Hypnosis for weight loss - A case history

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Most literature on weight loss seems to focus on obesity and/or eating disorders. Much of this literature emphasises the complexities of eating behaviour and underlying causes. To date, not much has been written on hypnosis for people who are overweight but not considered to be medically obese or having an eating disorder. This study acknowledges the literature but sets forth to describe a more straight-forward case of weight loss achieved through hypnosis.

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Objectives The global epidemic of overweight and obesity presents a major challenge in the health status of the society. Their prevalence is at an alarming rate worldwide due to poor compliance with conventional treatment and high rates of relapse, thus increasing demand for an effective and safe alternative approach such as hypnotherapy. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of hypnotherapy for weight loss and to compare these among selected socio-demographics. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted among 30 students and staff of a public university in Terengganu, Malaysia using convenience sampling. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS 23.0. Results Among the respondents (age = 26.17 ± 8.23 years; female = 66.7%; students = 63.3%), 40.0% were overweight and 60.0% were obese. Results indicated excellent feasibility as determined by participants’ satisfaction towards the clarity of hypnotherapist’s voice (93.3%), the suitability of content (86.7%) and time spent for the session (90.0%). Good overall acceptability (>60.0%) was also reported regarding hypnotherapist professionalism, the environment and perceived usefulness of hypnotherapy. Obese individuals were significantly more satisfied towards the hypnotherapist environment than overweight respondents (p=0.015). Additionally, no adverse effects were reported after the intervention. Conclusions This evidence signalled that hypnotherapy is a promising alternative tool in assisting overweight and obese individuals to lose weight. Extensive research is needed to substantiate its role in weight management programs for its full benefits.
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This study surveys the research on hypnosis and obesity over the past 25 years. Confidence intervals were used to provide upper and lower limits of hypnosis in the treatment of obesity. Previous studies have found mixed results. For example, Levitt (1993) reported an average correlation between weight loss and hypnotic susceptibility of .550, p>.05. A 95% confidence interval around the population correlation coefficient was -.060 for the lower limit and .91 for the upper limit. Allison and Faith (1996) found a point estimate for d of .26 for hypnosis and weight loss (small effect size), and Kirsch (1996) found a point estimate for hypnosis and weight loss of .98 (large effect size). The current study found a 95% confidence interval around the population d of (-.4562, .9549) for the Allison and Faith study, and (-.0440, 1.9449) for the Kirsch study. Point estimates between the two studies did not differ. The current study found that results of Allison and Faith and Kirsch have overlapping confidence intervals. Finally, power values were low for both confidence intervals and more studies are needed to improve statistical power.
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