Smoking is the number one preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States. About 20 percent of the population still smokes and each year an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Most Americans are fully aware of the dangers of smoking, and the desire to quit has never been more prevalent. Unfortunately, for most people quitting is quite difficult. Many popular techniques, like the patch, do not work for all individuals and additional alternative therapies are needed to help people kick the chronic habit. Hypnotherapy is one alternative therapy that is proving to be effective in smoking cessation. Unlike other therapies and methods used to curb the smoking habit, hypnotherapy focuses on brainpower.

Smoking is an addictive habit that is both physical and psychological. The body physically craves nicotine, and when deprived of that the nicotine the body can experience uncomfortable withdrawal. Smoking is psychological because it involves habitual behaviors that create a desired emotional or physical response. For instance, when stressed, picking up a cigarette can be a calming ritual that makes people feel better. Hypnotherapy can help address both the physical and mental addiction of smoking. This tool can be used to reinforce behaviors while suppressing others and can even make coping with withdrawal symptoms easier.

Studies conducted by Faysal Hasan, MD, FCCP at North Shore Medical Center in Massachusetts, showed that hypnotherapy resulted in higher quitting rates compared to nicotine replacement therapy or patients who quit “cold turkey”. Hasan explained that “hypnotherapy appears to be quite effective” in assisting patients with smoking cessation especially when paired with other smoking cessation therapies. Hypnosis helps to change the way people perceive their habit, provides coping methods, and creates triggers to develop new thoughts and behaviors.

During hypnotherapy sessions clients are put into a hypnotic state of deep relaxation. During this state, not to be confused with sleep, clients are highly focused and imaginative and hypnotherapists are able to maneuver past the analytical filter of the conscious mind. The human brain is split into two levels of consciousness: the conscious and the unconscious mind. The filter between the two is referred to as the “subconscious” mind. Cognitive neuroscientists have uncovered that “we are conscious of only about five percent of our cognitive activity, so most of our decisions, actions, emotions and behavior depend on the ninety-five percent of brain activity that goes beyond our conscious awareness.”

By accessing the subconscious mind hypnotherapists are able to tap into deep-rooted thought processes and provide proactive suggestions and methods to help clients quit. When the client accepts these suggestions, their brain creates new neural pathways that connect behaviors and thoughts to different areas in the brain. These rerouted neural pathways lead to new emotional and physical responses. For instance, a client in the hypnotic state is given the suggestion that when they feel the urge to smoke they will perform a specific action. After completing this specific action their urge to smoke will ebb. In time, as the client continues to repeat this behavior, it will develop into a trigger. This trigger will help the client feel a reduced need to smoke.

Each session of hypnotherapy is tailored to the individual and their needs. The hypnotherapist works with the client to uncover what strategy and series of suggestions will be most successful in helping them reach their goals. Hypnotherapy is now being used at some of the nation’s best hospitals and medical research facilities to not only assist patients in smoking cessation, but also to address other issues ranging from anxiety, stress, depression, pain management, drug addiction, weight loss.

Author's Bio: 

Alicia D. Cramer C.Ht. is a the author of Losing Weight Through Hypnosis and the owner of Wausau Hypnotherapy. She works one-on-one with clients in her Hypnotherapy/Coaching Practice. You can read her full biography at