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Weight Loss and Hypnosis: Par-Troy Dentist Puts Mind Over Matter

Parsippany dentist and hypnotherapist offers a cerebral way to help control portion size and shed pounds.

The Patch Takes It Off weight loss challenge continues, and in this installment we consider dieting from a less physical perspective.

Does that even make sense? Losing weight by definition is about the physical—it's about reducing the body's very size. However, much more goes into the pursuit than mere physical action. I'm at a plateau of 19 down so far and am finding my struggle to be an all-encompassing effort, involving not just working out (mostly walking due to the fractured hand) or by choosing to avoid destructive nutritional choices. Getting through the challenge is forcing me to undergo mental gymnastics of discipline and will that may be the most difficult part of weight reduction.

So we decided to look into dealing with the mental side of weight loss.

We paid a recent visit to Parsippany's Dental Hypnosis Center on Littleton Road. There, Dr. David Grayson soldiers along as a dentist; he's been practicing since his dental school graduation in 1977. But he practices more than dentistry: The good doctor is also a certified hypnotherapist.

"About seven or eight years ago, my wife was going to San Diego for a conference, and I wanted to go with her, but I needed a reason to justify going," Grayson recalled. "I found a class of hypnosis for dentists in Los Angeles."

He found an instant attraction to the subject matter.

"It was the single most fascinating I'd ever done," he said. 

Grayson wanted to keep doing it. He joined the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, "the most prestigious hypnosis organization for professionals who use it in their work," began his training in hypnotherapy, including 20 hours of individual consultation in New Jersey, and ultimately won his certification through the ASCH.

He is now what's known as an "approved consultant." Grayson said that title goes to those therapists who have completed the highest level of training offered by the society.

"In addition, I have received board certification status from the American Board of Hypnosis in Dentistry, which [certifies] competence and ability," he said.

Grayson uses the discipline of hypnosis to help fearful patients get the treatment they need. But as time passed, he became more and more intrigued by ways in which hypnosis could help people modify behaviors that keep them from being their healthiest. He said that through hypnosis he can, for instance, help people quit smoking or improve test-taking skills. And Grayson said he also can help people seeking to lose weight.

The Dental Hypnosis Center offers what's called Hypno-Band, a system that combines cognitive behavioral therapy with hypnosis to make a subject believe that his or her stomach is constricted by a gastric band. Grayson described the process as a kind of virtual gastric band surgery that offers serious weight loss and enforced portion control without the patient having to go under an actual knife. 

The system, discovered in Europe, has more than 800 practitioners in the world, including Dr. Grayson, and patients across the globe say hypnosis has allowed them to start new, healthier lives and lose unwanted pounds.

The center's cost for Hypno-Band is $1,000 for four sessions, and insurance generally does not cover hypnosis. Grayson said he tries to give as much value for the money as he can.

"It comes with two [instructional] CDs, handouts, email and newsletter support, whatever you need," he said. "You get our help. Six months after the weight loss, we'll even give you a 'touch up' session for a nominal fee."

Grayson insisted that spending a grand on Hypno-Band is a bargain.

"If you look at the cost of traditional, actual surgery, it can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, and you can't always get insurance payment for that," he said. "I'm not saying $1,000 isn't a lot of money, but compared to $30,000, it isn't."

Whether the money ends up being a wise investment depends in large part of the patient.

If the subject is willing and has an open mind, inducing a hypnotic state is easy and fast, and it does not take long to find a successful result. Willingness is key, Grayson said, noting that unless one sincerely wants to change a destructive behavior, hypnosis won't work.

Grayson said that most of his business comes from the dental side, and he is struggling with spreading the word regarding hypnosis as a weight loss tool. But he's convinced that helping people through hypnotherapy is the way to go.

"I really enjoy the hypnosis work," he said. "It's really relaxing for me, let alone what it does for my patients." 

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