Hypnotist conducts class to help
reduce weight, stop smoking
By MARGIE WUEBKER
ST. MARYS — They came from all walks of life with a common
goal — to shed unwanted pounds or to stop smoking once
and for all. For those problems, the conference room at Joint
Township District Memorial Hospital is an appropriate place
The American Lung Assoc-iation of Ohio began offering hypnosis
classes back in the mid-1990s, choosing 29 hospital, medical
center and YMCA sites across the state. In addition to St. Marys,
other area locations include Van Wert County Hospital, the Lima
Memorial Hospital Annex and Wilson Memorial Hospital in Sidney.
“I never met a person I could not hypnotize,” clinical
hypnotist Don Mannarino says prior to conducting the first of
two nighttime sessions recently. “Every-body can be hypnotized;
it’s as simple as that. Eight out of 10 who come seeking
help will be successful. Let me assure you that your chances
of success are greater than excellent.”
The Cleveland resident, who travels throughout the state helping
people under the auspices of the lung association, describes
hypnosis as a heightened state of awareness during which clients
reach a level of intense concentration allowing them to focus
on a specific goal or task.
Mannarino, who holds a master’s degree in human services
and a doctorate in counseling psychology, opens the 45- to 60-minute
sessions with a liberal dose of humor. It is done by choice
and not by accident.
“Humor breaks down resistance,” he explains. “People
must have a positive attitude and be ready to listen, relax
and make changes in order to be successful.”
He quickly assures the uncertain — 11 in the 6 p.m. smoking
cessation group and 12 in the 7 p.m. weight reduction group
— there will be no impromptu performances or nightclub
antics such as barking like a dog or crowing like a rooster.
“I will not put you to sleep because then you wouldn’t
hear anything,” he adds in reassuring tones. “You
will stay awake and learn how to be successful.”
Mannarino, the only clinical hypnotist sponsored by the American
Lung Association of Ohio, has been conducting wellness seminars
since 1978. The fascination with hypnosis he acquired as a youth
helped him achieve nonsmoker status 26 years ago after his lung
He addresses the participants uncertainty and skepticism, pointing
out hypnosis has been medically approved and sanctioned by the
American Medical Association since 1958. He adds the Lamaze
childbirth method is actually a form of self-hypnosis as other
techniques like transcendental meditation, biofeedback and yoga.
After fielding questions from the audience comprised of men
and women ranging in age from young adults to senior citizens,
Mannarino dims the lights and encourages participants to relax
in their seats and take deep cleansing breaths. His voice, once
vibrant and energetic, takes on a soothing tone. He doesn’t
use a watch dangling at the end of a chain as in the movies
or on television. The rhythm of his voice, like a wave breaking
slowly yet gently across the shore, gradually takes participants
to a trance-like state. It is a natural state — like daydreaming,
meditating or becoming engrossed in a good book — where
attention is narrowly focused and relatively free of outside
He introduces suggestions via the conscious mind into the subconscious
mind, the seat of unwanted negative habits. The message is simple
yet direct — smokers will become nonsmokers from this
day forth; overeaters will reduce their daily intake. Mannarino
delivers the actual words in rhythmic fashion establishing the
beat by snapping his fingers.
Participants emerge from the trance-like state feeling relaxed
and refreshed. They leave armed with a desire to succeed and
a reinforcement tape or CD that is to be played twice at points
throughout the day and once at bedtime.
A Mercer County woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity,
came for the weight reduction session after trying to lose excess
pounds over the course of eight years. She has tried everything
from diet shakes to the latest low-carb rage, losing some pounds
initially and them putting on even more.
“I am confident that I’m going to lose this weight
once and for all,” she says. “I have never felt
so good about anything. It cost me $50 tonight, but I can go
to as many sessions as I want without charge for a year. I’ll
be back for the next session here on July 15 and I’ll
probably head to Lima or Van Wert in the meantime.”
A man in the smoking cessation session kicked “the nasty
habit” six to seven years ago through hypnosis. He lighted
a cigarette one day and immediately came back for reinforcement
fearing a return to his old ways.
Mannarino believes weight loss and the ability to quit smoking
are on an even keel. One is no more difficult to achieve than
“You smoke because you made the choice to smoke; you become
a nonsmoker because you do choose to do so,” he says.
“You put on weight because you made the choice to overeat;
you lose weight by choosing to cut back.
“Resistance does not happen by chance. It also happens
by choice. You can’t resist anything subconsciously and
therein lays the key to the success of hypnosis.”
Anyone wishing to learn about upcoming clinics can call the
American Lung Association at 800-231-5864 or log on to www.ohiolung.org.