Archive for February, 2007


Video clips and news have been added to the blog. Do check it out. Spread the news around so that more can be aware of the seriousness of hunger and how it is causing massive deprivation, malnutrition and diseases in Africa.

Do also check this website on poverty and hunger.

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The following is an extract from a page written by my yoga master, Master Mani. I must say that he is the most dedicated and unassuming gentleman that I have known. Only if there are many people who is as selfless and unselfish as him, this world would be such a great place, filled with peace, harmony and joy all round.

This is what Master Mani wrote about the first practice of the Dharana series. “Dharana” means “Meditation”.

Kaya Sthairyam is a practice of concentration on the steadiness of the body. In Sanskrit, the word, “kaya” means “body” and “sthairyam” means “steadiness“. Because of the inter-relation between the body and the mind, when the body becomes steady and still, the mind follows suit. Therefore, each of the body is absolutely steady and immobile should the actual dharana practice begin.

It is also important that the mind remains one-pointed only while the body is still. As soon as any part of the body moves, the mind also moves, Thus, the concentration is broken and once broken, it cannot be attained again in the same sitting. During pratyahara practices, one can move the body. One can shift position, one can even get up and then come back to the practice. In dharana, however, one cannot move a finger, bat an eyelid or even swallow without breaking concentration. Before attempting the practices of dharana, kaya sthairyam must first be mastered. One should be able to sit without moving any part of the body for at least half an hour, then one will be ready to begin the practices o dharana.

In the initial stage of kays sthairyam, the body should be comfortable and relaxed in the meditation posture. Later on, as immobility develops, the physical awareness will gradually subside as awareness of stillness increases. At this time, the concentration is shifted from the body to the natural breath. So that the mind still has focus. Ultimately, the awareness of the breath also subsides so that there is oly awareness. A that time, one is ready to begin dharana.

With awareness, that is steady, still and unhampered by the body, one must begin to concentrate on the object of meditation. If dharana is attempted with an unsteady body and fluctuating mind, no benefits will result from the practice even if one perform it for a hundred years. The only result will be tension, frustration, and a broken mind. Therefore, give one’s attention to the preparatory practices in the beginning. Master Kaya Sthairaym and thereafter, one will be able to proceed with the practices of dharana without obstacles.”

Below is what I wrote in one of my pals’ blog today. I thought I share it with you.

Cheong wrote –

Thursday, February 15, 2007
Valentine’s Day Musings


Valentine’s Day had come and gone! Perhaps for many they look forward to the next Valentine’s Day in 2008. What did we do yesterday? Well, nothing! I guess coming into our 35th year in marriage, we do not need such events to remind us of our commitments to each other but of course it is always good to express or articulate love as often as we can for whether you are male or female we need love. Moreover since the stroke, Rock is uncomfortable with crowds, noisy places and unfamiliar environments. So I cooked a meal for the both of us and talked.

What did we do yesterday? We reminisces about when we first met, about her father chasing me away from the house and told me that I came to visit too often and how we fell in love with each other. Honestly I fell in love with her Curries first! Rock is a fantastic cook and her Curries are one of the best around. Perhaps she discovered the secret of getting a man’s heart through his stomach and I am definitely an easy catch since I love food and especially Curries.

We also reminisces about the couples that we know who are divorced now. Reflecting on this, I noticed that it is more and more difficult for the present generation to stay married. Divorce rates are climbing not only in the West but also in the more traditional cultures in the East as well. It is alarming enough for Governments round the world to set-up various departments to study, give counsel as well as prevent divorces and very often they recruit the religious leaders of the major religions to join in their various forums.

I am sure the reasons are complex, multi-dimensional and also difficult to lay a finger on. My belief is that people get married because they love each other, sincerely, truly, and deeply enough to take the step. Then through the years be it few or many, something went wrong in the relationship and from “I cannot live without you” to “I cannot live with you anymore”. So what went wrong?

I read a Book titled “Hiding From Love” ( featured here under Book of the Week) and it was mind opening for me. It never occurred to me, even through years of being married and staying married that there is such a thing called Hiding From Love. What I learnt is that hiding is not always a conscious process. At times due to our deep hurts and immaturities, we isolate ourselves for so long that we no longer have access to certain thoughts, feelings or memories and we do not know how to reconnect back to those we love. The Book also explains about Helpful Hiding and Harmful Hiding and HOPE for those in hiding! Very good read indeed!

This is what I wrote –

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hi Cheong,

What a great relationship and love that you and Rock have. Very admirably indeed.

Today’s couples have too much choices. Everything boils down to money and material things. These couples as individuals have conditioned / imprinted in their minds expectations for self-glorifications and pursuits and forgetting well-being is not about money and materialism. It is about love and care for others; only then wellness and calm can befall on self.

I recommend a very provocative read of a book by Jay Haley titled “Conversations with Milton Erickson, MD. – volume II – Changing Couples”. Milton was a reknown leading innovator in the field of therapy.

These conversations present in an informal and often humorous way his basic approaches to children, families, marital couples, and all the kinds of people who seek out a therapist to resolve their dilemmas.

There are many in a romantic mood today. There are many too who are being loved and cared for. Today may be a very special day for many. To some of us, we expect a gift. However, for millions, it will be especially long and sad. No gifts. Alone. Unloved, uncared for, pinning for their loved ones and trying to get through today as best as they can possibly could.

Today is a day to remember the deprived ones – babies, infants and children, all over the world. Many are separated and left alone by wars, too many left dying with malnutrition and diseases…unattended to and searching for a chance to survive and to live. Many were just unlucky to be in parts of the world where, like it or not, wars, famine, drought, disasters and man-inflicted circumstances have dealt tragic blows to these children of world’s future. Just imagine how tough living is for these individuals. Living hands-to-mouth every segment of each passing day.

Let’s take this day to do something for these babies, infants and children of all ages from various parts of the world. Let’s offer hope, love and care in whichever way possible. Those of us who are able to read this are in a tremendously fortunate situation. Take a moment to spare a thought and provide a helping hand. These gestures that would make our world a better and more meaningful one for our children and all who share this mother earth; giving a beam of ray of light in pitch darkness during every moment of their lives and struggles. All they need is a chance to begin to live.

“If it is to be, it is up to me”.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. May there be abundant love all around.

Happy Valentine’s Day


There are many in a romantic mood today. There are many too who are being loved and cared for. Today may be a very special day for many. To some of us, we expect a gift. However, for millions, it will be especially long and sad. No gifts. Alone. Unloved, uncared for, pinning for their loved ones and trying to get through today as best as they can possibly could.

Today is a day to remember the deprived ones – babies, infants and children, all over the world. Many are separated and left alone by wars, too many left dying with malnutrition and diseases…unattended to and searching for a chance to survive and to live. Many were just unlucky to be in parts of the world where, like it or not, wars, famine, drought, disasters and man-inflicted circumstances have dealt tragic blows to these children of our world’s future. Just imagine how tough living is for these individuals. Living hands-to-mouth every segment of each passing day.

Let’s take this day to do something for these babies, infants and children of all ages from various parts of the world. Let’s offer hope, love and care in whichever way possible. Those of us who are able to read this are in a tremendously fortunate situation. Take a moment to spare a thought and provide a helping hand. These gestures that would make our world a better and more meaningful one for our children and all who share this mother earth; giving a beam of ray of light in pitch darkness during every moment of their lives and struggles. All they need is a chance to begin to live.

“If it is to be, it is up to me”.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. May there be abundant love all around.

Yes…it is about bed-wetting and how to stop an infant or a child from doing it. I got this from a fellow member, Barbara, in USA. Barbara belongs to the same association (International Association Of Counsellors And Therapists) as I.

This is what she wrotes in helping an fellow IACT member who was faced with a child patient having a bed-wetting habit.

Read about this and perhaps you can share Barbara’s experience with someone who has a child with the concern.

“Children are very receptive to hypnosis and imagery; in fact children are more often in that imaginary, magical world than in the so call real everyday adult world. Working with children in hypnosis, using a lot of bells and whistles and storytelling works great. If the child is young, crayons and paper work wonders. I sometimes have the child draw a picture of himself or herself, or write a small book about himself or herself before the 1st visit.

I meet with both the child and parents and we all enjoy this wonderful book together. Children always love to share things about their lives, and it is a great way to start rapport. I also receive the joy of seeing their lovely artwork, sharing and commenting on it. An easy technique which I used and works quite well with children 6-8 years is that I will have them create a picture in their mind about the concern, in this case, bed-wetting and we talk about how it makes them feel, etc. Then have them crumple up that picture and throw it away, and make a new picture in their mind of the way they are from now on going to be…. and then draw that new picture….. a lot of fun imagining, and with great result.”


I read Amy Hathaway’s diary and her poem this morning. It was so moving and touching. I recommend that you do visit her at her link www.foreverangels.org and read all about the fabulous work Amy and Ben Hathaway are both doing. Just imagine the amount of tribulations Amy, Ben, their team, the babies and children have to go through daily and yet they persevere, and take the challenges with high spirit and selfless dedication. Excellent and admirable work, Amy, Ben and all at Forever Angels Baby Home, Mwanza, Tanzania.

Nyanda…I am sure being amongst the angels is where you belong and is a more restful and peaceful place

postscript: photographs (top two) – Ben and Amy with the babies at the Home affording smiles all round even from a tiring day. Bottom photograph – Nyanda John


Amy Hathway’s Diary

Thursday, February 01, 2007 – To Nyanda – January 11th 2007 – Febrary 1st 2007

MY TINY ANGEL – With love from Amy

For much too short a moment,
An angel came to me;
With tiny wings and halo,
But now he is set free.

My Baby Angel has now gone,
His time with us so small,
And yet this child so innocent,
Brought such love to us all.

My Angel came for reasons,
I just do not understand;
But left again so suddenly,
Now no longer in my hands.

His journey brief, though filled with love,
Was hard and full of strife,
I love you Nyanda and wished for you,
A long and happy life.

I now close my eyes and picture you,
I imagine your tiny face,
I hope that now, you are at peace
And have flown to a better place,

So, rest now my tiny angel,
Your time with us is through;
You will be in my heart forever,
And I’ll always love you.

Posted @ 10:43 PM


A Sad Day

Today has been a sad day. Baby Nyanda died in hospital this morning.

I would like to say it was because he was very sick – but he wasn’t. I visited him just yesterday evening and he was doing fine. He did have malaria and his hand looked sore where his drip had tissued – but he was doing well and I expected him to be discharged today.

I got a phone call from the Doctor at 7.30am this morning to say that Nyanda had vomited and aspirated (choked). He died because no one heard him and so didn’t help.

Last night there was only one nurse on duty on Neonatal Unit – caring for almost 30 babies – most of whom were much more sick than Nyanda. It is not the nurses fault – but the Management of the Hospital.

Our little boy died unnecessarily.

I am angry and sad and have had a very busy day so haven’t even really had time to think about it all.

The Doctor has asked me to write an Official Letter of Complaint to the Hospital – which I will do – but I don’t expect it will do much good.

It takes a miracle to change things here – I went to the hospital this morning to see Nyanda and to speak to the Doctors – there were 3 nurses on duty – and not one of them was in the actual room with the babies. They all sit at desks paper shuffling at best, or at worst, just chatting.

Our baby died last night and they were still not doing any ‘nursing’.

The whole process was awful at the hospital. Nyanda had been wrapped up when we arrived – but he was just plonked on a metal table in the sluice room. We asked for 5 minutes alone with him – but that was too much to ask for and after a lot of huffing and puffing we were finally allowed to take him to the linen cupboard!

We had to wait for him to be taken to the mortuary and then I wasn’t allowed to carry him – but he was literally dropped into a metal trolley and carted off…..stopping at ICU on the way to collect another baby who died in the night!

Poor Nyanda would have been better off at Forever Angels receiving no medical care than in the Neonatal Unit. I just wish I had known. I think we have learned a valuable lesson about the hospital – but when we have sick children – we have very little choice. This is the best hospital in the City.

I am going to try to find his relatives / neighbours in the village tomorrow with Social Welfare and then once we know their wishes, we can make plans. Sometimes the family want to arrange the burial themselves, often they leave it to the Baby Home.

Whatever their decision, we are having a Service on Monday at the Baby Home for Nyanda. He was only with us a short time – but Forever Angels is like a family and these children are loved from the minute they come to us. We are all devastated to lose Nyanda and angry at the circumstances….but this only reinforces my entry the other day about the desperate need for more funding for nurses at the hospital – and UK trained Neonatal nurses to come out here to help and to train.

Sometimes what we do here is never going to be enough.

Nyanda will be truly missed by us all – our first precious angel has flown.

* * * * * * * * * * *
It seems strange to add ‘good news’ to the end of this entry – but after the sadness of this morning – there was some light in the afternoon. I spent the afternoon collecting a set of 10 day old twins – one boy and one girl. Their mother died just after giving birth and the Father is unable to cope. They seem well and alert , but have diaoreal infections and some skin lesions which we will get checked out by a Doctor tomorrow.

For twins they are quite a good size….but maybe I am just used to very small babies now? Seba is 1.92kg and Omali is 2.54kg.

Please have all my staff and babies in your thoughts on this sad day.


I read Amy Hathaway’s diary and her poem this morning. It was so moving and touching. I recommend that you do visit her at her link www.foreverangels.org and read all about the fabulous work Amy and Ben Hathaway are both doing. Just imagine the amount of tribulations Amy, Ben, their team, the babies and children have to go through daily and yet they persevere, and take the challenges with high spirit and selfless dedication. Excellent and admirable work, Amy, Ben and all at Forever Angels Baby Home, Mwanza, Tanzania.

Nyanda…I am sure being amongst the angels is where you belong and is a more restful and peaceful place

postscript: photographs (top two) – Ben and Amy with the babies at the Home affording smiles all round even from a tiring day. Bottom photograph – Nyanda John


Amy Hathway’s Diary

Thursday, February 01, 2007 – To Nyanda – January 11th 2007 – Febrary 1st 2007

MY TINY ANGEL – With love from Amy

For much too short a moment,
An angel came to me;
With tiny wings and halo,
But now he is set free.

My Baby Angel has now gone,
His time with us so small,
And yet this child so innocent,
Brought such love to us all.

My Angel came for reasons,
I just do not understand;
But left again so suddenly,
Now no longer in my hands.

His journey brief, though filled with love,
Was hard and full of strife,
I love you Nyanda and wished for you,
A long and happy life.

I now close my eyes and picture you,
I imagine your tiny face,
I hope that now, you are at peace
And have flown to a better place,

So, rest now my tiny angel,
Your time with us is through;
You will be in my heart forever,
And I’ll always love you.

Posted @ 10:43 PM


A Sad Day

Today has been a sad day. Baby Nyanda died in hospital this morning.

I would like to say it was because he was very sick – but he wasn’t. I visited him just yesterday evening and he was doing fine. He did have malaria and his hand looked sore where his drip had tissued – but he was doing well and I expected him to be discharged today.

I got a phone call from the Doctor at 7.30am this morning to say that Nyanda had vomited and aspirated (choked). He died because no one heard him and so didn’t help.

Last night there was only one nurse on duty on Neonatal Unit – caring for almost 30 babies – most of whom were much more sick than Nyanda. It is not the nurses fault – but the Management of the Hospital.

Our little boy died unnecessarily.

I am angry and sad and have had a very busy day so haven’t even really had time to think about it all.

The Doctor has asked me to write an Official Letter of Complaint to the Hospital – which I will do – but I don’t expect it will do much good.

It takes a miracle to change things here – I went to the hospital this morning to see Nyanda and to speak to the Doctors – there were 3 nurses on duty – and not one of them was in the actual room with the babies. They all sit at desks paper shuffling at best, or at worst, just chatting.

Our baby died last night and they were still not doing any ‘nursing’.

The whole process was awful at the hospital. Nyanda had been wrapped up when we arrived – but he was just plonked on a metal table in the sluice room. We asked for 5 minutes alone with him – but that was too much to ask for and after a lot of huffing and puffing we were finally allowed to take him to the linen cupboard!

We had to wait for him to be taken to the mortuary and then I wasn’t allowed to carry him – but he was literally dropped into a metal trolley and carted off…..stopping at ICU on the way to collect another baby who died in the night!

Poor Nyanda would have been better off at Forever Angels receiving no medical care than in the Neonatal Unit. I just wish I had known. I think we have learned a valuable lesson about the hospital – but when we have sick children – we have very little choice. This is the best hospital in the City.

I am going to try to find his relatives / neighbours in the village tomorrow with Social Welfare and then once we know their wishes, we can make plans. Sometimes the family want to arrange the burial themselves, often they leave it to the Baby Home.

Whatever their decision, we are having a Service on Monday at the Baby Home for Nyanda. He was only with us a short time – but Forever Angels is like a family and these children are loved from the minute they come to us. We are all devastated to lose Nyanda and angry at the circumstances….but this only reinforces my entry the other day about the desperate need for more funding for nurses at the hospital – and UK trained Neonatal nurses to come out here to help and to train.

Sometimes what we do here is never going to be enough.

Nyanda will be truly missed by us all – our first precious angel has flown.

* * * * * * * * * * *
It seems strange to add ‘good news’ to the end of this entry – but after the sadness of this morning – there was some light in the afternoon. I spent the afternoon collecting a set of 10 day old twins – one boy and one girl. Their mother died just after giving birth and the Father is unable to cope. They seem well and alert , but have diaoreal infections and some skin lesions which we will get checked out by a Doctor tomorrow.

For twins they are quite a good size….but maybe I am just used to very small babies now? Seba is 1.92kg and Omali is 2.54kg.

Please have all my staff and babies in your thoughts on this sad day.

Just to pen down my thought of the day and leave it here to share to all.

Napoleon Hillcheck out this author for more details

What the mind can conceived and believe, it can achieve“.

Here is an article about Hypnotism. It is a very good article to share as a continuation of that short one I wrote on January 22, 2007. Relax and enjoy reading this.

Hypnotism: “It’s all in the mind”

Once regarded as a cheap stage trick, hypnotism is proven to be a powerful medical treatment – and now it’s available on the NHS. Roger Dobson reports.
Published: 30 January 2007

There’s no magic, no swinging pendulums or swaying watches, and no one is counting backwards as they slump into unconsciousness. This is medical rather than stage or movie hypnotism, and it is increasingly being used to treat the symptoms of diseases and conditions as diverse as asthma, cystic fibrosis, snoring, migraines and warts.

It’s been used to allow surgery and dental work without anaesthesia, and for pain-free childbirth without medication. And new evidence from the UK’s first and only NHS centre offering hypnotherapy shows that it’s highly effective in treating some types of chest pain as well as irritable bowel syndrome.

New research from America has also found that more than half the people who used hypnotherapy to give up smoking were able to kick the habit, while researchers in France have successfully used the therapy to lower blood pressure.

Hypnosis has been used for centuries to treat diverse ills, but it went into relative decline with the rise of modern medicine, and in the last 200 years it’s been more associated with stage magicians and movie villains than medicine.

Film-makers take a lot of blame for damaging the image of hypnotism: “When a hypnotist appears on screen, expect evil. If his induction features magnetic hand passes, he’s probably about to compel someone to commit a crime. If he hypnotises with an intense stare, his intent is likelier seduction,” says Dr Deirdre Barrett of Harvard Medical School, who has studied more than 200 films about hypnotism.

At the University Hospital of South Manchester, Professor Peter Whorwell, a gastroenterologist who heads the only NHS-funded hypnotherapy centre in Britain, which has been pioneering the therapy as a treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, agrees. “One of the problems is the name,” he says. “If we started off again with a name like neuro-modulation, for example, it would be more readily accepted. The name hypnotism has so much baggage attached. Cognitive behavioural therapy is now reasonably well accepted, and so, too, is psychotherapy, but of the three, I would say hypnotism is potentially the most powerful. It is becoming a treatment of choice for IBS“.

When I am dead and gone, people are going to suddenly realise that hypnotism is an incredibly powerful tool and question why it has been ignored for so long.”

Just how it works is not clear, and some critics suggest it’s simply a way of relaxing. But practitioners say there’s more to it, and that under hypnosis the patient can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation while blocking out distractions.

The first thing you have to do is get past the myths and misconceptions about clinical hypnosis,” says Dr Carol Ginandes who led a study into its use for anxiety at Harvard Medical School. “It’s not used for entertainment. There are no Svengali-like figures in power-dominant relationships. It’s not a sleep state or something that someone can make you do. It’s a state of heightened, focused attention that we can all shift into very naturally.”
In a report in the Harvard Magazine, she explains how it has an effect: “We don’t yet understand the mechanisms by which these suggestions are transplanted by the mind into the language of the body, but let’s say someone is a smoker. When he’s in a hypnotic state, I could suggest that he’s going to find himself craving cigarettes less and less over a period of time. If he’s ready to quit, that suggestion will be planted at a deep level in his mind, like seeds planted beneath the soil rather than scattered over the top, helping him tap into some useful physical and psychological resources.”
Smoking

In a study at the Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Texas, smokers were given eight sessions of therapy over two months, and told to quit smoking one week after beginning the course of treatment.

Carbon-monoxide concentration tests were carried out on the patients to see whether they had smoked after treatment, and results showed that by the end of treatment 40 per cent had given up. At a follow-up 12 weeks later, 60 per cent had quit.

Dental

Hypnotherapy is increasingly being used in a number of areas of dentistry, including dental phobia, teeth-grinding and extractions and fillings. It has also been used for dental surgery that is usually done under local or general anaesthetic.

In one reported case, a patient in Scotland has also had a tooth implant, which involved putting a titanium rod into her jaw. In her case, hypnosis was used to alter the sensation in the areas where surgery was taking place. She was asked to imagine a dial where zero meant no pain.

Chest pains

Up to one-third of patients who have angina-like chest pain are found to have normal coronary arteries, but many continue to suffer painful symptoms despite no evidence of heart disease. Non-cardiac chest pain is a problem because there is little or no treatment.

In a new NHS-funded trial at Manchester, 28 patients were given 12 sessions of hypnotherapy or a placebo treatment. After being hypnotised, patients were told to focus on the chest, and given repetitive suggestions about reducing pain. Patients were also given a tape of a session and encouraged to practise at home. Results show that of those who had the therapy, eight out of 10 had an all-round improvement in symptoms.

Wound healing

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have shown that broken bones and surgical wounds heal faster in patients who have hypnotherapy. Six weeks after breaking their ankles, patients being treated with hypnotherapy were three weeks ahead in their healing schedule than those who were just put in plaster.

In a second study, the researchers had similar results with surgical wounds. Before surgery, suggestions were made under therapy on pain and anxiety, and on decreased inflammation, reduced scar tissue, and accelerated wound-healing. Results show the women who had the therapy healed significantly faster.

Irritable bowel syndrome

One of the most common gastrointestinal disorders, with research showing that between five and 20 per cent of us suffer at some time. Its main symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea or constipation. The exact cause is not known, but in some people changes in the balance of bacteria that line the gut are thought to be involved, as well as inflammation. Existing treatment for the condition can be only moderately effective.

Research at the University Hospital of South Manchester, where the first trial of hypnotherapy for the condition was carried out, shows that the majority of sufferers can benefit. “We have found that IBS patients treated with hypnotherapy remain well in the long term, with dramatically reduced medication needs,” say the researchers.

Cystic fibrosis

According to a University of Michigan report, hypnotherapy can reduce symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, anxiety and other symptoms of cystic fibrosis.

A study at the Robert C Schwartz Cystic Fibrosis Center at the State University of New York also shows that self-hypnosis can be highly effective. “Many of the patients used hypnosis for more than one purpose, including relaxation (61 per cent of patients), relief of pain associated with medical procedures (31 per cent), headache relief (16 per cent), changing the taste of medications to make the flavour more palatable (10 per cent), and control of other symptoms associated with CF (18 per cent). The patients successfully utilised self-hypnosis 86 per cent of the time.”

Childbirth

Research at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, where hypnosis is used for women in labour, shows it is highly effective. Women who had the therapy, which was given after 37 weeks gestation, used fewer epidurals – 36 per cent compared with 53 per cent in other women. A second study showed that women taught self-hypnosis reduced their need for analgesia by half, epidurals by 70 per cent, and were more than twice as likely to be satisfied with their pain management in labour compared with other women.

Snoring

According to Harley Street psychiatrist Dr Tom Kraft, snoring can be treated with hypnotherapy by suggesting under hypnosis that the sufferer turns on his side every time he begins to snore.

I have reported on the case of a 53-year-old man who came to see me after his snoring led to his wife throwing him out of the bedroom,” he says. “After I treated him, his snoring went, and he was allowed back in the bedroom, for which he was eternally grateful. After 10 sessions, the patient no longer snored, and when he was followed up later the improvements had been maintained.”

What is hypnotism?

What hypnotism doesn’t do is put people to sleep, or make them lose control, or do things against their will. “Many see it as the mind being taken over by the hypnotist and loss of control, which is completely erroneous,” says Professor Peter Whorwell at the University Hospital of South Manchester. “As a consequence of this, the whole subject is surrounded by a cloud of mystery.”

In hypnotherapy, patients are helped by the therapist to reach what’s described as a relaxed state of consciousness, like being absorbed in a good book. Therapists may start by describing images that create a sense of security and well-being. They may then suggest ways of achieving specific goals, such as getting rid of phobias.

Just how it works is not clear. Practitioners say the patient can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation while blocking out distractions.