Virtual Gastric Band
Virtual gastric band 'surgery' uses hypnotherapy to convince the patient that they have had an actual gastric band fitted. This leads them to feel fuller much quicker whilst eating, which is much like having real gastric band surgery.
What is involved?
Virtual gastric band therapy is usually performed in three, three hour sessions with the 'operation' in the last session. Before the sessions begin an assessment takes place which determines that the procedure is suitable for the patient. Not everyone is suitable for the procedure, as like gastric band surgery, a virtual gastric band is generally only for those who need to lose a lot of weight.
Once the clinical hypnotherapist has agreed to move forward with the treatment the patient's history is then taken in full. This is a hugely important part of the treatment to ensure the success of the virtual gastric band. The patient's heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol levels are then taken. The patient is asked questions such as why they feel they over eat, and also why they do not like the way they look now. Patients are asked to imagine an outfit that they hope to fit into once they start losing the weight. During the last thirty minutes of the first session, the patients pulse is measured whilst they are placed under hypnosis. Patients are encouraged to think of the outfit they dream of fitting into every time they pick up a fork or spoon to eat in the hope that food will start to seem unappealing as the patient thinks about their long term happiness.
At the second session, the hypnotherapist will measure a patients resting metabolic rate. As every individual is different this will inform the patient of how efficiently their body burns calories and how many calories they need per day. This helps each patient to work out how many calories to have each day in order to start losing weight. Portion sizes are also discussed in the second session. Hypnotherapy is used to end this session as the patient is told to leave some food on their plate at every meal and to only eat when they are hungry. Patients are also told to taste their food by chewing it for longer than they normally would and to place their knife and fork on their plate between bites.
In the third hypnotherapy session patients are encouraged to think about the present. They are taught the responsibility of their actions and to stop their damaging behaviour. The patient is then put under hypnosis for the 'gastric band operation'. A pulse monitor is placed on the patients finger to see how deeply they are in a trance-like state. During the hypnosis, patients are told that they are about to be given an anaesthetic. The journey to the operating theatre is then described to them. A device called a 'vortex aroma' is expelled at the right time to give the hypnosis a completely real feeling. The procedure is then described to the patient. Upon coming out of hypnosis patient's know that they have not actually had real gastric band surgery although many have reported afterwards that they feel fuller a lot sooner in the way the actual surgery works.
At £895 for a virtual gastric band it is over £6000 cheaper than paying for the actual surgery privately. The risks are also greatly reduced, and astonishingly the weight loss success rate of a virtual gastric band is higher at 80% than the weight loss success rate of an actual gastric band at 70%. It is unsurprising that many people are choosing to go down the hypnosis route and who knows it may be available on the NHS one day.