Weight loss technique blends hypnosis, massage

Skeptics question its effectiveness
By: Lien Hoang, The Press Tribune
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For those already feeling discouraged about their New Year’s resolution to get fit, a Roseville business is suggesting a road less traveled: hypnosis. Cindy Schreiber set up shop three months ago, offering hypnosis combined with massage, a procedure she hopes to patent. She advertises the service as a solution to everything from drug addiction to phobias to low confidence. But overwhelmingly, the majority of clients come because they want to lose weight. Schreiber begins the hypnosis by relaxing her subjects, at times with the help of facial or body massage. The mental element is necessary, she says, when people overeat to compensate for trauma. While hypnotized, they become hyper aware of their five senses, which she develops by suggesting options, such as a colorful bowl of fresh fruit, versus a disgusting pile of oil-drenched food. Hypnosis seems to have evolved beyond the image of swinging pocket watches and quacking adults. But it meets resistance from those who fear they will lose control to a hypnotist, or who simply doubt that it works. The method is safe, Schreiber says – she can’t force clients to do anything outside their value system. But she doesn’t try to convert skeptics. “If they don’t believe in it, it’s not going to work anyway,” she says at her office, filled by a massage table and by shelves of dietary products and hardbacks with titles like, “Reviving Ophelia,” and “Treating Addicted Survivors of Trauma.” Tamara Wheeler, a fitness coach at Roseville Health & Wellness Center, mixes exercise, nutrition and emotional analysis. She hasn’t tried hypnosis but says it can only be an initial step toward weight loss, not a panacea. “I’m always one that believes in being fully aware, taking responsibility,” she says, adding people must stick to the traditions of working out and eating well – not just relying on a pill or hypnosis. “People who want the easy way out do those things.” Even more wary of the approach is David Chervick, a state-licensed marriage and family therapist based in Granite Bay. He incorporates hypnotherapy into his work, but for clients who want to slim down, he says a hypnosis CD would probably be as effective as a hypnotist. Schreiber is not licensed to practice medical therapy, but is a certified hypnotherapist, according to the American Board of Hypnotherapy, which requires 160 hours of training to qualify for certification. She holds a bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in counseling from California State University, Fullerton, as well as a doctorate in hypnotherapy, which she earned online through American Pacific (now Kona) University. “Yes, there is a degree for hypnotherapy,” she says. Going from a size 16 to a size one, Schreiber says she used hypnosis on herself to trim her waistline. She used the therapy to deal with a divorce, as well as with the bankruptcy of her first hypnotherapy business in Roseville three years ago. At the time, her practice went under because people couldn’t afford to pay $120 for an hourlong session, she says. Schreiber now charges $60 per hour, except in group sessions, which are $10. It’s working for John McNulty, who says he lost 108 pounds in the past two years through Schreiber’s hypnosis. He had diabetes, gouty arthritis and high cholesterol and blood pressure. “I was the poster child for the obese,” he says. The hypnosis was a last resort, and progress has been slow since, but McNulty hopes to lose another 40 pounds. Schreiber says her relationships with clients are brief because, after several sessions, they have the tools to keep off unwanted weight. “I don’t think people should live in therapy,” she says. Lien Hoang can be reached at ---------- Tranceformations WHO: Cindy Schreiber WHAT: Massage hypnotherapy WHERE: 901 Sunrise Ave., Suite A19 PRICE: $60/hour individually, $10 in a group INFO: (916) 580-8799,