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Summer 2008


Connecting the Dots


     It has been a couple months since I ventured write down a few of my wandering thoughts so when I recently reread a research paper, initially published in 2006, I was inspired to share some of the thoughts it held and inspired as I felt that it did a wonderful job of connecting the dots, so to speak.  What dots you may ask?   Well, as a consulting hypnotist I continually find myself working with folks who are having difficulties in their lives, often in part, because they haven’t yet quite connected all their dots.  Due to this fact I find them at my office needing help with any number of complex health, relationship and emotional concerns.  

What I’ve found, time and again, is just how intimately one’s health, both mental and physical, is linked to one’s emotional well being. These are the dots I speak of, and just as childhood was a place and time when most of us played the connect-the-dots game, it is as though the process is life long and that can often leads folks down a path of ill health and/or unhappiness in their lives.   It is from this particular perspective that I’ve grown to consider how the mind/body connection (some of the most important dots) can often inundates multiple aspects of one’s life, often without conscious thought, to creating our life experiences.

So what does this “life” philosophy have to do with the research I read?  

Well, to edify the point I’m going to paraphrase a portion the research article which explored multiple evidences as to whether connections could be made between childhood trauma and subsequent health conditions.  Before I delve into the results though, I must endeavor to explain that the words “childhood trauma” while bringing the possibility of unspeakable experiences into the reader’s mind, it must be understood that what a young child may perceive as extremely traumatic event might when viewed from the adult perspective be merely an accident, incidental, or even considered a natural part of life.  That’s not saying that some childhood traumatic experiences wouldn’t be perceived so from the adult perspective as I’m sure many might be.  However, in my years of working with clients I’ve often found that when folks discover the root of their issues many times they tend to be an accumulation of affect experience.  These experiences are often seeded in what from an adult perspective, is many times surprising yet manageable, which allows a great amount healing to take place.

So having said that, I want to share some of what this article revealed about the connections between childhood experience and adult health.  Within this article’s discussion, I found results which revealed that emotionally traumatic experiences do indeed seem to be able to affect one’s long term health. First, there were a couple of studies involving women being screened for breast cancer.  In the first study of its kind, conducted in 1982, women going in for a breast biopsy were asked a series of questions via a psychological interview.  What the researchers ultimately found, was that they could predict the presence of cancer in 94% of the cases by utilizing psychological factors alone. These incredible results prompted another researcher in Germany to replicate the study.  This second study involved eighty women, and replicating the first, researchers were able to identify, solely on psychological basis, those patients who were to be diagnosed with breast cancer with a 96% accuracy rate.  What exactly was it that these researchers were finding?   In essence what they found, with a very high level of accuracy, is that the participants in the study who had suffered a genuine trauma or set of traumas in their young life were the one’s more much more likely to manifest health issues, in this case breast cancer.  Another study mentioned in this research paper revealed the results of another long-term study that started in 1957 with 126 Harvard University students.  In this particular study researchers grouped participants into four categories according to how they, the participants, perceived their parent’s love and care.   What they found in a thirty year follow up, was that one out of four or 25 percent of the participants in the perceived high love and care group had been diagnosed with what was considered a serous disease or condition such as cancer, asthma, or cardiovascular disease.  Contrasting these results, researchers found that the group which had the lowest perception of parental love and care, almost nine out of ten, 87 percent, had been diagnosed with a serious disease or condition.

  The research paper went on to give results concerning smokers and other various behaviors and diseases, but needless to say the results continued to edify a picture of tremendous health implications in regards to one’s emotional well being when traumatic life events are not allowed to be resolved.  The author of the paper went onto speak to the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in attending to the needs of people wanting to regain a semblance of balance in their lives.  This perspective is one I easily can share as the results mentioned in this paper are also reflective of what I find in my practice as a hypnotherapist.  In the past I’ve worked with a number of folks who felt that they had left their past behind them and moved on in their lives, yet who find, in session, emotions, memories and situations that while buried, (often deeply) were not fully resolved and therefore affecting them in significant ways.  Ultimately, I’ve found that while many are busily living their lives a portion of their mental, emotional, and physical energy is being expended keeping that wall up, keeping the past “out of mind” so to speak.  Often this works until the body and spirit exhausted from years of effort reveal a physical manifestation of an emotional wound from long ago.  I’m not saying here that all ills are founded in childhood traumas or emotional life events; however I am saying almost all problems, by definition, have an emotional content connected to them.   It is here that hypnotherapy holds great potential.  In closing I have to say that this whole system of cause and effect reminds me of something Albert Einstein shared when contemplating some of life’s big questions, and while I’m pretty sure he wasn’t speaking about hypnosis in particular, it rings with a voice of such clarity I’m bound to listen and act accordingly as he stated, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”  I couldn’t agree more, so until next time, let me thank you once again for sharing paths with me.



Until next time, I wish you much health and happiness.   - Richard     


For a full text version of the research article referenced in this column click the button.  

       Then, click on the “Causes of Cancer” link.


Early Fall 2008


Recognizing Creating and Utilizing Trance States


    This is the third in a series of articles that I’ve written under the heading of Wandering Thoughts and this month I wanted to take a few moments and venture down the path to explain the concept of trance states.  While my wanderings usually focus on hypnosis, which is itself a powerful avenue of intentional trance states, I would like, this column, to elaborate how we often live in different trance states…trance states that in many ways effect how we feel and act.  I have no doubt that there may be a number of folks reading this column that the words “trance state” invokes images of altered states of consciousness that are often linked with illegal drug use or dare I say an evil hypnotist like the one portrayed in the classic 1931 movie titled Svengali. However, the fact of the matter is not quite as, should I say, exotic as that.  For instance most of you reading this column have probably had the opportunity to share a few minutes in front of a television with a loved one or friend and found that they were oblivious to what you were saying simply because the other person was engrossed in the television program.  The fact of the matter is in most of these cases a trance state spontaneously occurred as the engrossed individual fine-tuned their attention to the point that almost all outside stimuli was turned off other than the TV which in the case of this particular example takes on the role of the hypnotist.  The problem is that television trance states are limited in the way that they can positively affect the individual due to the information that is shared once the focused attention “trance” state has been achieved.   Now, while my wandering could easily take the path of how I personally feel the media utilizes television-induced trance states to their benefit this column is meant to explore how you as an individual can quickly and effectively induce a positive trance state that will benefit your mental, emotional and physical well being.

     One of the simplest ways that I can offer you, the reader of this article, a purposeful and positive trance state can be found within the process of breath and body awareness.  The concepts is this…read the bulleted sentences below a couple times and then take a moment, close your eyes, and do what you have read.


· Take three deep breaths being conscious of how each breath sounds as you inhale slowly and then exhale.

· Following the third breath focus on the position of your legs…see what they feel like in relation to the floor or ground, can you feel gravity giving them a certain weight?

· Next focus on the position of you hands…any textures they are aware of and the weight of gravity once again.

· Take another deep, slow breath and notice how when you breathe really deeply that your shoulders tend to move just a bit and then exhale cleanly.

· Open your eyes  and sit quietly for just a few moments simply being aware of what ever you are sensing…feeling inside.

As the reader you may be asking how…or better yet, what just happen… (Unless that is, you are one of those impatient folks that instead of putting into practice what you’ve read and learned instead have decided to push ahead in pursuit of more information…If you are, forgive yourself and then take a moment and do the exercise listed above.) Because as those that have taken the time already know; by following the simple steps listed, no matter what mental emotional or physical state that you were in previously an opportunity for space occurred and within that gap all cycles of discomfort are broken down as awareness and focus was shifted to the breath and specific body regions in the “present” moment,  A moment which is in itself a pinnacle of trance states.  The fact is this, unless you are atypical and can mentally recite both your ABC’s and the multiplication tables, say for the number three, at the same time you can really focus wholly on one specific process at a time.  Just like you can not be deeply aware of your body and breath in the present and be hung up on past events or future anxieties. Both of which can often seed the mind with thoughts of discomfort... negative trance states to say the least.  In fact, I would venture to say that most negative trance states emanate from one’s histories of experience and linked expectation that lie outside the parameters of the present moment.  Happily however, choosing otherwise is totally within your potential.            

    Ultimately, over the years, that I’ve worked as a consulting hypnotist, I’ve found that beyond helping those that come to my office seeking specific kinds of help; the opportunity to guide folks in recognizing, creating and utilizing their own special switch to a highly personal trance state of inner harmony and focal balance to be  “the” cornerstone of each client’s health and personal happiness.  So to all you brave souls that dare wander those inner paths I say breathe deep…focus and, “Trance On.”


Until next time, may your wanderings be full of fun, focus and happy trance states.


I wish you much health and happiness.   Richard     

January 2009


Sometimes Pieces of the Puzzle Just Come Together



   For those of you who follow this column you undoubtedly noticed that I’ve been absent for a bit.  I’d like to say that I’ve been lying on a white sandy beach somewhere exotic, but the truth would be that my educational pursuits have demanded more than their fair share of attention, so much so as to limit my wanderings of choice…perhaps I should say higher choice.  Never-the-less having just finished up for the academic year I recently had some time to delve into some research papers that I’ve been putting aside for the last couple of months.  Now I know for some folks reading research papers for fun may sound uninviting, however, I’m always looking for an idea or set of ideas that I feel can be translated into real-life opportunities of what I like to call enhanced understandings, anyone that knows me, knows that I can get pretty revved up about the possible implications of such avenues of thought.  

    So where has my wanderings taken me this autumn season…to a place where the intricate and intimate pieces of the human health puzzle seem to fall methodically in place.  The path of interest that I have meandered down happened into being because I was asked by my research methods professor to submit a research proposal, and of course being a hypnotist I wanted to tie my profession into what ever topic I came up with.  Ultimately I ventured down the corridor of contemplating how stress affects one’s long-term health, a no-brainer of a topic I suppose, as most people would readily agree that people who are stressed often tend to be the ones who get more colds or end up claiming that life offers more than its fair share of aches and pains.  So the proposal I produced intended to look at whether hypnotic techniques could measurably improve long term health and if so by what mechanism and how much.

  Enticed as I was with the possibilities, when I proposed this topic to my professor, a guy who said that he takes time to measure the boarders of submitted research papers with a ruler to make sure that his students are playing by all the rules, his response was not what I would consider positive and I was lead to believe, through his comments, that he thought hypnosis was a fringe technique and that it was not wholly viable as a treatment alternative to standard care and/or counseling.  After having to spend another bit of time collecting research and making multiple points, to my professor, as to how hypnosis had been empirically tested to show positive results in a number of situations and circumstances as well as having to dredge up the Florida State bylaws concerning the practice of hypnosis I finally got a green light to proceed, but with the warning that I  needed to pare down my proposal and be very specific.  To make an even longer story short I’ll simply say that I spent several more weeks reading scientific journal articles until I finally came up with a direct and to the point research question. The final result being, could hypnotic techniques be utilized to lower the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol in abused children and thereby improve their long term-health?      

    While this may seem like a highly detailed question making it hard to generalize to the general public I want to share why I think the concept holds enormous implications for many folks.  The first reason being that while not all my clients are victims of abuse, when I read through my client records I find that a high percentage of clients have dealt with one or all of the following: verbal, emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse at some point in their life.  When I placed this personal observation upon a number of research papers that spoke to abused children having high cortisol levels, remember cortisol is a stress hormone, long after the abuse situation stops I realized that the studies were showing what my clients were dealing with which is; what we experience in life remains with us not only on an emotional or mental level, but on a physiological level too.  If fact, I personally tend to believe that the physical level of life often takes it cues from those invisible but very real emotional and mental aspects of who we are, or in many cases were.  This personal belief seemed to be edified by the research I found which stated that high cortisol levels have been implicated in cases of asthma, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid-arthritis, breast cancer, ulcers, osteoporosis, and cognitive impairments just to name a few.

   In reality I found the negative health issues correlated to high cortisol levels to be far reaching and to name all the ailments would take more space than we would want to take up; my advice to any reader dealing with a specific health concern is to research the issue and see if it is cortisol related, if so hypnosis may be right for you. Why?   

    Obviously the common thread of stress levies a heavy health toll on those whose life it touches so given my experience with hypnosis and how the hypnotic process allows profound levels of relaxation I delved into research article after research article to find if anyone had utilized hypnosis to lower cortisol levels.  Eventually, low and behold, I found a pilot study preformed in 2006 that was published by the British Society of Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis.  In essence the researchers conducting the study measured blood-cortisol levels in a group of participants, then half the group received training in self-hypnosis, after which they were asked to practice the process of self-hypnosis several times a week.  The other half of the participants, the control or non-hypnosis group, simply were told to live their life as usual.  The experiment lasted six months at which time blood levels were checked again on both groups.  The results showed that the control/non-hypnosis group had a 1-2% decrease in blood cortisol levels, a variation that easily fell into a range of natural fluctuation.  The hypnosis treatment test-group however, showed a decrease of over 12%, results which the researches tagged as statistically significant, a difference that reliably showed positive therapeutic results.

     Now I may be wandering way off course here, but this hypnotist often finds himself asking why hypnosis is not utilized more to promote health and prevent the long-term effects of stress when results such as those above are so revealing.  In retrospect it seems to me that while hypnosis practitioners and their clients have benefited for years by utilizing either directed hypnosis and/or self-hypnosis the general public and the majority of academia has dismissed the possibilities available to improving health with hypnosis because, at least in part, how hypnosis works was not understood.  Today however, I’m living proof that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put a few pieces of the personal health puzzle together to get a picture of great potential.


Let’s look at three simple pieces of the puzzle…

· Puzzle piece one, stress causes increased levels of cortisol which have been shown to remain high long after the stress incident ceases to be…not to mention when the stress remains as a life constant.  

· Puzzle piece two, high levels of cortisol have been identified, in many studies, as an integral factor in a number of debilitating health issues.

· Puzzle piece three, utilizing hypnosis or self-hypnosis on a regular basis significantly decreases cortisol levels.


Put these pieces together and it seems to me that the at least one of the mechanisms for how hypnosis works to promote heath seems pretty obvious.


   My final question, perhaps I should say puzzle piece, has to be what are we waiting for…the hypnosis pilot study I found was finished in 2006, are follow up studies being conducted, are most folks implementing the simple techniques of self-hypnosis to improve their mental and physical health?  Time will tell I suppose, but I guarantee you this wandering hypnotist is not waiting, every client I work with understands, before they leave my office, how to utilize hypnosis to better their life.  I personally believe not to do so, just wouldn’t be ethical given the tremendous positive health potential available.


  Dear reader once again I thank you for allowing my your attention and time, given that I utilized a number of research papers in the writing of this column and have not referenced them feel free to email me at should you like a copy of a particular article mentioned as I’d be glad to send it along as an email attachment.


Wishing you the greatest of holidays, health and happiness Richard  



March 2008


When the webmaster from asked me to write a regular column for this web site I asked just what they were looking for and they said something along the lines of me giving my venue of choice, hypnotherapy a voice.  So I hope that as I let my thoughts wander these coming the months that you find something of benefit as I may reflect on either my office experiences, recent research, or both as I speak to just how intimately linked the mind/body connection is and how we can utilize this link to build both better health and happier lives.


In this particular column I want to pull forward the results of a study that was in the news this past September and while it may not be the newest of news I feel it bares repeating as the results of a clinical study reported in a journal supplied by the National Cancer Institute suggested, quite positively, that Hypnosis was able to help with more than just the pain associated with breast cancer surgeries.  Within the parameters of the study it was determined that hypnosis and hypnotic intervention techniques produced tremendous results.  Ultimately finding that those women undergoing hypnotic interventions prior to treatment not only had less pain, but they also had less nausea and fatigue and even more importantly according to those actively involved with the  intervention, they experienced their procedures as much less emotional draining than those women not receiving hypnotic interventions.  The doctors associated with the study reported finding the process of hypnosis for breast cancer patients a win-win situation for all involved.  In fact this specific study mentioned that there was a reduced cost associated with the hypnotic intervention group due to less time and anesthesia being needed and a quicker recovery time.  The September 2007 study pointed to a 773 dollar savings per patient due to a reduced amount of time being needed to perform necessary work and decrease in anesthesia needed.  Certainly these economic implications stacked along side the positive quality of life issues patients receiving hypnosis reported means that the win-win situation holds many positive connotations for both patients and their healthcare providers.  And while I may have tagged the topic of enhancing the lives of those dealing with breast cancer what I hoped to convey here is that the mind-body connection is something we can all benefit from in a number of ways.


Until next time may your wanderings be full of light and love, Richard


For a YouTube video about this column’s topic click this link.




Spring 2008


    I like to wander, mostly because it offers me a chance to find the unexpected, and whether those wanderings are, by foot, down a winding cow path of my family’s farm in central Florida, a strange road, school hallway, or within the electronic world of the  Internet I always know that the thoughts and ideas produced along the way are the real treasures, as I  genuinely find it quite interesting how each of us is affected by what we think.  Sure it may be a given that someone, like myself, who utilizes hypnosis and linked life philosophies to facilitate healing and help clients garner greater happiness would be predisposed to the possibilities found down the path of inner potential.   Yet I have to say, after several years of sessions, studies and a multitude of what on the outside may seem like aimless wandering, I still find myself pausing in wonder at just how intimately what one thinks and feels is reflected in the physicality of their body, which in turn always seems to be reflected in one’s overall life situation.  I was reminded of this, just recently, after a potential client phoned my office and asked not only if hypnosis helps in birthing situations, an easy answer, “sure” I said, but the caller also wanted to know some statistics concerning intervention techniques as well as desiring reference material that she could look over.  I, at that point, had to offer, what I thought, was a feeble apology and explained that if she would give me her email address I would see what I could find and send it along as soon as I could.  The caller quickly complied and I was left reprimanding myself, thinking surely a hypnotherapist should have such information quickly available, maybe even memorized.  So for the next couple of days I was on a mission; dusting off my student ID card I spent available time, between sessions, online delving into the data banks of my alma mater the University of Central Florida.  It was easy to find a number of journal articles in the medical archives supporting the use of hypnosis in pre and post birth situations to among other things, cut down on drug use, alleviate pain, as well as addressing post-partum depression.  Gathering several articles of interest I attached them in an email, apologizing once again for not having the information more readily available, and that could have been the end of things. Yet being a wander by nature, I was intrigued by all related reference material I had come across in my search.  Inevitably, I continued my online meandering and that’s when I came across an article that left me nodding my head with positive appreciation, yet in the end, plied me with a sense of deep disappointment.  The report I found had to do with the use of hypnotherapy with pregnant mothers whose unborn child were in the breech, head up, position even though their birth time was imminent.  

   As for the reports details I’ll keep them as quick, painless and enlightening as possible.  The study was preformed by a Dr. Lewis Mehl who wanted to find out if the application of hypnotherapy could be applied to convert breech, head up birth presentations to what is termed normal vertex, head down position.  I must interject at this point that I thought I had been fairly progressive minded as to utilizing hypnosis to help folks for a wide range of issues, but this topic just had never occurred to me.  Within the context of the study, I found, Dr. Mehl had recruited 100 women who were 37 to 40 weeks pregnant and whose unborn children remained in the breech position.  He then meticulously divided the group of women into two groups while matching as many similar characteristics as possible; such as previous number of births, mother’s age, etc.  Once this was done, one group of fifty, labeled the control group, was left to finish their pregnancies without hypnotic interventions of any kind.  However, as not to infringe on the women’s choice of alternative interventions it should be mentioned that women from both groups could at anytime choose a hormone/manual manipulation method know as ECV to turn their unborn child, a method that is, not without some risk to mother or child.  The remaining fifty women chosen as the treatment group received two to three hypnotic sessions weekly until birth or until the child turned to the head down, vertex position.  In essence, each hypnosis sessions focused on relaxation, flexibility along with wordings and suggestions that called for natural balance, turning, as well as multiple references to the down position.  

    Going into this study it was already known that previous research had shown, that 12 percent of late term breech position pregnancies could be expected to resolve and turn to the head down, vertex position, before birth without any intervention what so ever.  So when the results of this study showed that 48 percent, nearly half, of the control group that had no hypnotic intervention resulted in normal head down births, I was surprised as I imagine Dr Mehl was.  However, as I wandered a bit further into this research I found that over half of those that had turned vertex, to the head down position in the non-hypnosis group, did so using the previously mentioned ECV method.   What ultimately grabbed my interest and left me standing in my own Internet tracks was that, even though the group not receiving hypnosis had a fair number turn, Dr. Mehl’s hypnosis test group was still able to garner what researchers consider the Holy Grail of results known as a statistically significant difference.  Incredibly, of those women working with Dr. Mehl over 80 percent of their unborn children turn from the breech position to the ideal vertex, head down, position before birth with nothing other than hypnosis.  It was this phenomenal number that easily created my nodding approval that I spoke of earlier.  Why then did I portend of a deep disappointment?   Well, certainly not because of the results Mehl obtained with hypnosis, and not because the client I previously spoke of decided not to make an appointment, that happens.  No, the real disappointment is that this incredible research was done nearly fifteen years ago yet it is not being utilized to any degree today.  Fifteen years ago and even this hypnotist was not aware of just how well hypnosis works in helping to rectify breech presentations in late pregnancy.  In the light of some of my more recent Internet wanderings which found a long term study that showed that by the age of nine over 24 percent of breech –delivered infants had repeated one or more grades in school, I have to ask myself, why is hypnosis not a mainstream alternative, why has the medical establishment chosen to use cesarean or ECV methods to bypass breech birth when hypnotic intervention has been shown as a viable alternative?  I guess, deep down, I’m hoping that most are like me, they just didn’t know.  Well now I do, and so do you…spread the word.  And while I imagine a number of readers may not have a use for such sessions I sincerely hope the idea crosses your mind that if hypnosis can be utilized to actually change the position of an unborn child what other incredible results can be expected.

    By the way, one final thing I’d like to mention; the one other thing that I like most about my wanderings is those folks you meet and share your path with along the way. So I must thank you for joining me, perhaps in the coming months we’ll have an opportunity to wander together once again.


Until then, I wish you much health and happiness.   Richard     




April 2009


It is More a Matter of Creating than Finding


Once again it is time for me to take a short wander with you through my thoughts and along the way perhaps share with you a few things that have sprung up, over the past few months, in session.  To do this though we are going to have to do a little experiment… you and I, so when I mention a word, here in a moment, I want you to take deep breath and as you exhale repeat the word slowly, close your eyes, and simply observe what comes forth…and whether it’s a visual, a feeling, or anything else, just know there are no rules or limitations in this exercise.  



If you would, do this for the span of a breath or maybe two, then open your eyes paying close attention to how you feel, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Afterwards read on…    


Are you ready for the word?


Here goes…


Your word is “Peace”






It’s nice to have you back…before we go on, be honest with yourself… did you find that you wanted to take more than a breath or two…maybe even some of you had something pop into your mind that either helped or hindered your ability to enjoy the moment, I wouldn’t even be surprised if some of you had what my clients proclaim as a “weird moment.”  Never the less the point is, at least in part, that you were able to, in a breath or two, step out of your everyday life situation and follow your path of peace, don’t worry about what came forth while that may be important in its own way having you pay attention to what might come forth offered your conscious mind an activity to do which therefore offered you a chance to step mentally out of your normal thought routine and into a new, how be it momentary, possibility and within that possibility peace had an active and creative potential that was solely yours.


 Now with the memory of that short experiment in mind let’s bring what did or didn’t happen into the light of your conscious mind.  Put simply what I asked and directed you do is part of what I often ask and help my clients to create while in session.  Currently I’ve found that many of my clients, especially in our current economic times, feel pressured by external forces that they perceive separates them from that sense of peace that most folks naturally strive for, yet most of them, just as many of you that preformed the little experiment above, are able to find a breath or two to step out of a habitual way of thinking and  into what I like to call one’s personal creative potential.  What I’ve found is that within that potential; peace, among other possibilities easily exists, and it is within this very realization, you the reader, much as many of my clients often find, that the peace you deserve, while found in a way, is in essence much more a matter of taking a moment to create the opportunity for it to exist.


Remember the term creative potential as you move forward, for I firmly believe that it flows forward with each breath that we take and it is fully within your grasp to form that potential with your intent.  You don’t have to take my word for it though, go back and perform our little experiment again and just observe what happens.


Have fun…breath deep…enjoy the moment.


Until next time, I wish you much health and happiness.   - Richard  




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                     Back to wandering,






    As we grow quite close to another summer’s end it appears as if it is once again it is time for us to wander together.  Undoubtedly a quick backwards glance could foster many curious thoughts, as I’m sure that each of us, over these past few months, has had experiences, ideas, and inspirations that we can genuinely call our own.  I hope some of yours, like mine; have made life a bit more interesting.  Beyond these more personal thoughts though, I suppose when it comes to the realm of curiosity, one could even mention several publicly popular topics that have garnered much attention as of late, certainly the hotly debated healthcare reform is one such topic …or how could anybody forget the adage Cash for Clunkers after this past summer; yet neither of these two headlines, among the many that media gravitates toward, in order to surprise and, dare I say, startle folks, managed to move me to the edge of my path, in serious consideration, like this next couple snippets of information I’m about to share… they both, I think, instigate a very important question and that quite simply is, Why?  


“According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress alone costs the United States 300 billion dollars annually in absenteeism, turn over, medical costs, and workers’ compensation.  These statistics reflect the financial costs of stress; they do not speak to the psychological and emotional costs to families, organizations, and societies.”  


So again I have to ask “Why” … what is it that we’re trying to accomplish here, how is it that, in one of the greatest nations on earth, we’re allowing one’s job to be a contagion of a serious health risks?  You may think I’m exaggerating, but check out this second headline.


“According to the Centers for Disease Control eighty percent of all United States healthcare costs are spent on ‘stress related’ disorders such as cardiovascular disease, alcoholism, hypertension, headaches, ulcers, anxiety, depression, and cancer.”


Once again, I’m asking…Why?


      To fully answer such a question I’d ultimately have to be a lot smarter than I probably am, so instead I’m going to offer an opinion, and perhaps, a part of a solution.  In short, I’d say that the stress, at least in part, stems from our life-long conditioning that is constantly “at work”…pun intended, which drives many with the need to “do” something.  In fact nearly every imaginable activity has been utilized to fill the void of “doing,” if you need proof I suggest that you browse YouTube for a few minutes, I’m sure you’ll find folks coming up with all sorts of void fillers, some of which defy words, logic, and any other definitions of substance.  Never-the-less though, I have to ask are you a “doer”…did you automatically say… yes, of course or sure?  Are you unsure?  Let’s see, how many of you reading this already know what you need or want to “do” as soon as you’re “done” with this short column?  Or maybe instead I should ask how many of you reading this, when questioning a friend or family member, often ask what are you “doing?” or, maybe the habitual, what are going to “do?”


      So I have to ask again, Why?  ….Why is it that so many of us are interested in “doing” and give so little thought to “being?”  


     It is this concept that I’d, in the end, like to leave you with this time around, because I feel it is paramount that we turn, on occasion, away from our doing mentality and focus instead on an attitude of being for, I believe, it is here that the very core of one’s self can be found.  After all, we came into this world anew and all, or at least most of us, as children, could easily get caught up in living in the moment simply because we were astounded by the potential that the world offered, a potential that, with ease, reflected the infinite aptitude of our core-self’s natural state of being.

     As I wander away I’m going to ask you the question once again; and before you attend to the answer, I want you to take a moment and when you do take a deep breath; then as you exhale slowly ask yourself “Why” ….that is, Why are you here…now, in this life… in this moment?


Do you have an inkling of an answer?   


If not take another breath…


Now… I’ve often found, as I work with clients, that the obstacle between peace and chaos can often be found in a single conscious breath….so feel free to take another.   


As to the answer you brought forth…


Let me just say, that while I may very well not know you personally in this moment, I can, pretty much, guarantee you that your true answer had nothing to do with the need for stress, i.e. doing.  However, it is quite likely that your purpose… your answer, was found in being…did it have to do being in a loving relationship, or sharing something of significance with another or others?   I thoughts so, let me ask you, was that sharing of something material or was it a sharing of the self and that intimately connected state of natural being?


I’m guessing the latter…


Ultimately let me ask you, did your answer really feel like it had anything to do with the chaotic state of doing that inundates our contemporary lifestyle?  Again, I do not know you personally, but just the fact that you’ve wandered this far down the path with me says that you are more interested in being than’s nice to wander with such folks… thanks.


In conclusion, let me ask you another question, and this time it’s not a “Why.”  In essence, I suppose it is really a rhetorical question, but let’s just contemplate for a moment… When considering the constant stress that appears to be almost epidemic in today’s society, might it be possible that the statistics/headlines I shared merely be reflecting a documented  bodily response to the veritable lack of inner harmony that has infected modern society.  Do you think it possible that the numerous illnesses and disorders mentioned are merely the body’s coping mechanism…is it perhaps possible that the body, cell by cell, needs some relief and that it is counteracting the incessant doing with mandatory rest…a rest that allows being to spring forth and offer life both substance and sustenance.  In our society we “get’ to take time for ourselves when we have to…go to the doctor, or have an illness, etc.  Is it possible that the body, our bodies, have been conditioned as such?  


It’s just a thought, and perhaps instead of asking why we say what –if and in doing so we offer ourselves a chance for yet another conscious breath…



We’ll, back to my wandering ways,


Until next time I wish you much health and happiness, Richard



         September 2009

Natural Balance         


    Over the last couple months, as I wandered my way through many client sessions, a number of research articles, and various books I've come to realize that the vast majority of folks I work with as well as, what appears to be, the population at large often fails to be partaking what, by right, is naturally theirs.  What would that be... just as the title of this article reveals “natural balance.”  Now, I have no doubt that some of you reading this may stop at this point and say, “wait a minute … I want balance, why wouldn't I?”, or you may be one of those who might say,  “I work on maintaining balance or at least a semblance of it on a regular basis.” Yet, if you give me a moment, I'll explain…you see the concept of balance, for which many might synonymously insert the word(s) inner-peace or harmony are in essence founded upon the concept the fairly well understood attributes of the human nervous system.  Within this system there are namely two important coexisting modalities, the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems both which help modulate us on a day-to-day basis, but under highly different circumstances (Panda, 2009).   Without going too deeply into the scientific side of things it would help to understand what the two systems do.  For instance, the sympathetic nervous system is the one in charge of the fight or flight reflex… this system in essence gears the individual to respond to emergency situations; reactions such as pupil dilation, increased heart rate and allocating one's blood supplies to the extremities in order to prepare for action are some of the more well-known traits of the system.  While this is a very surface view of what is going on when the sympathetic nervous system kicks in, the main idea I want to share is that the body is prepared, for the short-term, to do what it needs to do to survive.  The parasympathetic system, on the other hand, pretty much does the exact opposite, it's the system devoted to the maintenance program so to speak, this system allocates bodily resources to repair, rebuild. It could be said that the parasympathetic system, in a nutshell, takes care of the general upkeep and it is programmed to do this when the sympathetic nervous system is not engaged… which should be most of the time.  

    That final line however, is the caveat; because what I’ve found in session and in my readings is that folks, many folks seem to, habitually though not consciously, keep their sympathetic nervous system engaged.  What's interesting about this is that the human body has a specific system in place so that when the sympathetic nervous system engages the fight or flight instinct it can do so quite quickly.  I bet there are a fair number of you reading this that, at some time or another, have been surprised at either your reaction or another's in a situation where quick action was necessary… this attribute is the positive side of what the sympathetic nervous system does for us.  What many don't realize though is that the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the system that maintains the body during non-stressful times, has no such mechanism in place.  As to why this would be, the answer is quite simple… this system has no switch, so to speak, because the human body is set up to automatically run in a balanced/unstressed way, in other words, the parasympathetic system provides resources to rebuild and maintain a homeostatic state on a constant basis, it's naturally supposed to occur.  The key here is allowing the natural flow its time and place, and while, by nature, this is supposed to come regularly, as I mentioned earlier, automatically; many contemporary lifestyles are inundated with chaos… in fact it may actually be that here, in United States, connotations of a prosperous life, for many, comes at the accepted cost of complexity.  This complexity linked with chaos creates a stress state that keeps the sympathetic nervous system engaged.  Over the long term this allows various health deficits to occur as bodily resources are allocated in a way that prohibits the state of balance.

    Ultimately in my wanderings I must always bring this column full circle to include what I do for a living as a hypnotist.  In regards to this column I do not have to reach far in order to grasp the concept that many folks, which are caught in the net of complexity and chaos that is intertwined in our contemporary lifestyles, would benefit from learning self-hypnosis.  There are numerous research articles that not only state that hypnosis is beneficial with a diverse array of medical conditions (Mende, 2009), but that through the use of specialized and specific suggestion one's immunological system can be revitalized, lessening the occurrence of common illnesses such as colds or the flu (Gruzelier et al, 2001).  Both these points lay beside the fact that the regular practice of self-hypnosis enhances one's mood state (Barabasz et al, 2010), and from my experience, allows, the individual practicing the technique… often less than 15 minutes a day, to not only retake control of their own life, but even more importantly regained that state of natural balance that is by birth their right.  


  Dear reader once again I thank you for allowing my your attention and time, given that I utilized a number of research papers in the writing of this column and have not referenced them feel free to email me at should you like a copy of a particular article mentioned as I’d be glad to send it along as an email attachment.


Wishing you health and happiness, Richard  


Where is Belief Based



In a number of my various wanderings over the past couple months; whether they have been through life in general, client sessions or this column, I’ve had the occasion to wonder just how the far reaching attributes of belief  often affect us in our daily lives.  Certainly, we’ve all heard of those folks who cling to the glass half-empty or class half-full disposition, but the question remains is the choice, to be a person in either these cliché categories really a type of choice.   Might it be that such a choice is nothing other than the result of a system of belief that is conditioned beyond our conscious reach.  My experience, in sessions with clients, often reveals that while conscious awareness, or rather thoughts created of consciousness, can point one in the direction of one’s core beliefs this is often a far cry from the absolutes that have been absorbed that founds one’s inner sanctum of belief.  What I have discovered is that our conscious state of mind can often only grasp bits and pieces of what lies beneath and that it is what lies beneath which ultimately creates the foundation of our fundamental purpose and delegates inner resources so that we can know and create our personal definition of perfection.


I was reminded of this yet again as I had the opportunity to read through a number of recent research articles that pertained to utilizing hypnotic techniques as an avenue of creating change in one’s health status.  While a number of articles, I perused, revealed the positive influences of hypnosis in the health care setting and while the issues that ranged from those of infertility and natural childbirth, to treating depression, there was one that dealt with a number of women who were dealing with the chronic health concerns associated with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) they caught my attention.  Now I know that this health issue maybe seen to be a bit off topic when compared to some of the life threatening illnesses I have addressed in the past, however there’s a specific point that I want to make here.  That is, that there were a number of individuals involved in this particular study, both participants and their doctors, who felt that after the extremes they had gone through two control and cure their HPV infection, some of which are extremely unpleasant, did not believe that hypnosis would help them.   Yet, in the end, both the participants and are doctors were quite pleasantly surprised to have achieved a high level of success.  In fact, one Doctor stated, “I would not have believed it if I did see it with my own eyes.”  Another patient, receiving treatment, while regarding the entire process as a waste of time, by the close of the study was diagnosed as clear from the infection.  

Reading these results I nodded positively to myself as once again, the results of the above study represents that where one’s belief is base based is often far from where one thinks it is.  For if those, within whom the changes taking place, do not consciously believe that change can occur, yet the sought change still occurs, then I have to fully consider that the foundation of belief is, for the most part, outside of the grasp of everyday human consciousness.  This is, in fact, what I find in many of my sessions as the majority of clients discover that their health issues and/or behaviors of concern are often seeded in those long forgotten events and experiences that  both unknowingly and undoubtedly  have left a lasting impression.  So what’s the moral of the story?  Heck, I’m not sure it has one as we all know how belief and faith can be two incredibly powerful tools when it comes to creating change and promoting health.  Nevertheless, I would be remiss if I did not mention that when we seek change consciously and find that the results sought are not manifesting themselves; perhaps it’s time to step beyond the mode of consciousness and delve into the substrata of the inner self for often it is when all levels of the self are working as a holistic one that our health and harmony reach the point of personal perfection that is our highest potential at whatever point we may be in our life.


Now, back to wandering, Richard