Bringing change with mind over matter |

Bringing change with mind over matter

Adam Robertson

Hypnotism is common in the entertainment world, but beyond that it can also be a powerful therapeutic tool to help people in any number of areas.

Joan Sands, hypnotist and masseuse at Transcendence Health and Wellness, said hypnosis can do just about anything where a mental barrier is concerned — Some of the common applications are for helping with addiction, habits, fears, eating disorders and even athletics.

“Anything you can think of, you can use hypnosis to change how you think of it,” Sands said. “If there’s a barrier in your life it can remove the barrier, and if you want to create a barrier — like to eat better — you can create one.”

Several misconceptions surround hypnosis. Sands said one of the most common is it’s portrayal in the movies, that a hypnotist can take over a person’s mind and make them do things against their will. She said a hypnotized person is always in control and can’t be made to do something against their morals or that they wouldn’t do consciously.

“A hypnotist is not going to make you reveal secrets or do things that are against your own moral code,” she said. “You’re always in control of you … you can’t make somebody do something that they wouldn’t want to do.”

One of the biggest misconceptions is that hypnosis is hard or requires special training to do — quite the opposite is true, in fact. According to Sands, people hypnotize themselves all the time; some of the most common forms of this include dozing and letting the mind wander while doing a repetitive activity.

“You go in and out of hypnosis every day of your life naturally,” Sands said. “Your subconscious mind opens up and takes over and your conscious mind just kind of drifts off into a dream-like state and does whatever it wants.”

For people with concerns about revealing information, Sands said she holds a policy of confidentiality during hypnosis sessions. She would not discuss anything from a session unless it was expressly consented to.

Clients who have come to Sands report positive results from their hypnotherapy experiences.

“I was feeling super skeptical about hypnosis but after one session my lifestyle has changed for the better,” reads one testimonial. “I haven’t missed a day in the gym, I’ve been making better choices with eating even. I am blown away by the positive change and I can’t wait to see what progress I will continue to make.”

Another testimonial related to eating better.

“I had a very unhealthy relationship with food,” the client said. “I would plan my day around a trip to Starbucks and picking up snack cakes later in the day … In the last 10 days any thoughts of Starbucks would be fleeting and I haven’t stopped for snack cakes. I’m thinking of ways to make meals healthier; and the thought of fast food makes my stomach turn. I love it!”

There are some limits in hypnosis, however. Sands said a hypnotist would never remove a person’s ability to feel pain, which is the body’s way of saying something is wrong. She recalled one story of a hypnotist who did this to himself and died of a heart attack because he didn’t feel his body’s warning the attack was coming and find help.

Another area Sands said she won’t touch is trauma and repressed memories. She said it’s possible for someone to be re-traumatized by reliving an event or for a false memory to be planted. These are things that should only be handled by a licensed therapist.

One important aspect of hypno-therapy is being open to it. Sands said a person has to want to change for it to work; if someone isn’t ready to change or has doubts, it’s unlikely she can help.

“I don’t want to work with those people,” she said. “I want somebody who’s really motivated to change.”

Sands offers free consultations for whether hypnotherapy is right for a person. She noted she can’t help with psychiatric disorders that require diagnosis from a therapist, but she can work in tandem with a doctor if hypnosis is recommended as part of treatment.

“I can work on certain symptoms or certain things, but if it has a DSM 9 code they have to come with a doctor’s note,” she said.

Sands has a number of certifications for hypnosis and is a self-proclaimed addict for staying current and continuing her training. She is a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists and has training for PTSD hypnosis, smoking cessation, and clinical hypnotherapy, to name a few.

Transcendence Health and Wellness is located on the Reno Highway, near Fallon Welding and Otts Farm Supplies. Sands can be contacted to schedule an appointment or a free consultation by calling 775-217-9740 or emailing More information can also be found at