.
2 Years Later Hypnosis Subjects Continued To Lose Significant Weight
Behavioral Treatments vs Hypnosis:
109 people completed a behavioral treatment for weight management either with or without the addition of hypnosis. At the end of the 9-week program, both interventions resulted in significant weight reduction. At 8-month and 2-year follow-ups, the hypnosis subjects were found to have continued to lose significant weight, while those in the behavioral-treatment-only group showed little further change.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1985).
Hypnosis Subjects Lost More Weight than 90% of Others and Kept it Off
Researchers analyzed 18 studies comparing a cognitive behavioral therapy, such as relaxation training, guided imagery, self monitoring or goal setting with the same therapy supplemented by hypnosis.
Those who received the hypnosis lost more weight than 90 percent of the non hypnosis, and maintained the weight loss two years after treatment ended.
Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for obesity: a meta-analytic reappraisal. Allison D.B. and Faith M.S. University of Connecticut, Storrs. Journal Consult Clinical Psychologists. 1996; 64(3):513-516.
Hypnosis More Than Doubled Average Weight Loss
Study of the effect of adding hypnosis to cognitive- behavioral treatments for weight reduction, additional data were obtained from authors of 2 studies. Analyses indicated that the benefits of hypnosis increased substantially over time.
Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments–Another meta-reanalysis. Kirsch, Irving. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1996: 64 (3), 517-519.
Hypnosis Showed Significantly Lower Post-Treatment Weights
Two studies compared overweight smoking and non-smoking adult women in a hypnosis-based, weight-loss program. Both achieved significant weight losses and decreases in Body Mass Index. Follow-up study replicated significant weight losses and declines in Body Mass Index. The overt aversion and hypnosis program yielded significantly lower post-treatment weights and a greater average number of pounds lost.
Weight loss for women: studies of smokers and nonsmokers using hypnosis and multi-component treatments with and without overt aversion.
Johnson, D.L. Psychology Reprints. 1997 Jun; 80(3 Pt 1):931-3.
Hypnotherapy group with stress reduction achieved significantly more weight loss than the other two treatments.
Randomized, controlled, parallel study of two forms of hypnotherapy (directed at stress reduction or energy intake reduction), vs. dietary advice alone in 60 obese patients with obstructive sleep apnea on nasal continuous positive airway pressure treatment.
J. Stradlinga, D. Roberts, A. Wilson and F. Lovelock. Chest Unit, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, OX3 7LJ, UK.
Hypnosis can more than double the effects of traditional weight loss approaches
… An analysis of five weight loss studies reported in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 1996 showed that the ” … weight loss reported in the five studies indicates that hypnosis can more than double the effects” of traditional weight loss approaches.
University of Connecticut. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1996 (Vol. 64, No. 3, pgs 517-519).
Weight loss is greater where hypnosis is utilized
Research into cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments established that weight loss is greater where hypnosis is utilized. It was also established that the benefits of hypnosis increase over time.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1996).
Hypnosis as “An Effective Way to Lose Weight”
A study of 60 females who were at least 20% overweight and not involved in other treatment showed hypnosis is an effective way to lose weight.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1986).