SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- A specialized form of hypnotherapy called “gastric band hypnosis” (GBH) leads a patient through four “treatments” that essentially trick the mind into thinking one has undergone stomach-shrinking bariatric surgery. The weight-loss treatment that has been popular in Europe for years, but is only offered by a few places in the Tri-State area.
Metro Behavioral Health Associates of New York , with offices in Scarsdale and Manhattan is one of them. According to Jennie Kramer, MSW, LCSW, founder and director of the eating disorder treatment center, GBH can be an effective jump-start for significant weight loss. In fact, the White Plains resident is so convinced of its benefits that she is writing a book about it.
It is one of many therapies that can effectively treat various eating disorders (for instance, binge eating disorder). "When hypnosis is done well, you can alter and affect certain suggestive changes to the brain, which is what this treatment does," she said.
GBH starts with an extensive intake (like any medical treatment) and screening process. The “surgery” occurs in the first of four hypnosis sessions; right afterward, people feel like their stomach size has been surgically reduced. GBH is just like actual bariatric surgery in that people quickly begin to lose weight – but those who don’t follow the full treatment protocol (including nutrition counseling and therapy) will gain it back, warned Kramer.
Most people feel the effects immediately and lose significant weight within three to six months.
GBH has some advantages over bariatric surgery, she explained. It’s far less costly and there are no medical risks. Patients don’t actually undergo anesthesia or experience the cutting, pain, scarring, recovery time and infection risk that comes with surgery; GBH takes place only within the “theater of the mind.”
"Is it a miracle cure? No," she stressed. "But it provides a platform for which people feel extremely motivated." Studies from Britain support her, though clinical trials in the US are still in the works.
The program fee (four sessions plus monthly refreshers) ranges from $2,200 to $2,700.
Kramer emphasized that successful weight loss always requires “a significant, serious and sustainable change in lifestyle habits.” GBH can be a way to “clear the way, so you can take in the therapy and change your behaviors."
Metro Behavioral Health Associates of New York is located at 2 Overhill Rd., Suite 400, (914) 723-6242 ext. 505, mbhany.com .