Alternative Therapies

BBC Examines Alternative Therapies

Imagine having your dentist pull your teeth out and drill into your jaw with no anaesthetic – just someone muttering in your ear about being on the beach.   Sounds alarming?  Welcome to the extraordinary world of hypnotherapy.

Half a million people in England use hypnotherapy every year.  It’s claimed it can help with smoking, obesity, tinnitus, weight loss, phobias, allergies, anxiety and even breast enlargement.  What do we know about hypnotherapy and hypnosis?  And how are scientists trying to find out about how it works and its effectiveness?

In the first in a new series, Professor Kathy Sykes, Professor of Science and Society at Bristol University, embarks on a personal and scientific journey to explore three popular alternative therapies: reflexology, meditation and hypnotherapy.

Travelling across the UK, Europe and over the Atlantic to Montreal, Kathy Sykes, in a journey that is at times funny, intimate, moving and revealing, she follows patients who are pinning their hopes on hypnotherapy.  There is Richard, the policeman, who wants to quit smoking; Nicola, who wants to eat less chocolate; and Mandy, who wants teeth implants without anaesthetic. Kathy herself has a go at being hypnotised as she tries to understand more about the science behind the hypnotic “trance.”

She meets hypnotherapists, and also mainstream scientists, who are looking inside our brains to try and unravel what goes on during hypnosis.  She meets Professor Peter Whorwell in Manchester who is pioneering the use of hypnotherapy for people suffering from the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

A mixture of serious science and personal journey – Alternative Therapies is intriguing viewing for anyone interested in the ever-growing, ever-confusing and controversial world of alternative therapies.

Alternative Therapies has been fully-funded by the Open University. More information on the series can be found at www.open2.net

BBC Press Release www.bbc.co.uk