Archive | November, 2017

Hypnotizability – Do You Have It?

Hypnotizability is the ability to experience hypnotic trance, usually via self-hypnosis or under the instruction of another person, such as a hypnotherapist. People vary in their ability to go into trance at will and on purpose. As a human trait, hypnotizability seems to be “normally” distributed throughout the population. In other words, statistically, the distribution of hypnotizability in the general population follows the bell-shaped curve. This means that a small percentage of people, about 10%, are highly hypnotizable and access trance quite easily. They seem to have a natural, inborn ability to go into trance. At the other end of the continuum, there is a small percentage of people for whom accessing trance (at least on purpose or at someone’s instruction) is difficult. The rest of the population, about 80%, are in the middle of the continuum of hypnotizability—they are low average, average and high average. In this sense, hypnotizability varies from person to person, just as other naturally-occurring traits, such as intelligence or height.

Certain psychological, social, and physiological factors correlate with hypnotizability, and may actually contribute to hypnotizability. When a hypnotherapist conducts formal or informal “tests of hypnotizability” he or she is asking the client to perform some simple exercises designed to elicit one or more of the factors that correspond to hypnotizability. According to Dr. Steven Gurgevich in his Self-Hypnosis Home Study Course (Sounds True, 2006) there are many common indicators of hypnotizability. These factors, or indicators, of hypnotizability are discussed below in the following paragraphs.

Ability to Follow Instructions

Some people follow instructions willingly when they believe it is in their interests to do so–and are very compliant with a hypnotherapist’s instructions. These people will have go into trance more easily than other who do not like being told what to do and will often have a compelling drive to disobey or ignore instructions, just to maintain their own sense of self-direction and independent thinking. People in the latter category (independent) can be hypnotized, as long as the hypnotherapist does not use an authoritarian approach.

The authoritarian approach usually will not work well with independent thinkers. To have success with independent thinkers, the hypnotherapist must reinforce the client’s own decision-making capabilities throughout the hypnosis process, and allow the client to consider options on how to best use and respond to the hypnotic process.

Capacity for Daydreaming and Deep Concentration

If you easily slip into daydreaming, and you get easily absorbed in movies, books, and video games, then you probably have a good level of hypnotizability. If you are distractible and find it hard to sit still for even a few minutes, you will probably have less hypnotizability.

Imagination

If you have a good ability to visualize and imagine new possibilities, then you are a good hypnotic candidate. The success of hypnosis often relies on your ability to imagine carrying out new behaviors. If you are lacking in imagination, your hypnotizability may be less than optimal.

The Eye-Roll Phenomenon

In the 1960’s Dr. Herbert Speigel conducted studies that showed a strong correlation between the ability to tilt one’s eyes up toward the forehead, and hypnotizability. The more white area one can show on the underside of the raised eyeball, the higher the hypnotizability. No one is sure why this correlation exists.

Interest in How the Mind Works

People with an interest in the mind and how it works usually become adept with hypnotic trance. People with an interest in the mind are those who often seek self-improvement by attending seminars, reading self-help books, listening to self-improvement CDs and DVDs, and spending time in activities such as meditation, journaling, yoga, relaxation, and hypnosis. People who have little interest in the mind will usually not even consider hypnosis as a viable option for solving a personal problem or for self-improvement.

An Open Mind

People usually succeed with hypnosis when they maintain an open mind about the process. They are curious and willing to explore what hypnosis is and how to use it. They maintain a positive expectation that hypnosis will be a pleasant, perhaps beneficial experience. People who are dead set against hypnosis or who want to prove that hypnosis doesn’t work or won’t work for them will usually not succeed with hypnosis.

Ability to Think Non-analytically

A person who thinks only in a logical, analytical manner will not have high hypnotizability. People with high hypnotizability can easily shift between analytical thinking and intuitive, creative, imaginative thinking.

Intellect

It is a common misconception that hypnotizability is usually linked to mental weakness or gullibility. Actually, the opposite is true. Those with high intelligence are often very good candidates for hypnosis.

A Word about Control Issues

Some beginners who don’t know much about hypnosis are reluctant to pursue hypnosis, and difficult to hypnotize, because they worry that hypnosis will cause them to give up self-control. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hypnosis actually helps people acquire more control over their thinking, actions, and emotions. In fact, many people seek hypnosis because they are habitually engaging in some behavior that is out of control (smoking, overeating, gambling, etc.). A person with control issues will do best in hypnosis with a thorough understanding of the process in advance.

Paper and Pencil Tests

There are some paper and pencil tests of hypnotizability, but not all are well-documented for predictability and msny have not been subjected to rigorous scientific analysis as to what they actually measure. The tests that are well-documented are usually used in scientific studies in which hypnotizability is a variable. Hypnotherapists rarely use these tests in actual practice because:

1) The tests are time consuming and expensive.

2) Most people are hypnotizable under the right circumstances, regardless of what the tests might show.

3) Hypnotizability also depends on one’s own expectations. If you think you are hypnotizable, your chances of going into trance are improved. If a test says you have low hypnotizability, it may lower your expectations and your low expectations may actually reduce your ability to go into trance.

Other Factors that influence the Success of Hypnosis

There are other factors that influence the success of hypnosis. Rapport with the person conducting hypnosis is one. Even if you want to be hypnotized, if the hypnotist or hypnotherapist working with you doesn’t seem completely trustworthy, or sincere, or skilled in working with you, you may encounter difficulty accessing trance. If you don’t feel comfortable with the individual conducting hypnosis with you, some part of your mind will be on guard.

Motivation is a very important factor in hypnosis. Motivation is highest when the individual sees benefit to accomplishing the goal, is willing to engage in the processes and steps that lead to the accomplishment, is totally congruent about wanting the accomplishment, and believes in his or her own capability to accomplish the goal. The most hypnotizable people are those who sincerely want to be hypnotized, expect hypnosis to work, and who want real results from hypnosis. A person who is not motivated to make a change will not be easily persuaded to do so with hypnosis.

If you feel half-way motivated to make a change, but still have some concerns or conflicts, it may be necessary for you to do extra work with your hypnotherapist to get satisfying or lasting results with hypnosis. Your conflicts may be due to:

o Competing goals: You can have result A or result B but not both.

o Competing values: The goal is linked to a significant personal value or belief, but having it also violates another significant personal value or belief.

o Wanting the goal, but not the work or steps required to achieve it.

o Wanting the goal, but not the attendant problems and/or responsibilities that might come with the accomplishment.

o Wanting the goal, but not knowing how to accomplish it.

o Wanting the goal, but feeling blocked by fears, inhibitions, and limiting beliefs rooted in past experiences.

To complicate matters, the exact source of the conflict often resides in the subconscious and is not available for cognitive, conscious analysis. In this case, the conflicted individual has to contend with dread, procrastination, or self-sabotage, without actually getting at the heart of the matter.

Reaching resolution on one’s own is tough. A psychotherapist who is also a hypnotherapist can use a variety of hypnotic processes to help you identify the type of conflict you may be encountering and can assist you to work through it, reach resolution, come to terms with it, and put it behind you.

What to do if You Think you have Low Hypnotizability

Surprisingly, belief in one’s own hypnotizability does not seem to be a significant factor in hypnotizability. I’ve had several clients who came to my practice doubting, for one reason or another, that they could be hypnotized. Yet, once I explained the process to them, and worked with them, they easily accessed trance. I’ve also had a few clients who were told by other hypnotherapists that they were not hypnotizable, or who found they could not access trance with previous hypnotherapists. Many of these clients have also accessed trance, under my guidance and instruction. Most people can access trance once they understand the hypnotic process, and they truly have motivation to be hypnotized.

If you think you have little hypnotizability or believe you could be a poor candidate for hypnosis, don’t give up. Find and work with a skilled hypnotherapist with whom you feel comfortable. Sometimes people with low hypnotizability require a few sessions of practice before they can access trance. A skilled hypnotherapist will experiment with different approaches and inductions to find the methods that work best for each client.

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Review of SunSplash Tanning and D Lite (No Tan) Systems

If you are like me, a deep tan is quite appealing. However, the sun exposure that is required to achieve that beautiful tan is far from appealing. I will add to that by saying that some exposure to the sun is important to ensure that your body receives the right amount of Vitamin D, and that your Melatonin levels fluctuate appropriately. Apart from spurts of sun exposure, it is not safe for your skin to receive much more than this. If it does, you will face the complication of burning, and even serious problems like skin cancer. Here, I will review a product that I used to achieve a natural looking tan by not having to expose myself to dangerous levels of sun exposure – SunSplash Tanning and D Lite (No Tan) Systems.

It all started when a friend of mine visited a local tanning salon. The results that she achieved were remarkable. Her reasoning for pursuing this method of tanning was that she was too busy to spend hours in the sun in order to get the tan that she had wanted for so many years. She then suggested to me that I participate in tanning bed exposure to achieve the tan I had always dreamed of. You see, I work from home and I educate both of my active boys from home. My husband also worked from home, but we would often find ourselves scraping the barrel for enough time to do all of the things that we had to do on a day to day basis – much less time to visit a tanning salon.

My husband and I worked it out and he stated that he would take care of things if this is what I wanted to do, but to be careful. I was so excited! That is until I took the time to research tanning beds. I quickly learned that this form of tanning provides no health benefits, and over time, it can actually damage your organs and other internal components of the body! Needless to say, I quickly changed my mind on this little experiment and never made it to the tanning salon. My interest was peaked, however, and I decided that I should take the time to determine if there were any other types of safe alternatives to tanning beds. This is when I ran across a website that sold the SunSplash Tanning and D Lite (No Tan) Systems.

Now, with this tanning method, I discovered that it produces nearly the same amount of sunlight that the actual sun produces, which meant that it also helped the body receive a sufficient amount of Vitamin D. Melatonin levels could also be regulated by using this tanning system which includes approximately eight different lights. So, basically, this was much safer than standard tanning beds in that it uses reflective lighting technology to deliver the rays that help tan the skin and provide nutrients to the body! I could not believe it.

Now, after just a couple of months of using the SunSplash Tanning and D Lite (No Tan) Systems, I sport a luxurious tan. In addition to this, I look and feel better all the way around. I highly recommend this system to anyone who desires the same!

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The "Dunkin’ Donuts" Diet – Can You Really Lose Weight Eating Donuts?

It may seem completely unbelievable; but the truth is: Food does not make you fat. Of course we’ve all been told that eating fat makes you fat, or eating sugar makes you fat; but this simply isn’t true – and, at some level, you already know this to be the case. I’ve actually proposed a book called, “The Dunkin’ Donuts Diet,” in which I outline many of the points I’ve been talking about for a number of years – including the fact that I lost 55-pounds without giving up one of my favorite treats: Dunkin’ Donuts. But I’ll give you the secrets right now – in condensed form.

For starters, everything you eat is made of molecules; and molecules are made of atoms. All your body needs in order to manufacture fat is Hydrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, and a reason to make fat. Fats are Hydrocarbons; and the materials for these are readily available in practically any diet. Your body breaks down the foods you eat and then uses the materials it needs (or thinks it needs) in the way it thinks it needs to. A fit person eats a box of donuts and has one outcome; while an unfit person eats the same donuts and gains weight, for example. We’ve all seen this happen. But why does it happen?

Stress is the main reason people get fat; in fact, it’s really the only reason. For those of you, who think you need to consume fat in order to be fat, consider ice cream, butter, and steaks marbled with fat. You believe that you must eat things like this in order to get fat; but the fat in the steak, as well as the milk-fat in the butter and ice cream, were manufactured by a cow that lived on a diet of grass and water – not steak and ice cream. The same is true of the largest mammals on the planet. While some gorillas are meat eaters, they primarily eat a vegetarian diet; and gorillas are very big and very strong. There’s much more to the story of fat than just the food we eat.

What you believe about your body, and about the food you eat, has much more to do with the way your body processes and stores that food. If you see yourself as fat, or if you see food as a threatening thing that could make you fat, then there’s a good chance you’ll be fat no matter what you eat. How’s this work? Well, Cortisol – which is a stress hormone – is the chemical that helps your body convert undigested food into fat for storage. Whenever you are stressed, your body slows or stops digestion and produces chemicals – like Cortisol – to deal with the undigested food, and to store it in a form that will be usable later in case you need it.

The production of fat serves several other purposes, as well. Stress implies a potential threat; and the production of fat provides a layer of protection between you and your enemies – making you look bigger, or less attractive to them. Fat also insulates you from the elements and protects you from falls and other impacts. When your body is threatened – even if the threat is only in your mind – stress is the natural response. And producing fat provides a solution to several threats all at once – as well as dealing with the undigested food that you are carrying in your digestive system.

If you think food makes you fat, it probably will. There is a biblical saying, “As a man thinketh, so it is done unto him,” that speaks to this phenomenon; and industrialist Henry Ford echoed the same sentiment when he said, “If you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right either way.” What you think about will happen – in one way or another – so don’t make an enemy out of food. Visualize yourself as healthy and fit; and come to terms with food – it is an experience to be enjoyed, not feared or overindulged. There’s nothing wrong with eating a donut, in other words, unless you think there is.

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There Is No Wrong Way To Meditate: Breathing Meditation

I never knew if I was meditating correctly. It’s hard to jump into something you’ve never done before, and when asking for guidance only finding ‘enlightened’ answers. I would ask if I’m doing it right, and all I would get is that there is no wrong way of doing it. You see, I needed confirmation along the way, that I was on the right path. What’s the point of picking up a habit, to realize when it’s set, that it’s the wrong one?

Well with meditation it’s somewhat true. There really is no “right” way of meditating, but there are certain techniques that can be followed. You will find that you enjoy one particular meditation style over another, and after you try a couple you will realize that there really is an underlying pattern; you really do end up clearing your mind.

So how does it work?

Well even though there are many ways to meditate, I will share with you my favorite one! I have first hand knowledge, and though I practice different forms of meditation at different times, I prefer this method. Now it would help if you were to think of mediation like you would of a workout. Is there only one way of doing cardio? Of course not! But there are proper ways to run, or to swim or to do jumping jacks, to ensure maximum efficiency. Is there only one way of losing weight or gaining muscle? Of course not, but there are rules to diets, and there are proper ways of breathing as you lift weights. With that let’s move on to:

Breathing Meditation

I place this one first because it is perhaps my favorite. I was fortunate to try Vipassana Meditation where I learned to sit still and, you guessed it, breathe! Begin by sitting in a dark room, preferably early in the morning, or late at night, when few outside noises would disturb you. Your objective is to pay attention to the sensations at the tip of your nose as you breathe in, and breathe out. You need to stay away from distractions, because, especially when you’re starting out, your mind will look for every opportunity to skip to something else. We live in a society where we expect our senses to be bombarded with stimulants, and your mind is ready to move quickly from one thought, or idea to another. Meditation fights that. You probably don’t pay attention to your thoughts as you go about your daily routines, but when you close your eyes, sit in a comfortable position and focus on the sensation of your breath at the tip of your nose, that’s when you notice how hectic your thoughts really are.

Now don’t worry if you have a lot of questions about the technique. It’s very simple, just pay attention to your breath. Even if you are doing it wrong (which you can’t) you will still be meditating. Meditation is focusing on something simple. That in turn places you in the now, and calms your mind, but it’s possible that until you experience it, you will be unable to relate. Still, I will share with you my experience, and you can give it a try.

My first time

Well let’s begin with me sitting in a room full of people that have been meditating in this way for years. I however listened to the instructions, closed my eyes, and started breathing in this meditative way for the very first time in my life. Since the technique seemed so simple, I felt that I needed to know if I was doing it right. I was able to follow along with the sensations as I breathed in and out, and then in again, and all of a sudden my mind was questioning the technique. I would again breath in and out twice or at most three times, and then I would imagine telling my friends about the mediation.

In fact, I probably spend more time thinking about anything other than my breathing, during my first meditative session. It’s natural though. That’s just the working of a busy mind. I learned to catch myself each time my mind would trail off, and bring it back to observe the sensations at the tip of my nose. I would go for longer stretches at a time, now maintaining my focus as I inhaled 6 times, then longer, and longer still. This process was long. I tried not to move and was uncomfortable. I couldn’t keep my mind focused so I grew frustrated with my seeming onset of ADD, but eventually I improved.

For me meditation is just a repetitive task, and a successful technique is one whose effects I feel upon completion. My mind did feel clearer and I was more relaxed, every time I finished meditating.

Good luck and I hope you really enjoy your meditative experience.

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Ginseng is Good For You, But Do Not Overuse

Ginseng is a perennial herb that starts flowering in its fourth year. It grows in the United States, Canada, & the mountainous forests of eastern Asia. The translucent, yellowish brown roots are harvested when plants reach between 3 & 6 years of age. This herb has been used in the Orient for 5000 years as a tonic. According to traditional Chinese medicine’s philosophy of opposites, American ginseng is a cool or yin tonic used to treat hot symptoms such as stress, insomnia, palpitations, & headache.

In parallel, Asian ginseng is hot or yang & is used to treat cold diseases. In the Orient, ginseng is considered a cure all. This stems from the Doctrine of Signatures, because the root is said to resemble a man’s appearance & is therefore useful to treat all of man’s ailments. Throughout history, the root has been used as a treatment for asthenia, atherosclerosis, blood & bleeding disorders, colitis, & relief of symptoms associated with aging, cancer, & senility. Ginseng is also widely believed to be an aphrodisiac.

Ginseng is classified as an ‘adaptogen’, helping the body to adapt to stress, improving stamina & concentration & providing a normalizing & restorative effect. It is also widely promoted as an aphrodisiac. The Korean root is highly prized & the most expensive. Long term use of ginseng can lead to symptoms similar to those of corticosteroid poisoning, including hypertension, nervousness & sleeplessness in some subjects, yet hypotension & tranquillizing effects in others. The benefits of ginseng treatment are by no means confirmed at the pharmacological level.

One promising example of cancer preventive effects that are not specific to any organ is Panax ginseng, an herb with a long medicinal history. The genus name of ginseng, Panax, is derived from the Greek pan (all) akos (cure), meaning cure-all. No single herb can be considered a panacea, but ginseng comes close to it. Ginseng is a tonic herb that helps to improve overall health & restore the body to balance, & helps the body to heal by itself. Its protective influence against cancer has been shown by extensive preclinical & epidemiological studies.

Ginseng is a very slow growing perennial herb, reaching about 2 ft in height. The older the root, the greater is the concentration of ginsenosides, the active chemical compounds; thus the ginseng becomes more potent with time. More than 28 ginsenosides have been extracted from ginseng, & might be associated with a wide range of therapeutic actions in the central nervous system, cardiovascular, endocrine systems. Indeed, ginseng promotes immune function, metabolism, possesses antistress & anti-aging activities. Several ginsenosides were proven to be nonorgan-specific tumor suppressors & to improve learning & memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Consumer Reports revealed that the amount of ginsenosides in Ginsana®, the ginseng market leader in the United States, is well standardized. The manufacturer claims that each Ginsana capsule contains 100 mg of standardized, concentrated ginseng. A study of the Swedish Ginsana product revealed consistency in ginsenoside content between batches. Ginsana is available in the United States in soft gel capsules & chewy squares. The capsules are green because chlorophyll is added. Other forms of ginseng are most commonly available in capsule or tablet form & are usually brown. Dosage strengths normally range between 50 mg & 300 mg of Panax ginseng extract per capsule or tablet. Also, several combination products are available. For example, Ginkogin® is a combination of Panax ginseng, Ginkgo biloba, & garlic. There are other types of ginseng on the market including Siberian, Brazilian, & Indian ginseng. These are not of the genus Panax & do not contain ginsenosides.

However, two studies have also suggested that administration of ginseng and ginkgo biloba has no effect on cognition or mood. Hartley and colleagues evaluated the effects of a 6 or 12 week course of a ginkgo & ginseng combination product (Gincosan®) on the mood and cognition of postmenopausal women. Subjects were administered a battery of mood, somatic anxiety, sleepiness, and menopausal symptom tests.

No improvement in memory performance evaluated by eight separate tests was noted in either the group receiving ginseng or the group receiving ginkgo biloba. Thus, it appears that conflicting results still exist as to the ability of ginseng to improve memory and cognition; however, even in those studies demonstrating a positive effect, the enhancement was generally small in magnitude.

If ginseng are being over consume or overused symptoms of toxicity such as hypertension, shortness of breath, dizziness, inability to concentrate, a loud palpable fourth heart sound, thrusting apical pulse, and hypertensive changes on examination were reported in a 39-year-old man who had taken various ginseng products for 3 years. His blood pressure measured 140/100 mmHg on three occasions over 6 weeks, and when referred for management of his hypertension it was 154/106 mmHg. He was advised to discontinue the ginseng products and 3-month later, his symptoms had resolved.

In addition, A 72-year-old woman experienced vaginal bleeding after taking 200 mg daily of a Swiss-Austrian geriatric formulation of ginseng (Geriatric Pharmaton, Bernardgrass, Austria) for an unspecified time. In a similar case, a 62-year-old woman had undergone a total hysterectomy 14 years previously and had been taking Rumanian ginseng alternating with Gerovital® every 2 weeks for 1 year. The patient derived a marked estrogenic effect from the product based on microscopy of vaginal smears as well as the gross appearance of the vaginal and cervical epithelium.

So the bottom line is ginseng comes pretty close as one of the best natural remedy that promotes various healthy well being. It is a fantastic option for longevity but just be aware that too much of a good thing might not give you desirable result. Use ginseng in moderation & you will enjoy the great benefit of this ancient perennial herb.

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Subclinical Hypothyroidism Symptoms: Should You Be Worried About This Thyroid Disorder?

Subclinical hypothyroidism symptoms can start at any time so you should be prepared and educated about the signs. Although it’s not an easy disease to diagnose, you should still have some concern over some of the symptoms and get checked.

Subclinical hypothyroidism happens when a person’s TSH level (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is slightly high. Thyroid stimulating hormones are not created in the thyroid gland, but in the pituitary gland. The main function of the TSH is to assist the thyroid gland into producing greater amounts of thyroid hormones.

If you have a higher TSH level, this means that you could be suffering from hypothyroidism. If you are not getting enough TSH, that could lead to hyperthyroidism.

The big debate in the medical community is when to treat patients who are showing subclinical hypothyroidism symptoms or signs. Some doctors feel that it is only necessary to monitor these patients, and other doctors want to give medicine to stop it from developing into full-blown hypothyroidism.

There is a strong case for treating the elderly or those with weakened immune systems once they start showing symptoms. The feeling is that people in these risk groups are more likely to have hypothyroidism in the near future.

Here is a Checklist of Well-Known Subclinical Hypothyroidism Symptoms:

  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Difficulty in getting a full night’s sleep
  • Problems and changes in menstruation
  • Difficulty in concentrating and easily forgetting things
  • Inability to tolerate the cold
  • Extremely dry skin
  • Bouts of depression
  • Problems with vision
  • Premature hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of some hearing

Most subclinical hypothyroidism symptoms aren’t any different than regular hypothyroidism. The symptoms are broad, and include things you see in many other illnesses. Subclinical hypothyroidism symptoms are not always present in some cases. Some patients are asymptomatic. This is what makes this condition so hard to diagnose.

Other Facts about Subclinical Hypothyroidism:

  • Sufferers have an elevated risk of heart failure in the future.
  • Women increase their risk of having miscarriages and giving birth to infants that could suffer developmental disorders.
  • A low dosage of thyroxine is suggested for certain risk groups, including people with a family history of atherosclerosis and those with other cardiovascular problems.
  • From the majority of patients who were suffering from this condition, those who had some sort of treatment, felt better overall.

So, what should you do if you think you are showing subclinical hypothyroidism symptoms? The first thing you should do is schedule a doctor’s appointment and get tested. If it is positive that you do have this illness, you should discuss all of your options with your doctor. There is no reason to make hasty decisions, because you have time to think it over.

If you choose not to take any medication, you need to monitor your symptoms closely over the following months. If they get severe, or you are having other issues, you should definitely get treated.

What’s important is that most cases of hypothyroidism can be treated fairly easily if they are taken care of early enough. Plus, there are many online resources that can educate you and help out on your road to recovery.

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