Hypnotist aims to help keep residents healthy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2000

Thursday, November 02, 2000

In the movies and on stage shows, hypnosis is portrayed as something spooky, freaky, funny or a little bit sinister. People do things they would never do in public in real life, and Kevin Bacon even got a direct line to the dead.

At 5th Season, the newest business at the Center for the Healing Arts, hypnosis bears little resemblance to these stage shows.

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Certified hypnotist, Jason Richard, explains that, in fact, hypnosis is a very common state of mind. Ever been driving along and suddenly realized 10 minutes have gone by and you have no idea of where you’ve been? That’s a natural hypnotic trance.

"This is just formal hypnosis," Richard explains. "The hypnotist doesn’t have control over you, he or she just helps you achieve self-hypnosis. He is only there to guide you – to keep you focused while you get your work done."

By work, Richard means whatever goal a person has set for hypnotherapy. It may be quitting a habit, like smoking or some other addiction. Or the hypnosis could be used as an adjunct therapy for a wide range of medical conditions, like migraines – he’s been known to rid a woman of chronic migraines in just one session – diabetes management, insomnia, pain, nausea, gastrointestinal illnesses, hypertension and others.

Richard, who will graduate from Northwestern Health Science University in Bloomington in June with a degree in Oriental Medicine, has found hypnosis works well alongside of other Western and alternative medicines.

"There are a lot of medicines and treatments that would work better if a person could get rid of certain bad habits," Richard said. "Acupuncture, Chinese medicine, even Western medicine, can only go so far. Hypnosis is a good adjunct."

The process of being hypnotized is relaxing, but not at all like falling asleep. Richard’s voice is soothing, as he tells the patient to relax every part of the body, focusing on different areas, encouraging the muscles to let go. He "tests" the trance state by asking the patient to open her eyes. She can’t.

"It resembles sleep if you’re looking from the outside at someone who’s hypnotized," Richard said. "But it’s not, it’s just a different state of consciousness. The main reason it works is that you are able to bypass that critical sensor that protects the subconscious mind when you’re in your usual state. In the relaxed state, you can shoot in positive suggestions. If they’re accepted, then it works."

He explains that there are different tools to use in hypnosis. One is direct suggestion to the patient: "You will not smoke;" "you will not feel pain." The other is visualization. Richard gives as an example visualizing a wire from a person’s head to the source of pain, then picturing the installation of a switch on that wire, which the person can use to "switch" off the pain.

Some forms of hypnosis require only that the individual sits back and listens to the suggestions that the hypnotist gives. Other forms of hypnosis require more participation: the client may be asked to imagine situations, recall memories or feel emotions. All of these things, especially remembering, are much easier while hypnotized.

Richard follows up a session by suggesting little techniques to use, if, for example, the person who’s trying to quit smoking is "just spazzing for a cigarette."

Anyone interested in trying hypnosis or learning more about it may contact Richard at 434-4820. The Center for Healing Arts is located at 115 Fourth Ave. NE, on the Boardwalk and is open for appointment only.

Richard’s fee for hypnosis is negotiable for now, but averages about $50 a session. It depends on many variables: length of session, the patient’s income, number of sessions required, etc.