Weight-loss hypnosis may help you shed an extra few pounds when it's part of a weight-loss plan that includes diet, exercise and counseling. But it's hard to say definitively because there isn't enough solid scientific evidence about weight-loss hypnosis alone.
Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption and concentration, like being in a trance. Hypnosis is usually done with the help of a hypnotherapist using verbal repetition and mental images.
When you're under hypnosis, your attention is highly focused, and you're more responsive to suggestions, including behavior changes that can help you lose weight.
A few studies have evaluated the use of weight-loss hypnosis. Most studies showed only slight weight loss, with an average loss of about 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms) over 18 months. But the quality of some of these studies has been questioned, making it hard to determine the true effectiveness of weight-loss hypnosis.
However, a recent study, which only showed modest weight loss results, did find that patients receiving hypnosis had lower rates of inflammation, better satiety and better quality of life. These might be mechanisms whereby hypnosis could influence weight. Further studies are needed to fully understand the potential role of hypnosis in weight management.
Weight loss is usually best achieved with diet and exercise. If you've tried diet and exercise but are still struggling to meet your weight-loss goal, talk to your health care provider about other options or lifestyle changes that you can make.
Relying on weight-loss hypnosis alone is unlikely to lead to significant weight loss, but using it as an adjunct to an overall lifestyle approach may be worth exploring for some people.
Nov. 05, 2020
From Mayo Clinic to your inbox
Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing
Our Housecall e-newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest health information.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
See more Expert Answers
- Gelo OCG, et al. Hypnobehavioral and hypnoenergetic therapy in the treatment of obese women: A pragmatic randomized clinical trial. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 2014;62:260.
- Entwistle PA, et al. Unconscious agendas in the etiology of refractory obesity and the role of hypnosis in their identification and resolution: A new paradigm for weight-management programs or a paradigm revisited. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 2014;62:330.
- Hypnotherapy. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed June 27, 2018.
- Frequently asked questions about hypnosis. American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. https://www.asch.net/Public/GeneralInfoonHypnosis/FAQsAboutHypnosis.aspx. Accessed June 27, 2018.
- AskMayoExpert. Hypnotherapy. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2018.
- Bauer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 29, 2018.
- Rakel D, ed. An integrative approach to obesity. In: Integrative Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 27, 2018.
- Bo S, et al. Effects of self-conditioning techniques (self-hypnosis) in promoting weight loss in patients with severe obesity: A randomized controlled trial. Obesity. 2018;26:1422.
- Bauer BA. Mind-body techniques. In: Integrative Medicine. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.