Monday, 26 December 2011

Happy Boxing Day!

This is my 49th blog of the year. I started on the 13th January 2011 and have managed to write a post a week, publishing every Monday at 9am. Writing the blog has made me look more deeply into the wonderful world of hypnosis, looking at how it is portrayed in the news, how people’s  perception of it is changing, celebrities that have used hypnosis, different areas where hypnosis can be used, and approaching people with new ideas.

On a personal level it has also made me realise that I can write. Having dyslexia, I never felt that writing was my strong point, but I let go of the fear of failure and started to write.

I feel extremely lucky to do my job. I love the challenges I come across and find myself humbled by the people I meet and the strength they manage to find as they work with me to help themselves. I have worked with wonderful people this year, helping them to see that they can change the way they think and approach a situation to turn their life around. Many times I have walked out of the clinic with the biggest smile on my face, feeling very lucky to have been able to help someone help themselves. 

I am looking forward to the clients I will work with in 2012 and to continuing on this wonderful journey.

Thank you. Enjoy the rest of the Christmas break and have a brilliant new year. Make 2012 the year that you start working with the most powerful tool you will ever be given, the power of your mind.

“Erika has helped me more than you can imagine possible. I came to her in the middle of a nervous breakdown suffering from deep grief and traumatised by my loss. She helped me work through all the pain, the complex issues, build on all the positives in my life with a calm gentle manner that has within months enabled me to look forward to Christmas with a smile on my face and genuine happiness. But more than this she has left me not needing her anymore!! – That’s what I call a good therapist!” M, London

"Erika has helped me to regain my positive outlook on life! I've gone from being stressed and confused a month ago to now feeling more focused and confident. With Erika's help I've become decisive enough to make some big changes that have set up an exciting future for me. The results of our sessions have been better than I could've expected!" A, London

“I haven't touched a cigarette!! Today is my 16th day as a non-smoker - I'm so proud of myself but don't want to get complacent. The first few days were really tough, but since then it has got easier and I think about it less and less. I've even been out with people at work or pub and have just stood with them whilst they smoked and it’s actually been fine. I'm starting to feel better in myself, have a bit more energy and plan to start jogging next week. So thank you very much! I'm still taking it one day at a time but those days are getting easier.” L, London

"I just wanted to say thank you for all your help and excellent advice. I’m certainly feeling a lot better generally and couldn’thave done it without you. Thank you!" G, London

© EKTherapies

Monday, 19 December 2011

Stress: Can We Look at it in a Different Way?

The more I work with clients the more I realise that so much of how we feel is down to our perspective. We can be sat in a room and nothing can change and yet we can make ourselves feel stressed as we allow our minds to worry about all the things we have to do. With Christmas round the corner a lot of people feel under an extreme amount of pressure and stress, but if we change the way we view things could we feel less stressed? Christmas is meant to be a time to spend with loved ones and have a few well-earned days off.

I came across this description of how to deal with stress and I thought it was worth sharing.

"A young lady confidently walked around the room, explaining stress management to an audience. She raised a glass of water, and everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half full?'. ...She fooled them all... "How heavy is this glass of water?" she enquired with a smile.
Answers called out ranged from 8 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

She continued, "And that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced.
"So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Pick them up tomorrow.

"Whatever burdens you're carrying now, put them down for a moment. Relax, pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it, and conquer that stress!"

The power of the mind means that we can create stress from either a perceived threat or a real threat. If we never put down that glass of stress and allow our minds to be free to enjoy the moment we are in, we are never giving our body or mind the chance to unwind. The more we put down the glass of stress and allow our minds to unwind, the lighter the glass will become as it starts to empty, releasing the stress from the day.

It sounds so simple and it can be. I have worked with MDs of companies who seem to be carrying the world on their shoulders and no doubt have stressful jobs; even after one session they begin to see there is a different way, they can feel differently, they can feel calm and enjoy the success of their carriers. You can start helping yourself to manage your stress levels today - with a Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP session with Erika, you can learn the tools to manage your stress and bring back the feeling of relaxation and happiness in your life. With 2011 nearly at a close it is time to enjoy the festive period and start to put into practice how you want to begin 2012. You don’t have to have a life full of stress and anxiety.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing over the Christmas period, have a wonderful Christmas.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 12 December 2011

40% of Cancers are Due to Lifestyle According to British Journal of Cancer

The BBC reported last Wednesday that over 40% of cancers are due to our lifestyle. As you read this  don’t feel down hearted, but realise that you can take control of your life and help yourself to have a healthy future. Even changing a few things can help you to feel fitter and healthier and to give your body the best chance of remaining healthy.

Michelle Roberts, the health reporter for the BBC, wrote a fascinating article. To read it in full please click here.

“Nearly half of cancers diagnosed in the UK each year -over 130,000 in total - are caused by avoidable life choices including smoking, drinking and eating the wrong things, a review reveals.

Tobacco is the biggest culprit, causing 23% of cases in men and 15.6% in women, says the Cancer Research UK report.

Next comes a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in men's diets,while for women it is being overweight.

The report is published in The British Journal of Cancer.

Its authors claim it is the most comprehensive analysis to date on the subject.
Lead author Prof Max Parkin said: "Many people believe cancer is down to fate or 'in the genes' and that it is the luck of the draw whether they get it."
"Looking at all the evidence, it's clear that around 40% of all cancers are caused by things we mostly have the power to change."
For men, the best advice appears to be: stop smoking, eat more fruit and veg and cut down on how much alcohol you drink.

For women, again, the reviews says the best advice is to stop smoking, but also watch your weight.

Prof Parkin said: "We didn't expect to find that eating fruit and vegetables would prove to be so important in protecting men against cancer. And among women we didn't expect being overweight to be more of a risk factor than alcohol."

In total, 14 lifestyle and environmental factors, such as where you live and the job you do, combine to cause 134,000 cancers in the UK each year.

About 100,000 (34%) of the cancers are linked to smoking, diet, alcohol and excess weight.

One in 25 of cancers is linked to a person's job, such as being exposed to chemicals or asbestos.
Some risk factors are well established, such as smoking's link with lung cancer.

But others are less recognised.

For example, for breast cancer, nearly a 10th of the risk comes from being overweight or obese, far out  weighing the impact of whether or not the woman breastfeeds or drinks alcohol.

And for oesophageal or gullet cancer, half of the risk comes from eating too little fruit and veg, while only a fifth of the risk is from alcohol, the report shows.
For stomach cancer, a fifth of the risk comes from having too much salt in the diet, data suggests.

Some cancers, like mouth and throat cancer, are caused almost entirely by lifestyle choices.
But others, like gall bladder cancer, are largely unrelated to lifestyle.

The researchers base their calculations on predicted numbers of cases for 18 different types of cancer in 2010, using UK incidence figures for the 15-year period from 1993 to 2007.

Dr Rachel Thompson, of the World Cancer Research Fund, said the report added to the "now overwhelmingly strong evidence that our cancer risk is affected by our lifestyles".
Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said leading a healthy lifestyle did not guarantee a person would not get cancer but the study showed "we can significantly stack the odds in our favour".

"If there are things we can do to reduce our risk of cancer we should do as much as we possibly can," he said.

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said: "We all know that around 23,000 cases of lung cancer could be stopped each year in England if people didn't smoke.

By making small changes we can cut our risk of serious health problems - give up smoking, watch what you drink, get more exercise and keep an eye on your weight."

Whilst not all cancers or any illness are completely preventable some cancers are. Start making the changes today to help your body and mind be as healthy as they can be - book a Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP session with Erika and begin to take charge of your health.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 5 December 2011

Looking for an Unusual Christmas Gift?

Do you know someone who has always been curious to know more about hypnotherapy? Is there someone who would benefit from having some new tools in their toolbox to help them take the step to achieving their goals?

If you are looking for a different gift idea why not give someone a Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP consultation. The session is an hour long and it will give them a chance to learn a bit more about hypnotherapy and to see how hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help them to achieve their goals.

Even after just one session they will feel empowered and confident that they are starting to head in the right direction, taking steps to achieve their goals. There is no obligation for them to have more sessions.

Don’t take my word for it, here are a testimonials from people who have started to work with the power of their mind.

"Erika kindly explained to me the benefits of hypnosis and I subsequently had three sessions in order to tackle issues with confidence. Immediately after the first session I noticed a difference and this continued throughout the course. Every session Erika gave me techniques to ensure I could manage my confidence levels outside of the sessions, which was extremely useful. Erika exudes positivity and professionalism which puts you at ease with the process and I was confident that she was able to help me. I am very glad I attended the sessions, as it has completely changed my life and I would recommend it to anyone to enhance their life." Liz, London

"Erika has helped me to regain my positive outlook on life! I've gone from being stressed and confused a month ago to now feeling more focused and confident. With Erika's help I've become decisive enough to make some big changes that have set up an exciting future for me. The results of our sessions have been better than I could've expected!" Andy, London

Click here to see the kind of things that can be treated.

Please contact Erika to arrange a personalised gift voucher today. This Christmas, give someone the gift of working with the most powerful tool they will ever have: themselves.

"The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitude of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives." William James

© EKTherapies

Monday, 28 November 2011

What is Fight or Flight Response?

Fight or flight is a natural healthy response within our body to a perceived threat or danger. Thousands of years ago we led very different lives, much more physically challenging and dangerous lives. We didn’t have sharp claws or teeth to protect us from the world around us, and we had to be able to react very quickly to threats around us. In those days there were two simple choices, we could either fight or we could run (flight).

The fight or flight response is one of the most important parts of our make-up and a highly efficient survival response for dangerous times. When we are in fight or flight mode hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released; these speed up the heart rate, slow down digestion, and shift the blood flow to major muscle groups, giving the body a burst of energy and strength so we can react to the situation at hand. In the times of cavemen the threats were simple and straight forward - a wild animal or a member from an enemy tribe for example - these were very serious and dangerous threats requiring a quick reaction.

Nowadays we still have our fight or flight response; the dangerous situations have changed, but the biggest difference is that we now don’t always release that pent up stress.

Our bodies are built to deal with short times of heightened awareness and stress, it is a vital part of our survival, but the problem comes when we continue to keep our bodies in the heightened state, the stress state.

Our body/mind can’t differentiate between a real threat and a perceived threat. You can get the same chemical reactions just by thinking about a stressful situation, for example, a bill needing to be paid,  going over a situation you experienced – reliving it in your mind, or worrying about an upcoming situation; then when it happens it was so much better/easier than you thought, but all that energy you spent worrying about it has had a harmful effect on your body.

Our body tries to re balance but the hormones are still flying around; gradually they begin to have a permanent effect on our health, long-term health problems start to develop.

The wonderful thing is that you can control this; you can learn what your stressors are and how you can de-stress yourself. A hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP session can help you by working out a range of mechanisms with Erika which will equip you to deal with stress better for the rest of your life.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 21 November 2011

Surgeons told to Hypnotise your patient

Came across this article by Amelia Hill written for The Observer in June 2009 and had to share it.

“Doctors should be taught to hypnotise patients not to feel pain instead of using general anaesthetics during some operations, the Royal Society of Medicine will be told today.

In what he has described as a "clarion call to the British medical profession", Professor David Spiegel, of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Stanford University in the US, will also call on the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) to add hypnotherapy to its list of approved therapeutic techniques for the treatment of conditions ranging from allergies and high blood pressure to the pain associated with bone marrow transplantation, cancer treatment and anaesthesia for liver biopsy. Nice has already approved the technique for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

"It is time for hypnosis to work its way into the mainstream of British medicine," Spiegel will say at the joint conference of the Royal Society of Medicine, the British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis and the British Society of Medical and Dental Hypnosis.
"There is solid science behind what sounds like mysticism and we need to get that message across to the bodies that influence this area. Hypnosis has no negative side-effects. It makes operations quicker, as the patient is able to talk to the surgeon as the operation proceeds, and it is cheaper than conventional pain relief. Since it does not interfere with the workings of the body, the patient recovers faster, too.

"It is also extremely powerful as a means of pain relief. Hypnosis has been accepted and rejected because people are nervous of it. They think it's either too powerful or not powerful enough, but, although the public are sceptical, the hardest part of the procedure is getting other doctors to accept it."

Professor Marie-Elisabeth Faymonville, head of the Pain Clinic at Liege University Hospital in Belgium, who has operated on more than 6,000 patients using hypnosis combined with alight local anaesthetic, said: "The local anaesthetic is used only to deaden the surface of the skin while a scalpel slices through it. It has no effect inside the body.

"The patient is conscious throughout the operation and this helps the doctor and patient work together.The patient may have to move during an operation and it's simple to get them to do so if they remain conscious. We've even done a hysterectomy using the procedure."

The theory behind medical hypnosis is that the body's brain and nervous system can't always distinguish an imagined situation from a real occurrence. This means the brain can act on any image or verbal suggestion as if it were reality. Hypnosis puts patients into a state of deep relaxation that is very susceptible to imagery. The more vivid this imagery, the greater the effect on the body.

Dr Martin Wall, president of the Section Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine at the Royal Society of Medicine, said hypnosis fundamentally alters a subject's state of mind. Hypnosis is not, he said, simply a matter of suggestibility and relaxation.
Nice said it would welcome submissions for hypnotherapy to be considered as an approved therapeutic technique on the NHS if it could be cost-effective, and consistent delivery could be guaranteed.

But Professor Steve Field, who chairs the Royal College of General Practitioners, said he was sceptical as to whether hypnotherapy could meet these standards.
"It is a useful tool used by some GPs and patients for relaxation, but I don't think it is something that we should support being rolled out to all medical students and all doctors,"  he said.

"We can't call on the NHS to support it without there being a firm medical and economic basis, and I'm not convinced those have been proved to exist."

It is brilliant to see hypnotherapy becoming more and more recognized for the amazing therapy it is. Although there is still a long way to go and there needs to be guidelines put in place for governing bodies etc, it is a great step in the right direction.

To find out what other things hypnotherapy, CBT and NLP can help with please click here.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Does Hypnotherapy Really Work?

When I tell people I’m a hypnotherapist, they often ask “does hypnotherapy actually work ?”

For years within science, there were debates as to whether hypnosis existed or worked and sceptics often claimed that people in hypnosis were play-acting. But that has now all changed. In February 2002 the first conclusive scientific proof that hypnosis produces clear changes in the mind was presented by Professor David Spiegel of Stanford University School of Medicine in California at the America Association for the Advancement of Science conference.

Eight subjects were hypnotised and monitored using special scanning techniques called PET (Positron Emission Tomography) which measures blood flow to the brain.

Professor Spiegel said: “When people believe there is colour in the picture, their brains process the colour even if it isn’t there. They are not just telling you what you want to hear; the way their brains respond to the information is actually being changed. Under hypnosis, believing is seeing.”

Spiegel’s findings demonstrate that hypnosis has biological as well as psychological effects, disproving the cynics and supporting the application of hypnosis in a medical setting.

Spiegel said: “There has been a whole school of argument that hypnosis is nothing more than an exaggerated form of social compliance. This is evidence that they are not just telling you what they think you want to hear. They are actually perceiving things differently.”

For many of us, having scientific proof will help us to believe in hypnotherapy but there will be people who ask: “Is it all just a placebo?” With any therapy or drug there is always a placebo element to it – you believe that by taking this pill or receiving that therapy you will get better. By telling this to your mind it begins to happen. Hypnotherapy in that aspect is no different from any other treatment but it is also highly effective at changing the patterns we get into so that we can look at things in a new way and achieve our goals. Even the NHS has now recognised the benefits of hypnotherapy.

Look at other aspects in life where we are driven by our subconscious and the messages around us, such as in the media where the subliminal messages we pick up around us can influence our choices.

Marketers use branding to tap into our subconscious – take McDonalds for example. Their colours are red and yellow/golden, that’s because, according to the colour theory, these colours are known to subconsciously trigger hunger and/or induce excitement. These colours encourage guests to spend more and leave quickly, which is exactly what fast food restaurants want you to do. McDondalds has now started making the stores green, which is a colour we associate with health and the environment. As the world is becoming more conscious about the effects that certain foods have on our health and the damage we are doing to the planet, McDonalds is moving with the times making their fast food restaurants remain appealing.

Personally I have experienced many clients changing the way they look at a situation, their perception and becoming much happier people. I find my work so rewarding, seeing someone transform from the very first session full of anxiety to now enjoying life far more.

It is time to start working with your mind, take the first steps today to achieving your goals.

Click here to see what kind of things can be treated using Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 7 November 2011

Are We Scared to Fail?

Are we scared to fail? Do we stop ourselves from trying something just in case we fail? Do we project failure, seeing ourselves fail at something before we have even tried it?

No matter how hard you work for success, if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavours and make success impossible. Baudjuin

The more I work with different clients the more I see a growing pattern of fear. Society is teaching us from a young age that to fail is wrong. Our school days carry the fear of the big F being put on our papers for all to see, F for FAILURE. But is failure a necessary step for learning to occur? Are we stopping ourselves from achieving things due to the small chance that we may fail? If we never fail at something does it mean that we never learnt anything from it?

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. Henry Ford

Some of the biggest discoveries were born from mistakes/failure. One of the most famous ones in medicine is the discovery of penicillin. In 1928, bacteriologist Alexander Fleming made a chance discovery from a discarded, contaminated Petri dish. The mould that had contaminated the experiment turned out to contain a powerful antibiotic, penicillin.

Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement. Henry Ford

One of the biggest lessons we can learn in life is it is ok to fail at something, to let go of the fear of failure. You may not learn the lesson the first time or even the second and third time, but each time we fail at something we learn something. We learn a different way to succeed, maybe even discover a new path altogether. Everything we learn we can use later in life for the next task we tackle.

No-one starts off by being the best at something, all the greats did it through hard work and being brave enough to try something and fail. Even ourselves; we came into this world being able to do nothing for ourselves. Slowly we learnt how to walk and talk and eventually we became fully independent people. If we had the same fear of trying new things as a baby that we do as adults we would still be in nappies.

So many of the great names today could have given up at the many hurdles they faced but instead they kept trying and failing until the found the right way.

Winston Churchill failed sixth grade. He was subsequently defeated in every election for public office until he became Prime Minister at the age of 62. He later wrote, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never,Never give up."

Sigmund Freud was booed from the podium when he first presented his ideas to the scientific community of Europe. He returned to his office and kept on writing.

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was"sub-normal," and one of his teachers described him as "mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams." He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.
Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.

Michael Jordan and Bob Cousy were each cut from their high school basketball teams. Jordan once observed,"I've failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed."

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.

The Beatles. Decca Records turned down a recording contract with the Beatles with the unprophetic evaluation, "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on their way out." After Decca rejected the Beatles, Columbia records followed suit.

Elvis Presley. In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back todrivin' a truck."

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do. Henry Ford

Let go of the fear of failure and trust in your abilities. Calculate the risk sand make wise decisions, but take the plunge. Whilst we may end up on a different road than we expected, if we never try then we will never succeed. Yes we may need to “fail” once or twice to discover the right path but far better to try, and fail, than spend your whole life wondering "what if."

To find out how hypnotherapy, CBT& NLP can help you to let go of your fears and achieve your goals please give Erika a call for a no obligation chat.

Monday, 31 October 2011

How to Choose the Right Therapist for You

The benefits of hypnosis are becoming more and more recognized, with the NHS using hypnosis as the main treatment for certain conditions and a supporting therapy for many more.

But how do you find the right hypnotherapist for you? With the knowledge of the internet at the click of the button, the amount of information we can access can be overwhelming, and which person to see can become a hard decision to answer. Just because someone has a flash website or is at the top of the search engines doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best therapist for you.

When I am asked by my clients how do I find the right therapist for me? I always say the best option is to have someone recommended to you, but this is not always possible. Even if you have someone recommended it is always very important to talk with the therapist and make sure you can see yourself working with them, that you like their working style and approach.

Any therapist should be happy to have a phone conversation with you. Talk with the therapist and see if you like how they sound. It is important that you feel comfortable with the person, that they fill you with trust in their abilities and also that you trust them to keep your sessions confidential.

Lots of therapists including myself offer a discount for the 1st session. I offer the first session at half price. The reason I do this is so that people can come and meet me, find out more about what hypnosis is and my working style and how we can work together.The first session normally contains a short hypnosis so that you can feel what hypnosis is; you leave the first session with a new excitement, empowered that you can achieve your goal.

To find out more about how I work please give me a call for a non-obligation chat and see how Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help you to take the steps to achieving your goals.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Hypnosis Becoming More Recognised

The world of hypnosis is changing. Not so long ago the only version of hypnosis people knew was from stage shows, but hypnotherapy is becoming more recognised and accepted for the amazing changes it can make.

Hypnotherapy is now more widely available on the NHS, with the NHS even recommending it as the main option for certain treatments.

This report from the BBC in June 2010 states that “Hypnosis should become a standard technique on the NHS to treat a range of conditions. The hypnosis and psychosomatic medicine section of the Royal Society of Medicine says the technique can be used to relieve pain and treat stress-related conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.” Full article and video at

Whilst hypnosis is currently an unregulated practice, unlike acupuncture, the industry is taking the steps to have a government recognised qualification. I did a 1 year training course with a qualification awarded by NCFE - the HPD is the first national accredited diploma in hypnotherapy. I also belong The GHR  who are taking the steps to make hypnosis become a governed therapy. When this happens the GHR will be one of the bodies that complies with government standards.

We have already seen this change take place in massage, with massage now being widely accepted for its amazing healing qualities.

We are becoming more and more aware that we can take control of our thoughts and feelings and change the ways that we approach a situation, affecting its outcome.
To find out how Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help you to achieve your goals please contact Erika for a non-obligation chat.

Click here to find out what kind of things can be treated.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Smoking Ages You

We all know smoking is bad for our health; there is no hiding from the fact any more with cigarette packets carrying shocking images and smoking being banned from advertising. But the fact that smoking ages you will be a lurking demon in many people’s minds.The beauty industry is worth billions of pounds, but the most effective product available to help your skin remain youthful is stopping smoking.

“For smokers, middle age starts in the early 30′s as the tell tale wrinkles around the mouth and eyes begin to appear. Young female smokers are likely to be wasting their money on anti-ageing face creams if they continue to smoke,” says Amanda Sandford from Action on Smoking Health.

Smoking ages women more than men, a fact supported by many years of research by reputable medical bodies. The ageing effects of smoking on the skin are worse for women, who are much more likely to develop“smoker’s face” than male smokers. For women smoking and ageing are inextricably linked. Smoking is also linked to early onset of menopause.

Remember, when you look at your skin some of the damage caused by smoking won’t appear until ten to twenty years after you began to smoke. So if you haven’t been smoking that long and you don’t see much damage yet – don’t assume it won’t happen.

“Smoking exerts such a noticeable effect on the skin that it’s often possible to detect whether or not a person is a smoker simply by looking at his or her face. Smokers have more wrinkles and their skin tends to have a greyish pallor compared to non-smokers,”says Professor Young, Head of Dermatology at Guy’s School of Medicine, London.

So just how does smoking affect the skin in both men and women?
  • Smoking restricts blood flow through the capillaries (tiny veins near the skin’ssurface) preventing oxygen and nutrients getting to the skin
  • Smoking increases production of an enzyme which breaks down the supply of collagen to the skin’sstructure. Collagen supply is vital to the skin’s elasticity; it decreases with age but smoking cigarettes accelerates this process
  • Smoking reduces the body’s store of vitamin A which provides protection from skin damage
  • Smoking gets in the way of absorption of vitamin C – a vital antioxidant for skin protection and health
  • Smokers’continual puckering from drawing on a cigarette and squinting in reaction to the cigarette smoke results in deeply wrinkled skin around the eyes and mouth –classic signs of ‘smoker’s face’

Smoking statistics will clearly tell you the risk of death and disease from your smoking habit. This is frightening enough but the fact that it ages us too is something we should be aware of.

This is what you might expect your skin to look like if you continue to smoke:

  • Dull appearance to the skin – loss of skin glow and vitality
  • Discolored skin (an ashy look on white skins)
  • Deeper wrinkles around the mouth and eyes
  • Loss of tone and elasticity above and beyond the normal ageing process

The damage done from smoking cannot be completely reversed, but the sooner you stop and begin to look after your skin and diet then you can begin to get back your youthful skin and body.
Take the first steps today to becoming a non-smoker in a positive and focused way. Your commitment and a one-off Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP session is all it takes. Hypnosis makes it 10 times more likely that you will quit smoking for good. During the session we will look at all your smoking triggers and make sure you have the coping mechanisms, motivation and determination to become and remain a non-smoker. Why wait until the damage of smoking is showing on your skin and in your body. Take control today, call Erika see how you can take the first steps to becoming smoke-free today.

“I haven't touched a cigarette!! Today is my 16th day as a non-smoker - I'm so proud of myself but don't want to get complacent. The first few days were really tough, but since then it has got easier and I think about it less andless. I've even been out with people at work or pub and have just stood with them whilst they smoke and it’s actually been fine . I'm starting to feel better in myself, have a bit more energy and plan to start jogging next week. So thank you very much! I'm still taking it one day at a time but those days are getting easier.” Lisa, London who had a one-off Stop Smoking treatment with Erika at EKTherapies.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 10 October 2011

Stress is the Main Cause of Sickness Absence

According to The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) stress is now the number one cause of sickness absence at work; it affects even more people then acute illnesses like cancer.

"Tougher workloads, having a“bad” boss and the fear of being made redundant are among the top factors piling the pressure on UK employees.

An increased strain on family life and relationships, largely due to money worries in the current economic climate, is adding to a “vicious circle” of workers’ woes,experts warned.

According to the survey by CIPD and Simplyhealth, two-fifths of employers said stress-related sick days had gone up over the past year.

Half of public sector organisations reported an increase in absence due to stress compared to just a third of manufacturers, with state employers blaming the volume of job cuts, pension changes and pay freezes.

Jill Miller, CIPD adviser,said: “Stress is for the first time the number one cause of long-term sickness absence, highlighting the heightened pressure many people feel under in the workplace as a result of the prolonged economic downturn. Stress is a particular challenge in the public sector where the sheer amount of major change and restructuring would appear to be the root cause.” ( Full article at The Telegraph )

Stress is a word that has been around a long time and seems to be growing in potency as we hear threats of a double dip recession. The world has always been a stressful place, but with the growth of technology and less time spent with family, friends, nature and just enjoying “down time”, stress is growing and growing. One of the first questions I ask my clients is how much time do you spend de-stressing during the day? This is normally met with a little laugh and a blank expression. Society and ourselves are the best at putting stress into our lives but we can also work to eliminate the stress that we can control.

Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help you to have the tools to manage your stress. You can learn what your stressors are and see if there is a different way that you could manage life and allow your body and mind some time to de-stress. We often say to ourselves we don’t have time for “down time”, but in the same breath if a friend or loved one rang you and needed 10 minutes of your time you would give it to them.

Make time for “downtime”. Understand your stressors and find time in the day for you, which will in the long run make you better at everything you do.

Monday, 3 October 2011

How to work with the Power of the Mind

Our thoughts, what we say and what we hear all have a powerful effect on our everyday experiences and beliefs.

Henry Ford said it perfectly:

Whether you think you can or think you can’t you’re right.

Changing our internal dialogue to positive statements makes our life better and assists us in moving forward, giving us the confidence to achieve our goals. Instead of thinking “I am not good enough”, think “I can do this”; or instead of saying “I will never be able to do that so why try”, say “I know that if I trust in myself and prepare properly I can achieve anything”. Not only will you achieve your goals but you will feel happier and healthier. Positive self-talk gives you a permanent cheerleader in your corner, one that carries positive messages to all areas of your life and helps you to move forward. Once you have this positivity nobody can take it away from you, as it comes from within you, from your own thought processes.
Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. This can be hard at first but start by talking positively. When you have a negative thought, or catch yourself about to say something negative, stop yourself and see if you can spin it on its head by turning it into a positive one. Challenge that negative thought and question whether you are right to think that way. Soon this will become second nature and you will find yourself thinking more positively from the outset.
Begin working with these simple tools in mind:

  • Expect positive results. When you set a goal expect that not only will you achieve it but you will be better than you thought.
  • Actually visualize the success you want. Picture it in your mind, picture what you DO want, rather than having a list of what you DON’T want. Have an image of what you DO want, and see yourself achieving your goal.
  • Surround yourself with people who have the same positive view as you. When you are with a negative person then allow their views to wash over you and focus on why you want to achieve your goal. 

Think of it like:

Success or Failure

These are just a few simple steps you can begin to work with to understand the power of your mind and to start working with it rather than against it. To understand more and learn more techniques come for a Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP session and see how you can achieve your goals in a positive and focused way.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 26 September 2011

What does Hypnotherapy feel like?

What does Hypnotherapy feel like? This is a question I get asked a lot. The world of hypnosis is becoming more recognised now, with the NHS even recommending hypnotherapy to treat certain conditions such as IBS, Anxiety, Insomnia ect. But what can you expect to feel when you come for a hypnotherapy treatment?

The feeling of a hypnotic trance is something we experience every day. It is the feeling when you become absorbed in one thing, lost in thoughts, daydreaming, driving your car and zoning out, driving on auto pilot, going for a walk, or perhaps simply through meditation. There are so many different ways that we enter into this completely natural trance-like state every day.

Being in a hypnotic trance is a similar feeling to just before you fall asleep, where you are still aware of things but are beginning to drift off. You are able to hear and sense things around you but at the same time your muscles become relaxed and your mind begins to release the stresses from the day. There is a sense of distance from where you are as the passage of time gets distorted and often you feel the pleasure of deep relaxation allowing both your body and mind to relax completely.

Everyone’s experience of hypnosis will be personal and slightly different and you may find that you feel different every time you get hypnotised depending on the level of relaxation you reach. As you begin to feel more comfortable with the hypnotherapist and the more you work together, you begin to allow yourself to relax further entering a deeper state of trance. Although you don’t need to experience a deep trance state to be able to have life a changing experience, it can be enjoyable to experience a deep trance and allow yourself the pleasure of letting go completely and being guided through suggestions.

As you enter hypnosis, your awareness is withdrawn from the normal alert state that we walk around in and goes inward. The power of hypnosis is your ability to harness the full potential of your mind without the normal restrictions of the critical mind. This is when a hypnotherapist can help you make dramatic changes in your life, with the suggestions you listen to and how much you embrace these new ideas.

Hypnosis feels very relaxing, the big difference is in what you are guided to experience during this relaxation. A hypnotic trance is simply a naturally relaxed state of mind, which almost everyone can achieve at some level. You are still you, with your own thoughts and beliefs. You remain in full control the whole time, being able to bring yourself out of the trance at any point.

To find out the kind of things Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help with please click here. Take the first step today to understanding the power of your mind and how you can help yourself to achieve your goals in a positive and focused way.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 19 September 2011

Public Speaking

For many of us the idea of public speaking brings us out in a cold sweat as butterflies start to race around our stomachs. But how come something that we do every day so easily like speaking all of a sudden becomes terrifying? Many of us would like to avoid public speaking entirely but this is not always possible. Making presentations, giving talks, a bestman's speech at a wedding, business meetings, the list of when we may have to confront our fears of public speaking is endless.

There are many reasons why public speaking starts to turn us to jelly. Here are just a few common reasons:

  • Self-consciousness – this could be because of accent, grammar, voice, image, the way we stand, how we perceive ourselves
  • Lack of confidence – often stems from a feeling that others are better speakers than ourselves or that they know more about the topic in question
  • Unfamiliar situation – unless public speaking is something you do regularly the formality of speaking to an audience can cause apprehension
  • Fear of looking foolish – we worry that we might forget what we want to say or stumble over words, even say the wrong thing
  • When you start to panic over public speaking your body goes into fight or flight mode, releasing adrenaline to help you cope with the situation
Public speaking is a perceived threat and although that perception feels all too real to those who suffer from it, the act of public speaking can do us no harm. Public speaking doesn’t have to be stressful, it can even be enjoyable. If you correctly understand the hidden causes of public speaking stress and if you learn a few tricks to calm your body and mind, it will soon become an invigorating and satisfying experience. Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help you to conquer any public speaking anxieties you have by building up your confidence, helping you to remain relaxed and calm. You can learn your body’s unique reactions to stress and anxiety and develop a healthy and positive way of thinking and feeling. You wouldn’t walk into a meeting having not prepared what you want to say, in the same way you need to prepare both body and mind for how you are going to say it, so you walk into the room ready to speak clearly and confidently.

Imagine, instead of public speaking filling you with dread, you can learn to enjoy it, even to look forward to writing and giving a presentation. Take the first step today to conquering your public speaking fears, relaxing in the weeks leading up to it and even enjoying giving the speech as your new found confidence fills the room.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Can a Good Night’s Sleep Make us Look Younger and Slimmer?

We all know that sleep is a vital part of our bodies' health but can a lack of a good nights uninterrupted sleep have a bigger effect on our health then we realise?

This year's Mental Health Awareness Week focussed on sleep as being vital to our ability to stay mentally healthy. Up to one third of us may suffer from insomnia. This can affect mood, energy, concentration levels, our relationships and our ability to function during the day. Sleeping poorly increases the risk of having poor mental health.

“While energetic twenty-somethings might not show any ill-effects of repeated late nights, as we age insufficient rest has a dramatic effect on our looks, too.

Brad Pitt recently admitted that six children means virtually no sleep - and it’s clear from his exhausted appearance that he wasn’t joking. But the ever-glowing J-Lo (below) claims to get at least eight hours a night, which may explain why she appears ten years younger than her real age.

Dr Shahrad Taheri, a consultant endocrinologist at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital has done a series of studies looking at weight and sleep, and studying the metabolic rate. He says: ‘We discovered that people who sleep for significantly less than seven hours a night often end up being obese.’

It also seems that people who sleep for fewer than four hours a night are 73 per cent more likely to gain excess weight, while restricting sleep can lead to cravings for up to 900 extra calories a day.

Recent research discovered that sleep deprivation has a similar hormonal effect to the aging process and may even increase the likelihood of age-related diseases. Eve Van Cauter, the scientist who led the study, says: ‘We suspect sleep loss may not only hasten the onset, but could also increase the severity of ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss.’

Other studies have shown that sleep deprivation produces a stress reaction in the body, raising levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and glucose, which can indicate a higher risk of heart disease and strokes. Interrupted sleep can also affect blood pressure (which usually falls during the night) and leave us vulnerable to colds and flu.

During deep sleep, new skin cells are produced. The reason so many of us feel and look ten years younger after a holiday is because, for once, we’ve had enough sleep.

‘One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to repair itself,’ says professor Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University.

‘During deep sleep, the cortex [the largest part of the brain, governing higher function such as thought and action] goes into recovery mode. Without that period of rest, you may wake up irritable, moody, forgetful and unable to focus on tasks.’ ” Click here for full article.

Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help you to understand your stressors and find out why you are struggling to sleep. You will leave the sessions with the tools you need to have a good night’s sleep, waking up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Our bodies and minds are amazing resourceful things that can put up with a lot of the pressure we put on them, but they need support from us to maintain their health, allowing us to feel full of energy, younger and fitter ready for what life has to offer us.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Duchess of Cambridge - Confident, Elegant a Role Model

The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate (Catherine) Middleton. What springs to mind when you hear her name?

For me, the first think I think of is a confident, elegant woman and someone who always has a smile on her face.

Kate is becoming a style icon, a role model for not only young girls, but also for the older generations too. She carries herself with such confidence and composition, understanding her role and fulfilling it perfectly. Kate’s confidence comes across in how she holds herself and how she dresses, wearing clothes that suit her own style - including high-street brands as well as the top-end designer clothes too. She feels accessible to us, wearing clothes we recognise or may even own ourselves.

Whilst I am sure behind closed doors she has her moments of uncertainty as we all do, in the public eye she always comes across as very confident and sure of herself but in a gentle, inoffensive way.

So how did Kate become so confident? Is this something she was born with, a gift? Or is this something we can all learn to develop in ourselves?

It is easy to put people like Kate onto a pedestal and think that you will never be able to be as confident as them but as with us all her confidence is always growing and developing. She remains in her comfort zone but probably still pushes the boundaries. You can see this on her first tour as the newly-married Duchess to Canada. Kate was not pushed to do any public speaking; she is still learning the ropes and didn’t push herself to do more than she felt comfortable with. I am sure that as she gets used to her new role and develops her confidence she will begin to push her boundaries more and publicly speak to people, inspiring them on the way.

Of course Kate has access to the best advice money can buy but she still needs to take all of this on board and continue to grow, becoming the person the public admire and look up to.

I can’t claim to know what methods Kate uses to deal with the pressure of becoming one of the most photographed women in the world. I do know from seeing my clients develop and achieve things they could have only dreamt of, that Hypnotherapy, CBT and NLP can help to teach you what your strengths are. Giving you the tools you need to become a more confident person, believing in yourself and your abilities; from the way you carry yourself to the way you dress. All these little signs we give off reveal how we feel. You can learn how to challenge your negative beliefs and achieve the goals you never thought possible. Kate gives us all a chance to see that if you focus on your strengths and build on them, having the confidence to believe in yourself you can achieve incredible things.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Inspiring – Walking with the Wounded

I have often asked myself: what is the difference between someone who takes life on and someone who accepts their fate?

My wonderful Grandmother was a survivor of Auschwitz ( German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp 1940–1945, her story is told in her book, From Thessaloniki to Auschwitz and Back ). Her whole family managed to survive. She was on the first train out of Thessaloniki Greece and could speak both German and Greek. The family ended up being translators for the Germans and through a combination of a lot of luck and strength of mind, she and her immediate family (father, mother and brother) all survived. Unfortunately not all of her extended family and friends had the same fate. She only passed away last December and managed to lead the most fantastic life; full of love and laughter. Undoubtedly Auschwitz left her with her demons, haunting her throughout her life, but nevertheless she was the most positive person I have ever met. She had an amazing strength inside of her, understanding anyone’s problems and helping them to find their own inner strength to succeed, whilst still having the courage to challenge situations that she felt weren’t right. She also had an amazing ability to forgive, even hosting the German ambassador for dinner in her later years. What was always clear to me though, was that she survived and succeeded because of how mentally strong she was.

And in life today there are countless examples of mental strength. Lord Alan Sugar for one; starting life in a council house and without a lot prospects, he is now a household name, having become a multi-millionaire along the way and at the age of 64, shows no signs of stopping. I look at the amazing troops to come out of war having suffered life-changing injuries both physically and psychologically, now taking on incredible challenges like Walking with the Wounded and I find myself asking again “what makes them stronger, more focused than others?"

We all know the people who seem to always find misery, they seem to never be happy despite the amazing house, car, husband, job, children etc. What makes them so different? Could it all be perspective?

How is it that some people give up and accept that they will never walk again whilst others fight until they can walk, defying the laws of medicine? Like Sergeant Steve Young from the programme, Walking with the Wounded on BBC , he was told he would never walk again after having suffered a broken back whilst serving in Afghanistan. He defied the medics and four months after his injury was walking again. Sergeant Young then undertook the challenge of a lifetime; along with his teammates they became the first team of unsupported war-wounded amputees to reach the Geographical North Pole, in only 13 days they managed to combat the most torturous conditions.

I watched the 1st episode of the programme in awe and felt humbled to see these men taking on a challenge that most able-bodied people would find near impossible. Although they all had times where they battled with their inner-demons, having to come to terms with their injuries and adapting to their new life, they all managed to remain upbeat and focused, remaining a team, helping each other along the way.

I have been very blessed with my life, I have had my fair share of challenges which I hope has made me a better therapist but I have always found the inner strength to overcome what life has challenged me with.

The more I work with people and the more I learn, the more amazed I am by the power of the mind. We live in a world of technology, a world where we are becoming less and less aware of the little things in life, of our body’s natural rhythm. We take for granted so much of what we have, only stopping to look at something when we no longer have it. We strive for goals, reach them and then strive for the next one. Rarely stopping to enjoy the wonderful life we have created.

When I look at people like my Grandmother, Lord Sugar and the soldiers, the only answer I can come up with is that they have mastered the biggest tool we all have available to us. They have managed to work with their minds in a positive way. If we understand what drives us, if we work with our minds and bodies rather than against them, we can achieve amazing things, things we never thought possible. The mind is the most powerful tool you can ever have, more powerful than any computer. It has the ability to make you believe you can achieve anything.

Look how powerful it can be if we start on a negative spiral for example. We can imagine things so vividly even though the chance of them happening are less than 00.1%, but we still feel the physical and physiological responses as if it had already happened. Or there are the psycho-somatic cases when you tell your brain you are ill and it starts to give you the symptoms as if you really were.

Of course although our bodies are amazing machines, there are times when you must accept that your amazing machine is not going to recover to the extent that you want it to. You may never be the person you were before, but a fantastic thing to learn is that if you work positively with your own mind, you can see that the person you are now is as brilliant and in some ways better than the person you were before. If we all worked in a positive way the world would be an even more inspiring place - all that aggression that people have could be funneled properly to achieve something good.

I am not meaning to sound too idealistic; we all have our down days, but the trick is to make those fewer and more far between.

Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP are amazing tools in helping you understand what drives you, helping you to become a more positive person. So many of my clients turn their lives around even though nothing has physically changed; they still have the same car, job, house etc, but simply their perspective has changed. Rather than allowing themselves to focus on the few tiny things in life that aren’t quite right they start to focus on all the things that are right, giving them the strength to challenge themselves and take on tasks they never thought possible.

To find out more about Walking with the Wounded and the amazing work they do please take a look at their website

© EKTherapies

Monday, 22 August 2011

How Does Stress Affect Your Body?

Stress is a word that is commonly used today but how much do we really know about how it affects our body and our moods?

One simple description of stress is as a state when a person has insufficient resources to meet his or her demands.

  •  Too many demands + too few resources = stress, distress
  • Too few demands + too many resources = boredom, apathy
  • Demands match resources (or match resources at a stretch) = coping, interest
Each person deals with stress differently, depending on the resources available to them and the way they approach the situation. You can put two people in the same situation and they can produce different reactions. One may cope well with the situation where the other might struggle or even collapse emotionally.

A certain level of stress or challenging yourself is needed in life to keep you on your toes. Think how actors get butterflies before they go on stage, the adrenaline in their body begins to pump and they get the buzz for doing their job. This adrenaline helps to keep their performance fresh and exciting. Once the performance has finished the adrenaline levels go back to normal in their body as they relax after the show. This is a normal/healthy level of stress, keeping you driven and motivated to do the task at hand.

The effects on your body can be :
  • Pupils dilate
  • Mouth goes dry
  • Neck and should muscles tense
  • Heart pumps faster
  • Chest pains
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Leg and arm muscles tense for action
  • Breathing faster and shallow
  • Hyperventilation
It also has hidden effects too:  
  • Brain gets body ready for action
  • Adrenalin released for flight or flight
  • Blood pressure rises
  • Liver releases glucose to produce energy for muscles
  • Digestion slows or ceases completely
  • Sphincters closes or relaxes to empty bowls
  • Cortisol released, this depresses the immune system
These effects are all part of the fight or flight mode. They are helpful in daily life, helping us to be ready to deal with situations. Like when you’re in the car and you hear the screams of an ambulance siren warning you to get out of the way. You start to look for a way to move your car and you realize you are bumper to bumper. You enter the stress zone, inside your body the alert goes out. “Attention all parasympathetic forces, urgent! Adrenalin is beginning to pump through your body, the chemical cortisol has just been released mobilising all internal defences.
Your body is full of adrenaline ready to tackle any situation that comes your way, your senses are heightened, you're“running on adrenaline”. This is the stage that people get in when they perform “superhuman” acts of strength, like a mother lifting a car off of her child.

When the danger finally passes or the perceived threat is over, your brain starts a reverse course of action attempting to bring your body and mind back into balance. This is when you tend to feel your heart pumping and you feel "wow that was an adrenaline rush".

Our bodies are built to deal with this level of stress, it is a vital part of our survival.

The problem comes when we continue to keep our bodies in the heightened state, stress state. Our body/mind can’t differentiate between a real threat and a perceived threat. You can get the same chemical reactions just by thinking about a stressful situation, for example, a bill needing to be paid, going over a situation you experienced – reliving it in your mind or worrying about an upcoming situation; then when it happens it was so much better/easier than you thought, but all that energy you spent worrying about it has had a harmful effect on your body. Our body tries to rebalance but the hormones are still flying around, gradually they begin to have a permanent effect on our health, long term health problems start to develop.

The wonderful thing to read is that you can control this; you can learn what your stressors are and how you can de-stress yourself.  A hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP session can help you by working out a range of mechanisms with Erika which will equip you to deal with stress better for the rest of your life.

Here are a few ways you can start to do this:

  • Write down your personal strengths and support network· Things you are good at and people respect you for; your areas of good experience, etc
  • Family, friends, networks; powerful contacts; resources you can draw on – assets, your standing etc
  • Next, list your personal weaknesses and limitations in your life· Areas where you’re aware that you are not strong, or things that people fairly criticise you for;
  • Lack of resources – where others at your level have access to these resources, or where the absence of resources impacts on your situation
  • Bad situations – where you experience problems with your job or relationships, or where you have a poor living or working environment

Then brainstorm the opportunities available to you:

  • Work through strengths you’ve identified. Ask yourself how you can draw on them to manage stress
  • Work through the weaknesses you’ve identified. These are opportunities for positive change and for development of new skills

Finally, consider real-world practical opportunities open to you if you took advantage of those opportunities, to improve your stress management

  • Look at managing your time and your expectations for the day - are they realistic?
  • For threats, consider consequences of leaving your weaknesses uncovered· Consider damage to relationships, career and happiness that would come from failing to manage stress
  • Use this consideration of the downside as a spur to ensure that you take stress management seriously

These are just a few things you can start doing today. To find out more about how you can manage your stress levels further, finding time in your day and coping mechanisms that you never knew you had, contact Erika and find out how Hypnotherapy, CBT and NLP can help you to take the steps to a more relaxed happy you.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 15 August 2011

Stop Smoking on Your Terms

It wasn’t that long ago that you could smoke anywhere. Many of us remember the days when smoking was an accepted thing, even being advertised on TV with cigarette brands being proud sponsors of the Grand Prix or Snooker tournaments. But with the introduction of the UK smoking ban in 2007 stopping you being able to smoke indoors in public places, it has now become less and less socially acceptable to smoke. Cigarette packets now carry shocking images on them to convince smokers to give up and as a further deterrent the government has also increased taxes on tobacco which has in turn raised the price of a packet of cigarettes. The question still remains though that if smoking is so bad for you then why do the government allow cigarettes to be sold at all?

Councils in the UK are now talking about making it illegal to smoke in certain parks and even in cars containing children. This move has already taken place in New York, which earlier on this year became a no smoking zone, with a $50 fine if you were caught smoking.

The UK is slowly becoming less and less tolerant of smokers.

Why wait until the government tells you that you have to stop smoking? Make the decision for yourself, take the plunge today and find out how you could become smoke-free in a positive and focused way. There is no need for nicotine patches or gum, the nicotine from your last cigarette will be out of your system within 48 hours: all you need is your commitment and a one off Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP session. You are 10 times more likely to remain a non-smoker if you give up using Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP, this is because during the session we will look at all your smoking triggers and make sure you have the coping mechanisms, motivation and determination to become and remain a non-smoker.

“Having been a smoker for over 14 years I am very pleased to say that after my hypnotherapy session with EKTherapies, six months on I am still not smoking. It has been extremely easy (most of the time) and I now very rarely think about it. I am very happy that I am now a full non-smoker! So thank you so much, everyone is amazed at how easy I have found it.” Kate, London

“I haven't touched a cigarette!! Today is my 16th day as a non-smoker - I'm so proud of myself but don't want to get complacent. The first few days were really tough, but since then it has got easier and I think about it less and less. I've even been out with people at work or pub and have just stood with them whilst they smoke and it’s actually been fine . I'm starting to feel better in myself, have a bit more energy and plan to start jogging next week. So thank you very much! I'm still taking it one day at a time but those days are getting easier.” Lisa, London

I am not saying I agree with the notion of banning things; I believe that we need to educate people and then leave them to their own freewill. I understand that with smoking, people do have issues with second-hand smoke or with littering caused by cigarette butts being left on the ground. But by banning smoking it becomes an underground and exciting thing to do. I am not supporting it either; being a non-smoker I don’t personally enjoy walking through a cloud of someone else’s smoke but I accept that as part of city life. I am sure there are things that I do that not everyone likes either.

To find out more how you can become smoke free in a positive and focused way on your terms before the government forces us to do so, please contact Erika for a no-obligation chat.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Drinking: Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help you take control

According to official figures alcoholic liver diseases in under 30s has risen by half in the last ten years. Whilst there is nothing wrong with having a drink or two, it is important to make sure alcohol doesn’t have a hold on you; you can have just as much fun on a night out without drinking.

With doctors warning of the growing impact of alcohol on young people’s health, after findings have shown a quarter of the population drink too much, I thought I would share an article with you from The Sunday Times by Minette Marrin. Full artcle at: 

“As a scientific materialist, I have always been sceptical about alternative therapies. There may just be something in black boxes or Rolfing or homeopathy, but there just isn’t enough evidence - or in some cases any evidence - that they work. There certainly isn’t enough scientific evidence about any of them to justify chancing National Health Service money on them. All the same, hypnotism seems to have done something remarkable for me.It began when my GP, who is a friend and knows I love medical talk, was discussing treatments of fashionable obsessive compulsive and eating disorders: he remarked that hypnotherapy seemed to work surprisingly well for some people. “Does it work for drinking?” I found myself asking. He replied that it was worth trying and recommended someone nearby.

If I had expected someone alternative looking with a beard I would have been disappointed. I was met at the door by a middle-aged man in a suit, who led me through an elegant house full of books, and spoke of an earlier career in business in the Far East. His manner was that of an Oxbridge don, though gentler. He told me he might be able to help me, and that it would quickly be obvious whether he could or not. In any case, I would need two sessions at the most. He would give me a CD and he would teach me the beginnings of self-hypnosis as well. This inspired confidence – my experience of alterative therapists, and I have trawled round many for journalistic reasons, is that they are not usually inclined to say that it will quickly be obvious if they cannot do anything – rather the reverse.

My hypnotist’s process seemed simple. We were to prearrange a suggestion for myself – I decided mine should be to refuse all drinks, except one or, at most, two glasses of wine once a week to overcome writer’s block, if necessary, when writing this column. Then he would make this suggestion to me while I was under hypnosis.

All I can say is that it worked. I am sorry to say that I haven’t used the CD or the self-hypnosis technique. Even so, through the Christmas parties, the trials of Christmas itself, the dark days of the end of December, I did not drink, except for a glass of wine a week. I still haven’t. I have sipped fizzy water. I have wanted to say no. The only exceptions – which revealed something surprising to me – were on my birthday, a week before Christmas, and on New Year’s Eve.

I feel extremely well, I have hugely more energy, my memory is better and although I haven’t lost any weight, I’m told I look much better. Best of all, I have proved to myself that I can stop drinking if I mean to. As to whether it is hypnosis that stopped me, I shall probably never know. Perhaps the sessions were just a rite of decision-making, a formal recognition that I had made up my mind. Perhaps on the other hand, hypnosis does work, at least for some of the people some of the time.”

If you feel, like Minette, that it is time to take control of your drinking and know your own limits then give Erika a call and see how hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help you. Remember, like Minette, you can decided whether or not you want to give up alcohol completely or just have a more control over it.

Monday, 1 August 2011

James Cracknell

I am not one to normally preach about things or tell people what to do, but I had to blog about this amazing video by James Cracknell.

I am sure many of you have heard about James Cracknell but just in case, he was born 5 May 1972 and has an OBE, he is a British rowing champion and double Olympic gold medalist. Last year he was undertaking one of his many challenging adventures when he had a life-threatening accident. James was taking part in Race Across America, a grueling 3000 miles of cycling and running across 12 states and climb over 170,000 vertical feet in a maximum of 12 days.

Here is his story...

“Today (20th July) is the anniversary of the accident I suffered whilst cycling in America. I was hit on the back of the head by a fuel truck travelling at 75mph along the Arizona desert plains (I know - that sort of stuff only normally happens in Road Runner cartoons). Bev and my parents were called to the hospital whilst I was unconscious. Despite a massive crack down the back of my head (25 staples took care of that) and significant bleeding to the frontal lobes of my brain, I am here to tell the tale. There is only one reason for that: my cycle helmet. It saved my life.I’ve put together a short film encouraging people to wear cycle helmets. Everyone gave their time, skills and facilities free of charge. Cycling is good for the planet and it’s good for us; leaving your head (or your children’s) vulnerable to a pavement, lamp-post, car or wing-mirror is not.

Shockingly the last survey revealed that only about 18% of British children and 35% of adults wear helmets, yet it is such a simple thing to do.I have no commercial relationship with a helmet manufacturer or retailer; no reason to bang on about this other than a desire to stop any other cyclist – and their loved ones – experiencing a year like mine.Please, please watch this video and to show your support by passing the link to your friends as well as followers on Twitter and Facebook. There is no agenda. I want wearing a bike helmet to become as normal as clunk-clicking your seat-belt on.

With Thanks, James Cracknell” form James Cracknell’s blog

I had to pass on his message. James Cracknell has an amazing amount of focus and mental determination to fulfil his goals. I have watched him undertake his various challenges and both the physical and mental strength he shows is incredible and inspiring. Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help you to train your mind and find your motivation so that you can improve your focus and determination. James has this not only from learned behaviour but also has a natural ability to be extremely driven.