CLEVELAND - Many obsess over ways to lose weight -- some even go to the extreme of going under the knife for stomach stapling. Now, there is a new type of bypass that doesn't involve surgery, it involves the mind.
Sondra Lambert knew she needed to lose weight but she didn't opt for surgery. Instead, she is under the knife only in her mind. She's using hypnosis to help her shed the pounds. She said she was convinced she was getting a gastric band, but there was no scapel, no scar and no operating room.
Brian Sanders started offering hypno-bands six months ago. He said he's already put 200 clients under his four session hypno surgery. Sanders noted he basically reprograms the brain through the subconscious mind and patients think they have had the actual gastric bypass surgery.
It's also worked well for Deborah Herbert. She yo-yo dieted for years but after three sessions with Sanders, her weight loss is mind-numbing. She's down 85 pounds. Herbert said the hypnosis doesn't seem like a temporary measure but a life change and something she said she can continue.
Meantime, Sanders is quick to sing the praises of the procedure. He claimed his patients get full faster because they feel like their stomachs are smaller. Some patients even claim they feel tenderness as if they have had the actual gastric bypass surgery.
But doctors who perform the real surgery aren't convinced. Doctor Peter Liao said while he wants overweight people to have options, he wants to see more clinical data before he's sold.
"We need to see how well it does work in the long run so patients really understand when they make these choices. Yes, there is zero risk, but what is the real benefit?" Liao wondered.
The benefit according to Sanders is losing weight without the side effects of surgery. But he admitted the virtual procedure isn't for everybody.
Sanders noted, "You have to believe in the process. You have to open your mind and allow yourself to be hypnotized."
Sondra said she's a believer two sessions into the therapy. She said she's already feeling the weight loss but to her the weight loss is more about a life-changing journey than the pounds lost on the scale.
"It's not the weight or even the health issues, it's the lady in the mirror," Sondra remarked with a smile.