Hypnosis seems to help some people stop smoking, but medical research has so far not proven its effectiveness.
By Dennis Thompson, Jr.
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
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There are so many ways to quit smoking, and in their quest to stop, many smokers try everything from quitting cold turkey to one-on-one counseling to nicotine patches and gums — or combinations of all of the above. If these stop smoking methods haven't worked for you, or you just want to take a more holistic approach, you may want to try hypnotherapy.
Research does not support hypnotherapy as a proven means to help people stop smoking. A scientific review of existing studies found no evidence to suggest that hypnotherapy worked better than other smoking cessation aids or no treatment at all.
However, some individuals have reported success in quitting smoking with the help of hypnotherapy. For hypnosis to be successful as a way to stop smoking, the person has to have faith in the therapist and be okay with being in a passive and susceptible state of mind.
A History of Hypnotherapy as Treatment
Hypnotherapy has been used in psychological treatment since the 1950s, when psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson showed the potential of hypnosis as an aid to traditional therapy. The American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association recognized hypnotherapy as a valid medical procedure in 1958.
The first use of hypnotherapy to help people stop smoking was described by Dr. Herbert Spiegel in a 1970 journal article. His hypnotic strategy has become known as the "Spiegel technique" and involves concentration on three main ideas:
* Smoking is poisonous to your body.