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.



Hypnobirth: Experience a better birth.

Meghan Markle is reportedly following in Kate Middleton’s footsteps, learning hypnobirthing techniques in preparation for the latest baby royal.  Cosmopolitan magazine reported that a source close to the newlywed couple said that Meghan’s goal is to have a natural childbirth, at home if possible.

Hypnobirthing is widely supported by both the NCT (the UK’s largest charity for parents) and the NHS, with several trusts now offering hypnobirthing as standard to expectant mothers in their catchment area. The NCT conducted a review of studies into hypnobirthing and found that the use of hypnosis during childbirth lead to shorter labour, less intervention including fewer epidurals and lower pain relief and that it was strongly associated with higher levels of maternal wellbeing and satisfaction.

What are hypnobirthing sessions like?

Most hypnobirthing progammes are between 4 and 12 sessions depending on which programme you choose or the hypnotherapist who you are working with.  Usually you will be taught a variety of techniques that will help you remain calm and relaxed and your partner will be involved as well, forming a support system for you during the birthing process.  You may also be given CDs to listen to before and during the birth.

A hypnobirthing programme will typically include:

  • Suggestions to increase your confidence and trust in your body
  • Tools and visualisations to let go of any fears or anxieties
  • Techniques to manage any discomfort or pain
  • Understanding of the stress response on the body during labour
  • Suggestions for your partner to use to create a sense of calm in the room
  • Self-hypnosis (awake) techniques

As Hypnotherapy is largely hands-off and non-invasive, with no reported side effects, it is one of the most relaxing, enjoyable and safe therapies to use during pregnancy and birth. Many mothers who have used it during pregnancy and birth say they sleep much better and are much calmer during pregnancy.

If you have any further questions about hypnobirthing, please contact your local hypnobirthing specialist in our NCH Hypnotherapy Directory.


Are you getting enough sleep?

Sleep is vital for health.Are you one of those people who struggle to get to sleep?  You’re so very tired all day, but the minute your head hits the pillow you’re wide awake with your mind running riot.  Perhaps you get to sleep easily enough, but wake in the middle of the night, disoriented, and can’t drop off again because you’ve got too much chatter in your head.  Maybe you don’t have insomnia by its technical definition – when you struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep or wake up not feeling refreshed at least 3 nights a week for 3 months, but you’re definitely struggling and missing your usual zest for life.

If you’re struggling with sleep, you’re not alone.  Sleep experts estimate that waking in the middle of the night affects roughly 25% of the population.  Even more people just simply struggle to get to sleep.  We all know how important sleep is to our wellbeing. The link between the quality of sleep that we get and our mental health is not new.  Researchers are currently investigating if it’s the trouble sleeping that causes the mental health struggles or vice versa.  So far they have identified that not getting sufficient rest means you are more likely to make poor decisions, struggle with self-control and you’ll feel more isolated and withdrawn.

So what can we do about it?

The first thing to do when trying to improve your sleep is to look at your sleep hygiene. This includes assessing your bedroom and making cool, quite, dark and comfortable.  Limiting screen time and intense physical activity in the hours immediately preceding bedtime is also essential.

Next, it’s important to understand what a ‘normal’ sleep pattern is, and surprisingly it seems as though that golden standard of ‘8 hours uninterrupted sleep’ isn’t the norm that we all assume it is.  We got through cycles as we sleep, with each cycle consisting of a phase of REM sleep (dreaming), non-REM deep sleep and lighter non-REM periods.  As the night progresses we may wake up for a while.

You may find that the worry that accompanies waking up in the middle of the night passes if you use the time productively, perhaps writing a to-do list or getting all the swirling thoughts out onto paper, or you could actually get up and do something for a while until you feel sleepy again.  By focusing on something other than the time passing and the not sleeping, you remove some of the stress from the situation and may find it easier to return to bed; catching those crucial extra hours of sleep before the day begins.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) says that insomnia responds well to hypnotherapy, with many clients report significantly improved sleep after treatment. By uncovering and addressing the areas of stress and tension in your life you remove the cause of the not sleeping.  When you work with a hypnotherapist they may teach you self-hypnosis or meditation techniques to use before going to bed, or while in bed.

If you’re struggling to sleep, use the NCH therapist finder to find a trained and insured professional near you who can help.

Are you sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions?

Are you achieving your goals?

January brings with it overflowing gyms and boxes of pre-made salads eaten at desks.  Perhaps the most common New Year’s resolutions are to improve your health – whether that’s getting in shape by losing weight or spending more time exercising or by ditching cigarettes. Did you know that 60% of resolutions are broken before February finishes?  If you’re one of that 60% or feel like you’re struggling to stick to your resolutions, you could consider giving yourself a boost with a few sessions of hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy has been clinically researched and found to be effective for a wide range of lifestyle and habit changes from quitting smoking to weight loss and boosting self-esteem. Working together with the hypnotherapist you will harness the power of your subconscious to understand and change negative behaviours and thought patterns which have been keeping you stuck.

Hypnotherapy helps people to make changes to their behaviour,” says the National Council for Hypnotherapy. Hypnosis is a natural state of mind and people are often surprised that they hear every word and could get up and walk out of the room at any moment. A hypnotherapist is a guide and helps you on a journey, but the change can only be made by you. The NCH states that often people find it very empowering to realise that they are in control and can choose to make changes.

Unlike crash diets and extreme boot camp exercise programmes, hypnotherapy for weight loss is about changing your habits with food for the rest of your life.  You’ll notice that you’re free to just enjoy your life – eating and exercising sensibly without having to think about it.

If you’ve committed to quitting smoking, you’ll explore the reasons you want to quit and the reasons that you started and harness the power of your subconscious to assist you in your goal. Research shows that by quitting smoking with hypnosis you are twice as likely to give up as if you used nicotine patches.

Finding a hypnotherapist near you is easy, just click here to access the NCH’s therapist database which contains over 1,800 qualified, registered and insured hypnotherapists all around the UK.

Social media linked to depression in teens

social media linked to depression in teensGovernment ministers and Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS have called for social media companies such as Snapchat and Instagram to limit the amount of time that young people spend on their platforms.  These calls for reform came after a study tracking 11,000 14-year-olds (the Millennium Cohort Study) found that almost 40% of girls who spend 5 hours or longer on social media a day are depressed. Stevens called for the social media companies to have an extra tax levied on them to help ease the strain on the already overloaded NHS system.

Of course, it’s a chicken and egg argument, what came first the depression, low self-esteem and dissatisfaction with their body or the excessive hours spent on social media. Experts say that despite there not being a causal link, in their opinion evidence points in that direction.

Last week Facebook faced new allegations that it paid teenagers to download an app onto their phones which tracked not only their social media useage, but their private emails. Apple said that Facebook abused a loophole in its AppStore to bypass strict data collection rules.  Barbara Keeley, the shadow minister for mental health, said social media firms should be forced to adopt a new duty of care to protect young users.

Greater amounts of daily screen time are associated with more insomnia symptoms and shorter sleep duration among teens. The sleep deprivation associated with social messaging, web surfing and TV/movie watching is linked to depressive symptoms. Of course, it’s too simplistic to lay the blame for the rise in mental health problems amongst teenage girls at the doors of social media.

There is a complex interplay between the environment, genes and what’s happening in a person’s inner world that give rise to mental health problems.  However, early intervention is very important when assessing the long term outcomes for teens with mental health issues and with NHS resources stretched, it’s easy for these girls to slip through the cracks.

If you think your child is depressed, stressed or having other mental health problems it is important to find them someone they can talk to.  The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) has nearly 2000 qualified therapists from the UK as members.  This means they are well placed to recommend someone near you who specialises working with children and teenagers.

Clinical hypnotherapy takes a holistic approach, rather than just treating symptoms. The underlying emotions that feed the anxiety or depression are addressed and effective hypnotherapy can bring fast relief compared to other forms of therapy.  Use the NCH directory to find a therapist near you.

The importance of ethics in therapeutic practice

In the last few days hypnotherapy has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.  A trial is underway in Scotland where a hypnotherapist has been accused of assaulting a client during a session and a victim of a man who assaulted her while she was under hypnosis has spoken out about her experiences.  There are horrific situations and the National Council for Hypnotherapy’s board of directors is deeply saddened by these shocking events. The NCH is the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association, representing close to 2,000 professional hypnotherapists.

Complementary therapy, from counselling to mindfulness in the UK is largely unregulated; anyone who chooses to can call themselves a therapist or coach without any training or background checks.  The NCH was established in 1973 to bring unity to this unregulated environment.  All hypnotherapists who are members of the NCH have completed training which meets National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the field. They also agree to adhere to a code of conduct and ethics in which they agree to keep high standards of personal conduction and not to do anything that would adversely affect someone’s treatment or confidence in them.  In addition to this, all members are required to have comprehensive Public Liability & Professional Indemnity Insurance, undertake regular continuing professional development training, and attend supervision.

All members of the NCH meet the requirements laid out for registration with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) – a council set up by the government to protect the public. Whether our members have chosen to join the CNHC, they have voluntarily agreed to meet these standards because they are committed to providing a high level of care to their clients within stringent ethical boundaries.

The NCH provides a Complaints & Disciplinary Procedure which ensures that clients receive the highest possible quality of treatment from hypnotherapists who are members of their organisation. As the NCH, we can only minimise risk, like any other professional association, in any other field. We will always be reliant on well trained, caring, decent people following our regulations.  We set a level of standard to join our organisation, and we have to trust that with the criteria met; training ongoing CPD and Supervision, that people are inherently ‘good’ and are therapists because they want the best for their patients/clients.

Hypnotherapy can be helpful for many different problems from mental health difficulties including anxiety, depression and stress to physical issues such as insomnia, weight management, or skin conditions. Several NHS trusts have introduced hypnobirthing as part of their antenatal classes and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends hypnotherapy to treat IBS.

To ensure that you are working with a trained, insured and registered hypnotherapist, please use our therapist finder, our therapists are located all over the UK so you’re sure to find someone near you.

Stressed? How to feel more resilient.

74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope in the last year a YouGov poll found. The festive season is well and truly over and the rest of winter stretches out ahead of us.  Most of us are back in the swing of work or school, back to thinking about the realities of life, our finances that we neglected over Christmas. Perhaps worrying about the climate of political uncertainty, what will happen with Brexit.  With no break or bank holiday for some months, for many of us this is the time of year where we struggle with our stress levels the most.

Taking steps to look after your wellbeing can help you deal with pressure, and reduce the impact that stress has on your life. Resilience keeps us mentally healthy and able to cope with the stresses of life. Because every-day stresses are ongoing, the way you deal with them is crucial for your long-term mental and physical health. 

The way you interpret and think about events makes a difference. You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can think about it in more productive and resilient ways.  By focusing on what you can control, or learn from a situation you can respond to events more productively.  Challenge yourself to consider a range of outcomes, instead of automatically thinking that the worst will happen.

Work towards strong connections within your family, friends and community.  We all function best when we have support.  Connect with and collaborate with your community in projects that make a difference. Social connection is central to good mental and physical health and giving makes us happier, maintains perspective on our lives and reminds us to be grateful.

If you’re struggling to manage your stress levels and feeling as though life is getting on top of you a few sessions with a hypnotherapist may help you achieve a different perspective.   During sessions with a hypnotherapist you will learn skills that will enable you to manage your stress more effectively and to think about the events that occur in your life in more productive ways.  You may also learn techniques that help you examine your short and long term goals, cultivate your purpose in life, and understand feedback from key people in your life.

Often change is subtle, as the hypnotherapist will be working with the subconscious mind, and a very positive shift in feeling and reaction to certain previously stressful situations can be noticed.  Through working with a hypnotherapist you can expect to feel calmer and more confident, with less stress.

You can find a fully-trained, accredited and insured hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory.