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What Is the Virtual Gastric Band?

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  • Written By: Valerie Goldberg
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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The virtual gastric band is a hypnosis procedure in which patients are hypnotized to think their stomachs are smaller in size than they actually are. This allows them to feel full after eating only a small amount of food. This procedure is considered an alternative to having gastric bypass surgery, an operation that physically makes the stomach smaller.

Hypnotherapists who have been trained in this technique can perform the virtual gastric band on patients. Some specialists choose to do the procedure in their office, while others will perform the hypnotism in a patient's home to make the patient feel more comfortable. The virtual gastric band administrator will use hypnotherapy techniques — along with a series of tapes that contain calming music and soft spoken words about losing weight and being healthier — to relax the patient. One session, which usually is performed over a course of four days, may help some patients to start losing weight. Other people may need to see a hypnotherapist multiple times to see results.

The virtual gastric band has far fewer limitations than typical gastric bypass surgery. A person may need to be above a specific weight bracket or have a serious health condition to be a candidate for weight loss surgery. Anyone can get the virtual gastric band, even a person who is only 20 pounds (9 kilograms) overweight.

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Gastric bypass surgery can put patients at risk for many complications, including kidney stones, stomach ulcers and low blood sugar. Rare instances have occurred in which patients have died on the operating table. The virtual gastric band doesn't have any known side effects. The worst thing that could happen as a result of the hypnotherapy is that it wouldn't work and the patient would not lose weight.

The Lap-Band® procedure is another surgical process in which the stomach is made physically smaller. This process differs from gastric bypass surgery, because Lap-Band® patients can have the band surgically adjusted over time to make the stomach slightly bigger or smaller. Virtual gastric band therapy offers a similar feature, because patients can be hypnotized again if they are losing weight too quickly or too slowly.

There also is a financial benefit that comes with choosing the virtual gastric band over weight-loss surgery. Many patients struggle to get their insurance companies to cover weight-loss surgery. Hypnotherapy sessions can usually be done by paying the same hourly rate that a customer would pay to a hypnotherapist for any other session. Patients also do not have to worry about missing work, because hypnotherapy does not involve any recovery time.

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