Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Doctors Lack Smoking Cessation Training

Here's a new story I found yesterday at Forbes.com (click the headline above for the full story). This is no surprise. Doctors have been trained to do many things with a high degree of skill, but helping people quit smoking is not one of them.

"It found that 87 percent to 93 percent of doctors and other health-care workers receive less than five hours of training on tobacco dependence," says a study at the North Shore-LIJ Health System Center for Tobacco Control in Great Neck, N.Y.

This is especially important to recognize, as many people put the utmost faith and trust in their doctors when it comes to anything related to their health. As for their "training," the less than five hours could be anything from 0.0 hours up to 4.99. It means that many of them receive absolutely no training at all.

"They surveyed 322 prescribers (physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants) and 278 nonprescribers (pharmacists, registered nurses, social workers, counselors, respiratory therapists, and students)."

The best luck a person will likely have in seeking assistance from one's doctor is that he will prescribe a form of nicotine replacement like the patch, gum or lozenges... or perhaps he'll prescribe a drug like wellbutrin.

This is what doctors are trained to do.

To their credit, many doctors continually recommend that their patients quit smoking, lose weight and exercise more. The understand that taking a proactive approach is the most effective way to stay healthy. "An apple a day," as the saying goes.

However, there's a big difference between making recommendations and actually teaching someone how to make such significant changes. I can recommend you go to the dentist, but I can't do the root canal myself. I'm not trained for it. Likewise, doctors can recommend you quit smoking, but they can't help you quit.

Many people lack faith in practitioners of alternative therapies because they lack the fancy credentials awarded by esteemed institutions. It's important to consider the background and training of anyone in whom you're going to place your trust, especially with regard to your health.

However, it has been my experience that many people who have been stuck in one form of therapy or another for years (and years), whether with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other state-licensed counselor, have noticed little or no positive change.

After all of these "official" therapies fail, they call a hypnotherapist. Quite often, they notice benefits immediately -- actual changes in thought, feeling and behavior.

If you have a broken arm, see a doctor. If you have a toothache, see a dentist. If you want to stop smoking, lose weight or banish a phobia, see a hypnotherapist.

It's what we're trained to do.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Does Quitting Make You Think Bad Thoughts?

Ever noticed yourself becoming so irritable while trying to quit that you had a desire to become violent? Maybe you were just focusing on some very negative thoughts.

Here's an interview with a client of mine who quit smoking with the assistance of my Stop Smoking hypnosis CD... and thankfully, he didn't listen to those voices in his head just prior to using it (listen just a couple minutes in for the specifics).

This is a man who realized he'd spent over $10,000 on cigarettes in the past eight years, and just decided that it was time to stop. While you're watching this, you may find yourself wondering: "How much have I spent on cigarettes throughout the years?"


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Don't Expect Help Paying for Hypnosis

Many of my prospective clients ask if I accept various forms of insurance as payment, and while I would certainly welcome the support and participation of insurance companies with hypnosis and other alternative forms of therapy, the answer is typically "no."

It's not that I choose not to accept insurance, it's that insurance companies refuse to cover most alternative forms of therapy. Now this is a topic deserving of a lengthy article and discussion in its own right, but for now, I wanted to bring attention to this recent story from the state of Nebraska.

Neb. officials expect 3000+ to take advantage of quit help
Associated Press - October 25, 2008 2:35 PM ET

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - State officials estimate that about 3,130 Nebraskans will take advantage of the new Medicaid coverage for smoking cessation from December through the end of June.

But their chances to quit with help from Medicaid won't be limitless.

During the course of a year, Medicaid will cover two attempts by a person to quit smoking, allowing a maximum of 2, 90-day supplies of drugs. A maximum of 4 counseling sessions per year will be covered, and patients must enroll and participate in the state's Tobacco Free Quitline.

Hypnosis and other alternative treatments will not be covered. [my emphasis]


This is not at all surprising.

Excuse my sarcasm (I'm sure you are aware that hypnotherapists aren't allowed to be cynical), but this is very typical. When it comes to health care, your tax dollars will only be spent on therapy supported by drugs and funneled through to the pharmaceutical industry.

If you think this viewpoint is cynical, consider the facts in the article. Medicaid will cover a 6-month supply of drugs for more than 3,000 Nebraskans, but only 4 counseling sessions. So who is going to receive the majority of these funds?

Hint: it's not your friendly neighborhood counselor.

I feel the need to continually remind the readers of this blog that simply because I'm a hypnotherapist, and thereby interested in generating new business to make a profit, doesn't mean I believe hypnosis will work for everyone, or that wellbutrin or other drugs don't help people to stop smoking.

I do, however, believe in freedom of choice in health care... that you, the individual, should be able to choose whatever form of assistance you desire in your effort to become healthier. If these companies were genuinely interested in your well-being, they would cover any and all forms of therapy, like hypnosis and acupuncture, that have been demonstrated to be effective.

It's unfortunate that an individual who would like to stop putting poisons (nicotine) into his/her body, when asking his insurance company for assistance, is told that they will only pay for him/her to do so by consuming even more drugs (the patch, the gum, wellbutrin, etc.)... all provided, of course, by Big Pharma.

So whether you choose hypnotherapy, acupuncture or any other alternative form of therapy that doesn't require you to continue to put drugs into your body, chances are you'll be paying out of your own pocket. I tell my clients to think of it as an investment, because really... the returns outweigh the expenditures exponentially.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

You Don't Have to Become a Jerk!

In all my years of helping people to stop smoking, this roadblock comes up as often as any other. My clients will talk about how, in the past, when they tried to stop smoking, they became moody, irritable and ill-tempered.

Yes, in their own estimation, they simply turned into great big jerks.

Don't make people cry because you're a jerk.

So you want to quit, but you don't want to be in a bad mood, you don't want to put on an extra 20 pounds, and you don't want to feel stressed, nervous or anxious all the time.

If you take a look at some of the most popular methods used for smoking cessation, several of them attempt to address those physical feelings that directly cause you to start acting like a jerk (sorry, no scientific data to back up that assertion, nor is any needed).

Here are a few options that can help you feel more relaxed:
  • Laser Therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Wellbutrin (or similar drugs)
  • Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy
Now let's talk about how each of these options have been demonstrated to work.

Laser therapy and acupuncture work in similar ways. They cause you to feel more relaxed, which can be of tremendous value to someone who's been smoking for quite a long time. The feelings of stress, anxiousness and irritability are generally what smokers refer to when they talk about having a craving. If these feelings are reduced, the cravings are likely reduced.

However, many of my clients have told me that although they felt more relaxed, they continued to have a desire to smoke after trying these therapies. You see, because most people try hypnosis as a last resort, I get to hear about their failed attempts at using all the other methods.

Wellbutrin has worked for many people, however as with most pharmaceutical drugs, it also has some negative and dangerous side-effects. All one has to do is visit www.askapatient.com to hear it from the horse's mouth. Here's one quote from someone who used wellbutrin and who had experienced some success:

"However, now at the end of 3 months, I am feeling extremely depressed, to the point even of contemplating suicide--very unlike me. I also have bouts of extreme almost uncontrollable anger."

Here are two more from people who recently began using wellbutrin:

"had my first panic attack on this drug. shortly after starting it was diagnosed with high blood pressure (at 28)."

"I can't concentrate on anything, I feel like I can't think. I'm dizzy all the time, and nauseous. I have a constant headache in my temple."

There are literally hundreds of similar responses (just at this one website), with more being added every day. Needless to say, even if you stop smoking (which is nowhere near a guarantee), the side-effects should give you pause.

Laser therapy and acupuncture do some of the same things that hypnotherapy can do -- mainly taking away some of the stress and anxiety that often lead smokers to relapse -- but what they don't provide is what generally leads even those who experience short-term success to eventually pick up the habit again... your thoughts.

No matter how relaxed you feel, there are certain times of day, situations, locations, etc., that remind a smoker that he/she used to smoke. Even when the individual is feeling calm and relaxed, if the thought remains, the likelihood increases that a relapse will occur.

Hypnosis, when performed correctly by a trained professional, is the only available method that adequately addresses all the factors that contribute to smoking.
  • Physical feelings (stress, anxiety, etc.)
  • Associations (after meals, while driving, etc.)
  • Thoughts (self-talk, unconscious visualization)
When you not only feel relaxed, but also understand how to focus your attention in a way that allows you to forget about smoking most of the time, while changing how you think about smoking on the rare occasions when it does enter into your consciousness, well... that's what brings about long-term success.

So, if you want to quit smoking but you don't want to become a big jerk, there are several options available to you. It's up to you to choose which is best for you. Hopefully, the information provided here (although not entirely unbiased) will help you make a decision that will allow you to feel confident that you're investing your money wisely.

Be more like this person when you quit:

Because hey, the world has enough jerks already, right?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Bark Like a Dog for Me, Baby"

Does it ever confuse you that hypnosis is used to make people cluck like chickens in front of hundreds of strangers, yet at the same time it’s being used around the world by doctors, dentists and therapists alike?

Here I reveal the secrets of stage hypnosis, and why you never need to worry about losing control while hypnotized.

Podcast: The Secrets of Stage Hypnosis - Revealed

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In This Economy, Can You Afford to Keep Smoking?

When simply filling up the gas tank and heating your home is busting people's bank accounts, to realize that you could be wasting up to $1200 a month of your hard-earned money on a habit that might one day kill you... yeah, that's rough.

Duke University (right on "Tobacco Road") did a study a few years back that found the real cost of cigarettes is about $40/pack.

Here's an excerpt from the article available at the link:


In their new book "The Price of Smoking," Duke University health economists calculated this sum by analyzing all the costs of smoking -- personally, to the smoker’s family and to society at large.

Their analysis found that the cost for a 24-year-old smoker over 60 years was $220,000 for a man and $106,000 for a woman, or a total of about $204 billion nationally over 60 years. The figures include expenses for cigarettes and excise taxes, for life and property insurance, medical care for the smoker and for the smoker’s family, and lost earnings due to disability.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Hi there,

Glad you've stopped by.

This is the place where you can find all the best, most accurate information about smoking cessation in the blogosphere.

This includes:
  • Articles from mainstream news sources
  • Major scientific & university studies
  • Case studies
  • Interviews with past & present clients
  • Original articles & podcasts
  • Much more
I have a degree and background in broadcast journalism, so you can be certain that all of the information you find here will be properly referenced and fact-checked, with links provided whenever possible. I'm a therapist and a researcher, not a salesman.

All of this is provided for you, not with the intent of convincing you that hypnosis is the solution for you; rather, so that you can make the best, most informed decision possible on how to stop smoking immediately.

I'm not arrogant enough to assume that my methods are the best for everyone, and because you are an individual, it's up to you to decide which path to take in order to become healthier.

So whether it's the patch, the gum, the shot, the laser... or simply learning to use that brain of yours far more effectively... this is the place where you'll be able to examine the facts and decide which method is right for you.

I welcome questions and comments, and will personally respond to all questions left on this blog in a timely fashion. So please... enjoy perusing the site. I hope I can be of help in your quest to become smoke-free.