DESPITE being a firm adept of alternative therapies, I have to confess there is one particular treatment I had always steered clear of, hypnotherapy.

Being in control at all times whether it be in my professional or in personal life has always been paramount. And slipping into a trance, I believed, was the ultimate loss of power.

Letting go as you can see has always been near impossible for me and certainly accounts for the anxiety and stress I have been struggling with for years.

And, as is often the case, my preconceptions and misgivings were unfounded and duly set right.

Hypnotherapy, as I was to discover, is poles apart from the stage hypnosis I was desperate to avoid. Firstly, because a trance is not quite what I imagined. Secondly, because a hypnotherapist will not toy with your mind, making you perform circus tricks for the hell of it.

Trances are part of everyday life, hypnotherapist Helen Breward explained before our session. A daydream or a state of deep concentration while watching television, reading or focusing on a computer screen, are all forms of trance.

In other words, you are in control at all times during a session. Control in fact is just what will allow us to get to the bottom of a phobia, eating problem or smoking addiction.

Mollified, I went into the reason for my visit – anxiety – not that Helen couldn’t have guessed just by looking at my tense self.

I lay down and the treatment began. With soothing ethereal music playing the background, she started the process of relieving my stress by asking me to visualise my happy place – my mother’s large library – picture a waterfall (then myself underneath it) and a series of colours; my mind gradually filling with positive and empowering thoughts.

While very much aware of her voice, I cannot say I was fully there with her. I was floating somewhere between consciousness and a dream state.

The moment she ‘brought me back’ I felt energised and strangely elated as though a weight had been lifted off me. And that was just the first 50-minute session. The result was very promising and honesty rather astounding. Not only had I allowed myself to let go but had been very responsive to hypnotherapy according to Helen.

But aside from anxiety, hypnotherapy tackles and relieves a variety of issues (weight problems, pain, phobias) and symptoms.

“Hypnotherapy is a very deep relaxing state of mind,” said Helen, of Pebbles Hypnotherapy. “It’s there to help people to change themselves and make improvements in their life. We find that people will have that mental click and they will know they’ve got to that point they need to get to. I’m here to give them the tools and support they need. It makes such a difference.”

Helen is currently testing the benefits of hypnotherapy in alleviating hot flush symptoms in menopausal women by allowing them to turn the heat down mentally and, hopefully, physically.

“You can do so much with the mind,” added Helen, who practices both in Royal Wootton Bassett and at Wood Street Wellbeing in Old Town. “You can help people control their pain levels and control their heating systems. I teach people coping strategies and to visualise certain things, so they feel in control. They might imagine an icy landscape and imagine mentally and physically turning the heat down.”

Her colleague at Wood Street Wellbeing, Alex Viggers, who set up Solutions Hypnotherapy Practice, is also keen to explore the power of hypnotherapy in all areas of life.

A reflexologist, she chose to train as a hypnotherapist to get to the source of her clients’ thought processes.

“Quite a few of my clients were coming to me with stress and anxiety and the reflexology was really helpful in helping them to relax but it was not tackling the thought processes behind it,” she explained. “That’s when I decided to train in hypnotherapy.”

Alex qualified as a hypnotherapist at the end of last year and practices both in Old Town and Ridgeway Leisure Centre in Wroughton.

“I focus on solutions for the future, rather than analysing problems of the past.”

She has been closely following research conducted in Cardiff where hypnotherapy has been used on the wards to ease pain in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

“When people are really stressed and anxious, all the symptoms feel worse. If you can lower that anxiety people are able to cope a lot better. It can help patients cope with the sickness. Hypnotherapy covers a massive range of symptoms.”

To find out more about hypnotherapy or to book a session (£65) with Helen Breward go to or call 07561 544511 / 01793 854242.

To book a session with Alex Viggers, visit or call 07964 678124. Sessions are £60 but the first appointment is half price.