A new app, launched by celebrity hypnotherapist Paul McKenna has come under fire from leading obesity surgeons who challenge its veracity.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, the app from Paul McKenna claims to use hypnotherapy to help people to mimic the results of weight loss surgery at only a fraction of the cost.
However, according to the Daily Mail, top surgeons have warned that, in their opinion, giving customers the impression they will see the same results as gastric-band surgery is wrong.
Weight loss surgery usually costs around £6,000 while the Paul McKenna app costs only £4.99, which, if it works would represent a huge saving to private patients and to the NHS as a whole who carry the financial burden for much weight loss surgery.
McKenna says his £4.99 Hypnotic Gastric Band app is a ‘surgery-free weight-loss solution’ that ‘can help convince the unconscious mind that a gastric band has been fitted, so the body behaves as though a band is physically present’.
According to the Daily Mail, Dr Carel le Roux, a lead physician at London’s Imperial College Healthcare’s obesity service, dismisses these claims as ‘a gimmick’. He says: ‘Hypnosis isn’t powerful enough to be effective in the long term.’
Consultant surgeon Paul Super, from the BMI Priory Hospital in Birmingham, agrees with Dr Carel le Roux and said: ‘It might be called a hypnotic gastric band, but is no more a physical operation than a hypnotic pacemaker or hypnotic hip replacement. If it worked, then why aren’t thousands of patients having it on the NHS?’
In response to his critics Paul McKenna says that hypnotherapy is, as a matter of scientific fact, a proven means of weight loss.
His spokesman told the Daily Mail that the gastric-band hypnotherapy app is ‘merely an innovative variation on a scientifically tried and tested means of weight loss’.
This includes a 1985 trial which showed 109 hypnosis patients lost significant amounts of weight, and continued to do so over a two-year period, when used alongside other ‘behavioural’ treatments, compared with patients who only had behavioural treatment.
The argument over whether or not hypnotherapy can work successfully to combat obesity without the ned to undergo surgery will continue to rage on as long as people are found to have real results from the therapy which leads to weight loss.
Currently the NHS advises that hypnotherapy can help various different problems including irritable bowel syndrome and the pain of childbirth, but there is not enough evidence to recommend it for weight loss.