Hypnotic surgery helps with weight loss, patients say

LOS ANGELES

It may not look like bariatric surgery, but Roy and Sue May believe hypnotic surgery is an equally effective weight loss tool.

"I've tried every diet in the world and nothing worked," said Roy.

But the couple says hypnotic surgery is working. They've spent $1,100 a piece on hypnotic procedures.

Rena Greenberg hypnotized the couple into thinking they had gastric bypass surgery.

"So I'm actually guiding them through the experience as if it were actually happening. Going to a hospital, meeting the nurse," said Greenberg.

Along with simulating surgery, Greenberg tries to change her clients' way of thinking.

"And the oily, greasy, buttery, sugary, carbohydrate, processed foods that used to tempt you, now look disgusting," she told them during the hypnosis.

Combined, the couple has lost 160 pounds since the procedures.

Greenberg says she has seen over 100 clients for gastric bypass hypnosis. She says 70 percent reported they lost weight. But bariatric surgeon Dr. Ernest Rehnke of Palms of Pasadena Hospital isn't buying it.

"We actually know that the statistic is only about four percent of people long term can take weight off and keep it off successfully," he said. "It's not going to work long term for them. They are going to end up reverting back to their habits of eating a little bit more, a little bit more."

Rehnke says only surgery can physically shrink the stomach, reducing the amount of food that can be eaten.

Greenberg sees it differently.

"So, it's really just writing a new program; it's having a new inner conversation about food," she said.

It seems to be helping Roy and Sue stay on course. They've kept the weight off for more than a year.

While there are no studies about the effectives of Greenberg's hypno-surgery, new research on bariatric surgery finds while it helps with weight loss, it does not cut long-term healthcare costs.

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