Exploring hypnotherapy for men’s issues

Exploring men's health

On the 10th-16th June the world celebrates Men’s Health Week. This is a time to bring awareness to health issues that affect men disproportionately and focuses on getting men to become aware of problems they may have or could develop, and gain the courage to do something about it. Currently in the UK, 1 man in 5 dies before the age of 65.

The focus for 2019 will be men’s health by numbers. The campaign looks at the key numbers that men need to know about their own health and at the statistics that policy-makers need to know including the impact of inequality and deprivation on men’s health.

For many men there is a resistance to seeking out medical attention for physical or mental health issues because there is a perception that they need to always be strong, that seeking help makes them ‘weak’.  Each year Men’s Health Week becomes bigger and more well-known, so if you’re a man who wants to do more, or a woman who wants to inform a man you love about it, then we urge you to spread the word! A society where more men will feel that it’s OK to talk about their health issues and not just push them to the side and ignore health problems is a society where fewer men die well before their time.

In recent years these stereotypes are being challenged. Tom Ward, a Men’s Health writer explored the world of hypnotherapy and found that Kobe Bryant was routinely hypnotised before every match until his retirement, while Tiger Woods credited it with rediscovering his powers of concentration. Matt Damon recently admitted turning to hypnosis in order to kick a two-pack-a-day smoking habit. In fact, it has been hypothesised that men might prefer hypnotherapy to other therapeutic methods because it helps them to easily move themselves towards a solution instead of spending time examining the problem.

Hypnosis can be used to help treat a wide range of issues including, but not limited to, fears and phobias, anxiety and stress, tinnitus and to improve performance at work or in sport.  The National Council for Hypnotherapy has close to 2000 fully trained and insured therapists on their register, many of whom specialise in working with men and men’s issues.

To find out more, or to find a therapist who is a good fit for you, visit the NCH therapist finder.



Raising awareness for postnatal depression in men

Raising awanress of postnatal depression in menPostnatal depression is something that affects 1 in 10 fathers but many dads say there is a lack of support available to them following the birth of a child.  The NHS has acknowledged that fathers need support, especially when their partners are experiencing post natal depression as rates of postnatal depression in this group soared to 50%. Society views men as stoic, providers, self-sacrificing, and above all, strong. When men feel none of those things as new fathers, they don’t want to admit it or seek help.

This needs to change.  The leading cause of death for men under 50 is suicide. The day after Father’s Day is International Men’s Mental Health Day, a day which seeks to highlight the struggle of male parents.

New research published showed that people tend to detect postnatal depression much more slowly in men than they do in women. As with other mental health issues, early diagnosis and intervention is important when looking at optimal outcomes. The study found that participants of both sexes were less likely to say that there was something wrong with the male (76%) compared to the female (97%). The reasons for this may be a gender bias, or they may be explained by the differences between the sexes in displaying depression.  While women tend to turn their sadness and fear inward, men are more likely to express depression through anger, aggressiveness, irritability and anxiety.

Raising awareness is important, as is teaching new parents skills and techniques to help them navigate through the sleep-deprived, often stress filled weeks and months of upheaval that a new baby brings.

Parents who are involved with hypnobirthing training report a significant reduction in stress and anxiety surrounding becoming a parent. The National Council for Hypnotherapy offers research that also shows babies born to mums who have practiced hypnosis and deep relaxation techniques during labour may also be calmer, sleep better and feed better.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy has more than 1,800 clinical hypnotherapists across the UK who can help teach these skills along with hypnobirthing in a confidential, encouraging and non-judgemental way.

The NCH says hypnosis can ‘help overcome fear and anxiety around conception, parenting or birth itself. It can reduce stress and anxiety, boost confidence to be a parent and give mothers a feeling of control’.

To find a suitable NCH therapist near you, simply click here.


Are your children at risk of an eating disorder?

The Mental Health Foundation has devoted this month to raising awareness about the effects of negative body image. Body dissatisfaction is one of the biggest known risk factor for developing an eating disorder such as bulimia.

Although we know girls and young women are particularly vulnerable to poor body image, this is an issue which affects everyone. 10% of secondary school age boys had skipped meals and another 10% would consider taking steroids to achieve a particular appearance. The number of boys receiving treatment for eating disorders has doubled in recent years, according to NHS figures. Since 2012, the number of boys going into hospitals in the UK increased from 235 to 466.Bodyguard star Richard Madden is among the voices to have spoken out recently against the demands they face to look a certain way.

Almost a third of 2,000 UK teenagers, polled for a body confidence campaign, avoid activities like PE because of fears about their looks.  This leads to a cycle where they become less healthy as their physical activity levels decrease.  Be Real was launched in response to a report on body image in 2012 to promote body confidence, while three years later This Girl Can arrived to encourage more women to take part in physical activity, and while both have been successful, there is still much work that needs to be done.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) states that overcoming self-esteem issues and building self-confidence can be achieved through clinical hypnotherapy.  With close to 2,000 fully trained and insured therapists on its register the NCH says that by working with a therapist you can assess your anxiety, and find the root of the issue. Then using a range of  techniques they will assist you to reach your goal of a life free from body image anxiety.

Hypnosis can be extremely effective, adds the NCH. With young people the most important thing to do is to intervene early.  Your therapist, as a member of the NCH, is committed to helping you as swiftly and effectively as possible. Simply click here to access the NCH directory and enter your post code to locate your nearest therapist.

Does negative body image affect your child?

This week is Mental Health Week, and this year the topic is Body Image. Body dissatisfaction can start as young as age 6 and lead to depression, anxiety and eating disorders. For too many of us, our bodies are sources of shame and distress, recent research by the Mental Health Foundation reported that nearly 1 in 3 people in the UK have felt stressed to the point of being unable to cope because of thoughts about their body and how other people perceive them.  From an early age, we are bombarded with images that define what an ‘ideal body’ looks like.  Sometimes we have faced bullying or cruelty as friends and family have used how we look as a way to put us down for a cheap laugh.

Teenagers and young people are especially vulnerable to the effects of poor body image.  In 2017 the UK government was urged to commit more time and resources to combat this growing problem.  One expert consulted in the study said that it was now ‘normal’ for young people to be unhappy with the way that they look.

We are all aware of the proliferation of fad diets, often endorsed by a celebrity that promise to change the way we look in a short space of time.  Often these diets are unhealthy and unsustainable, leading over time to metabolisms which aren’t as effective.  Research has shown us that the more the more comfortable you are with your body, the greater your overall wellbeing, and the better choices you make when presented with fad diets or dangerous exercise programmes.

Concern over body image led the Mental Health Foundation to seek a ban on a series of cosmetic surgery ads shown around the TV show Love Island. They warned the Advertising Standards Authority that the ads ‘painted a false picture of perfection’ and ‘exacerbated young people’s insecurities’, leading to a removal of these kinds of advertisements around the show.

It’s not just advertising which sends young people the message that their bodies are not good enough.  Social media has been regularly criticised for lowering teenager’s overall feelings of self-worth and wellbeing.  In 2017 a report by Nuffield Health found that children as young as 9 were being targeted by games featuring plastic surgery makeovers. The report identified several factors that contribute to poor body image in young people These include increasing levels of anxiety around appearance, the rise of social media where photos can receive positive or negative ratings and pop culture pictures of celebs with airbrushed good looks and perfect lives.

So how do we promote positive self-esteem and body positivity to our children and teens? We can limit their access to social media and engage in conversations with them about body image.  By talking openly about how bodies change over time and what their purpose is, we can take a role in shaping an inclusive culture.  Shift to praising them for what they’ve done, rather than how they look. Emphasise health and activity over fashion.

The Mental Health Foundation suggests posting on social media a picture of a time or a place when you felt comfortable in your own skin – this could be now, five years ago or at the age of five. It can be a photo of yourself or something else that reminds you of the moment. Use the hashtags #BeBodyKind and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek to participate in the activity.

If you suspect that your child or teenager is struggling with their body image, early intervention is important.  Dealing with low self-esteem and body image issues can be effectively done with clinical hypnotherapy.  During a session of hypnotherapy a qualified therapist will build self-confidence and a positive self-image using a range of different techniques. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) says its therapists are trained to help people improve their self-esteem, self-confidence and body image.

Access a fully trained and insured therapist near you today.  Use the NCH therapist finder.

Mental Health Awareness Week: Examining Body Image

Mental Health Awareness WeekMental Health Awareness Week 2019 will take place from the 13th to 19th May 2019.  Run by the Mental Health Foundation, the theme for this year is Body Image – How we think and feel about our bodies.  We can find ourselves affected by body image issues at any age; as we age and grow we evolve and change.

For many people in the UK, their bodies are a source of distress or shame.  This can be due to many different factors, from social media, society’s preoccupation with film stars or teasing and cruelty in the wider world where people have used how we look as a way to criticise or put us down.

Last year research conducted by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that nearly 1 in 3 people in the UK have felt overwhelmed and unable to cope because of stress related to their appearance or body image.  These levels of stress have profound implications for our mental and physical health and wellbeing.  This is not a gendered issue either, in 2016 55% of teenage boys surveyed said they would consider changing their diet to look better.

A positive body image and self-esteem start in the mind, not in the mirror. While hypnotherapy is well known for weight management, it is also extremely effective for improving self-esteem and self-confidence.  Working with a trained professional hypnotherapist can change the way you understand your value and worth. Healthy body image and self-esteem are a big part of well-being.

The NHS says low self-esteem and poor body image often begins in childhood. Messages from teachers, friends, siblings, parents, and even the media affect how we see ourselves. The message that you are not good enough is the one that stays with you.”

To boost your self-esteem, says the NHS, you need to identify the negative beliefs you have about yourself and challenge them. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) says that  “hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently.”

There is an NCH therapist near you who is fully qualified, insured and ready to help. Simply click here to access the NCH directory and enter your post code to locate your nearest therapist.


Demand for hypnotherapy services growing.

Hypnotherapy is becoming more mainstream with universities now offering it in addition to counselling services, The Times reports.  Amid rising rates of anxiety and depression amongst young people, the University of Southampton started offering hypnotherapy as an alternative to counselling to its students in 2017.  In the last 2 years more than 200 students have accessed the universities services and most report that it was extremely successfully. In fact, earlier this year even TV presenter Caroline Flack credited hypnotherapy for helping her deal with her anxiety.

Talking therapies have been proven to help treat anxieties, stress and depression. The NHS provides a range of talking therapies, including counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy with a range of sessions from 12 – 20 sessions for the average course of treatment.

Hypnotherapy, in contrast, is a relatively brief therapy which provides effective treatment for a range of conditions in a relatively short number of sessions. Last year the Government released a green paper focusing on early intervention and mental health awareness training for education professionals which highlighted the importance of swift and effective intervention in achieving the best possible outcomes for young people who struggle with their mental health.

Clinical hypnotherapy particularly can be of benefit when working with mental health conditions and helping to assess the issues and identifying their root – whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship. Hypnosis is a natural state of mind; people are often surprised that they hear every word and could get up and walk out of the room at any moment. Unless you enter a deeper state, you may not seem any different, just very relaxed. Using a range of different techniques your hypnotherapist will relax you, make you feel comfortable and work with you towards achieving your goal.

Click here to access the NCH directory, with nearly 2,000 therapists all around the UK there’s sure to be someone to help close to you.

Relief for Parkinson’s Disease sufferers

Parkinson's DiseaseNot much is known about the causes of Parkinson’s Disease (PD), perhaps because people who have PD tend to lead progressively less social lives It’s an illness which is less understood by the general public; in fact many people don’t consider it to be a serious disease. As part of World Parkinson’s Day which was held on April 11th, Parkinson’s UK has launched a campaign to increase awareness of PD, seeking to educate people on the seriousness of this disease.

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive disease which affects the nervous system.  The main symptoms of PD are slow movement, stiff muscles and involuntary tremors in the body.  A person with PD can also experience depression, memory loss and balance issues which lead to increased likelihood of falling.

Doctors and medical researchers are still not entirely sure why PD occurs, but they know that it happens when nerve cells in the brain die.  This leads to specific chemicals on the brain being produced less (dopamine) which cause the tremors, confusion and muscle tightness.  According to current statistics 1 in 37 people in the UK will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s at some point in their life, however that is expected in increase due to an increasingly aging population.

Research into the use of hypnotherapy to lessen the symptoms of PD is still relatively sparse, however medical bodies are showing an increasing interest in its ability to help sufferers to relieve their symptoms. The European Parkinson’s Disease Association states that hypnotherapy has been reported to improve certain Parkinson’s symptoms in some people – for example pain, sleep difficulties, anxiety and depression. A small research studies reported significant improvements in self-reported levels of anxiety, depression, sleep quality, pain, stiffness, libido, and quality of life after 3 sessions of hypnotherapy along with a 94% reduction in tremors following treatment.  In addition to this there are anecdotal reports of the benefits of hypnotherapy for PD that can be found on forums and in support groups for PD sufferers.

Working with a hypnotherapist may help you feel more confident and more at ease about things which have previously been challenging for you says the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH). A qualified clinical hypnotherapist can assist individuals in learning to better manage their PD, changing their relationship to their symptoms.

To contact your nearest NCH accredited therapist and start the process of reclaiming your life fromPD, click here to visit our therapists finder.


Are you feeling the pre-Brexit slump?

It’s common knowledge that in the last 10 year’s rates of depression have increased significantly and this has been attributed to many things; increasing social isolation, financial pressures and the sharp increase in social media usage to name just a few. Last week research was released by King’s College London which showed that there was a significant spike in prescriptions for depression after the referendum vote in 2016 and UK mental health charity Mind released a statement citing Brexit and the policies of austerity as contributing factors in the increasing rates of depression in the UK.

Perhaps you’re one of the people who feels trapped by the uncertainty which surrounds our political situation. A recent poll carried out found that 83% of people were sick of seeing Brexit dominate the news every day and that they are disenchanted by the process.  Nearly 2/3 of the people surveyed believed that the ongoing uncertainty was negatively impacting their mental health.

Dealing with anxiety and stress is part of every-day life and it’s clear that the chaos surrounding Brexit has piled the pressure onto many of us. For a variety of reasons, not everyone finds it easy to cope with these pressures and this is where elevated, chronic stress levels and anxiety disorders can creep in.

So how do we deal more effectively with the increased levels of stress and anxiety that are affecting us so strongly at the moment? A simple step everyone can take is to look to do something that will bring us pleasure. When we choose positive activities to focus on, instead of being drawn to the news or ruminating over ‘what if…’ we can distract ourselves from unhelpful thoughts.  A good book and time with loved ones can help shift perspective and leave us feeling better.

The UK Mental Health Foundation recommends that if anxiety and stress are negatively affecting your life for a period of several weeks, help should be sought.  Instead of turning to antidepressants, talking therapies like clinical hypnotherapy can help alleviate feelings of anxiety, depression and stress.

Hypnotherapy is a way to quickly shift your thinking patterns, allowing you to see events with greater perspective and clarity. Many clients report that a session of hypnotherapy gives them a feeling of well-being that lasts them several days, which serves to aid them as they learn new and more effective ways of thinking about events and managing their stresses.

The NCH has close to 2,000 highly qualified and experienced therapists on its register across the UK. To find a qualified and insured hypnotherapist near you, click here to access the directory of NCH accredited therapists.


How happy are you?

Happiness is being at peace in the momentThe United Nations established the International Day of Happiness on March 20 in 2013. The day was created to recognise the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world. Since then the day has become a way to open up discussions about what happiness is and how we can spread happiness throughout the world.

To bring some extra happiness to your day, we’d like to offer some suggestions of things that you can do at home which are proven to boost people’s moods and beat stress.

Do small things that make you happy every day.

This may seem very self-evident, but doing something that you enjoy will make you happy!  It doesn’t have to be time consuming or a major event, research shows that regularly doing small things that you enjoy leads to ongoing feelings of happiness.  So take 5 minutes and write yourself a list of things that you like to do – maybe that’s having a coffee with a friend, going for a walk or having a hot bath.

While you’re doing that thing that you enjoy, take the time to really appreciate it; pay full attention to the moment. Afterwards, start planning the thing that you’ll do tomorrow and let yourself look forward to it.  You’ll notice that your whole mood improves.

Take 5 minutes to meditate

Even a short break for meditation will bring benefits into your life.  For an extra boost use the mantras from the Buddhist’s metta (loving kindness) meditation.  Just find a space where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes and sit comfortably.  Allow yourself to breath regularly and repeat the following statements to yourself:

  • May I be filled with loving kindness.
  • May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.
  • May I be well in body and mind.
  • May I be at ease and happy.

If your mind wanders, just bring it back gently to the statements.

Write your thoughts down

People who take the time to journal report increased feelings of well-being, better grades and healthier immune systems. The process of writing allows us to explore our feelings and put events behind us.  This allows us to stop ruminating and to move on with our lives.

If you’re feeling like you could benefit from a boost in happiness, you might consider hypnotherapy.  Working together with a hypnotherapist you can explore the root of your feelings, whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship. You’ll then explore what changes feel right for you and make a plan to work towards that outcome.

To find a qualified and insured hypnotherapist that can help you achieve your well-being and happiness goals, contact an NCH hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory.

World Sleep Day – Are you getting enough?

Today is World Sleep Day, a day created to celebrate sleep and to bring awareness to important issues related to sleep. Word Sleep Day began over a decade ago when sleep medicine professionals and researchers organised to promote the importance of sleep for personal health and wellbeing.  In the UK, 1 in 3 people are believed to suffer from poor sleep, with the NHS citing factors such as stress, computer use and taking work home with us as being to blame.

Why getting a good night’s sleep is important:

Sleep can make you happier.

Sleep and mood are closely connected with chronic sleep debt leading to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.  Once you get a good night’s sleep you feel happier and more able to cope with the stresses and strains of life.

Sleep can keep you healthier.

Regularly having a bad night’s sleep causes physical changes in the body including the immune system becoming less effective.  These changes mean that people who aren’t regularly getting a good night’s sleep are more likely to contract Type II diabetes and become obese.   There is also recent research that shows that sleep loss causes a build up of the types of  proteins in the brain that are linked to the acceleration of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Sleep can help you lose weight.

The International Journal of Obesity  recently published a study on sleep which found that people who had less than six hours sleep or more than eight hours per day were less likely to achieve weight loss than those who had between six and eight hours.

Sleep keeps you safer.

Drowsy driving is dangerous because sleep deprivation can have similar effects on your body as drinking alcohol. When you’re tired your reactions are delayed and you’re also more likely to be impulsive, which can mean you make decisions that are risky.

Need help in sleeping?

Are you creating an environment which is conducive for sleeping?  Limit exposure to blue light (from TVs, phones and other electronics), allow yourself enough time to wind down after exercise or socialising and make sure your sleeping area is comfortable, dark and quiet.

If you have tried all this and are still struggling to consistently have a good night’s sleep it is important to speak to your doctor to eliminate any physical causes. Your doctor may prescribe a range of interventions aimed at helping you sleep, including suggesting hypnotherapy. “Hypnotherapy and hypnosis can help us overcome patterns of sleep disturbance” says the NCH including finding and removing the root causes for your poor sleep or insomnia.

Need help in sleeping? Find a hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH’s directory.