World NO to Tobacco Day

If you want to give up smoking why not take some inspiration from the news that Saturday 31st May is World No Tobacco Day?

I want to be free from smoking

Make smoking a thing of the past

Why get smoke-free? The World Health Organisation (WHO) is responsible for the campaign, saying that smoking tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death around the world, killing nearly 6 million people a year – 600,000 of whom are non-smokers. WHO promotes the day by encouraging governments around the world to raise taxes on tobacco to save lives.

Many people use hypnotherapy to help them give up smoking and at my East London practice I’m supporting the WHO campaign by urging my readers who are wanting to give up smoking to contact either me or only practitioners who are:

a) registered with the CNHC Complementary & National Healthcare Council,  and

b) like myself have had specialist training using the Simmons Method.

What is the Simmons Method.

Based on Scientific research the Simmons Method uses cutting edge neuro-scientific research.

Simmons Method practitioners are trained to understand much more about how smoking effects the landscape of the brain, which hijacks the internal motivation and reward system making it difficult to stop the smoking. Hence you will often hear us using  the term ‘this is NOT your fault’  when we hear from people just like you who may feel wracked by guilty feelings in relation to their attempts to stop the smoking habit.

So with this in mind our approach requires much more than the use of generalised suggestions at an unconscious level to stop the smoking. The Simmons Method aims to help you understand much more about what is happening to you, and this training enables me to create bespoke treatments which help you to break all the unique associations that trigger the smoking in you.

Your survival code!

We are all born with a built in survival mechanism.  Those chemical messages that regulate and motivate us to act by providing us with, for example, a desire to eat when our energy levels are low, and in return we are rewarded by this action with a feeling of satisfaction. Ever wanted to go to the loo when your in a public place? Remember the discomfort? Remember the sheer relief after you’ve found a place to safely make your deposit!

The same mechanisms also provide the motivation in us to try out new things.  AND…

when we’ve been learning new things or successfully completed the task we can experience that glowing, even overwhelming sense of achievement.  After a while our new found ability becomes part of the norm and suddenly we find ourselves hankering after a fresh challenge, motivation builds  so that we can once again experience the journey that leads to a sense of glowing achievement.

In a nutshell…

(after the brief science bit below we’ll move onto client feedback)

Through all the complex interaction of chemicals released within the brain there are three main ‘neurotransmitters’ that are responsible for our survival:

Chemicals in the brain

knowledge can help your commitment

Dopamine –  rises to push us forward : Just like hunger pangs  will trigger that feeling that we need to eat.

Serotonin  –   will rise as we ‘do what we need to do’  you feel satisfied and this sensation will help to put the brakes on for example the desire to keep eating.

Glutamate –  In terms of our survival its important to remember this moment –  glutamate is a chemical that helps to lay down and associate the memory.

How the heck does this relate to being smoke-free?

Nicotine in cigarettes HIJACKS this natural survival mechanism. Nicotine is taken in and higher than normal levels of dopamine  (the ‘I’ve got to have it now’ chemical messenger),  gets released.  This motivation creates what’s known as a classic conditioned or ‘learned response’ that unconsciously makes us associate nicotine as being absolutely essential for survival.

As more and more dopamine gets released the idea of smoking becomes even more irresistible.

In fact that stress that’s associated with the need for a cigarette is actually CAUSED BY THE NICOTINE as it’s withdrawing from the body.  Clever huh, or just a bit cruel…

Smokers light another cigarette, to relieve this stress and get some equilibrium BUT the whole cycle just starts again.

However the brain has learned another association “nicotine relieves stress”quote the nicotine trickster…

Ever heard of ‘Pavlov’s dogs’?

Border collie with thought bubble thinking about a bone

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…then you may recall that it’s possible to create an association between unrelated stimulus – here the ringing of a bell was associated with the expectation of food, causing the pooches to salivate just on the sound of the bell ringing when there wasn’t a tasty morsel in sight.

Nicotine MIMICS dopamine in the brain, creating a similar type of conditioned learning, higher levels of dopamine then need to be sated and smokers reach for the cigarette in an ever increasing nicotine feast-cycle. Which also means taking in all the other toxins that come as part of the tobacco product.

But having this knowledge means that we can do something about it.

Environmental, emotional and internal triggers:

As one example there are lots of people who recall ‘why smoking had meaning of security and belonging for them’  Some relate feelings of belonging when they became part of the ‘cool’ group at school.  Rationally these are outdated emotions, but the unconscious doesn’t get that, because these emotions and associations have become part of the unconscious survival mechanism.

The great news is that such emotional associations can be unlearned too.


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Those cravings to smoke, that feeling that ‘you’ve just got to have it’ create many  physical sensations pushing a person to smoke at particular events, places, specific times, due to peer pressure,  or other triggers that are unique to you.

After a session with a trained specialist in the Simmons Method you’ll leave the therapy room having gained new insights relevant to you.  Combine this awareness with techniques and ideas that you can continue to use as positive and helpful alternatives to remain permanently free from the smoking.

Now some clients go for quitting smoking in one session, this session lasts between two to two and a half hours. Some of my colleges offer this option, whilst others prefer a multi-session approach such as two shorter clinic sessions.

I offer two shorter clinical sessions (one and a half hours each), for one package price which includes MP3 download and documentation on tools you can keep for on-going support. Then within a six month period should any unexpected triggers come up related to the smoking, you can claim an additional session at a much reduced price regular session price.

There are so many reasons why people choose to stop the smoking. Hypnotherapy is a safe, gentle way to help people who used to smoke become (and remain), non-smokers. It can be for health reasons, financial reasons or for example in learning how to address stress in your life first and then choosing to take this step to achieve freedom from the smoking habit.

You could contact me to arrange a no obligation/free of charge chat about how I could help you get freedom from smoking that is lasting and for good.


*** The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is the UK regulator for complementary therapists that was set up with government funding and support. All practitioners on CNHC’s register have met national standards.

***Hypnotherapy was proven to be the best method of stopping smoking by a meta analysis of almost 72,000 subjects across USA and Europe conducted at University of Iowa by Viswesvaran & Schmidt (1992), reported in New Scientist (1992 – Volume 136, Issue 1845, Page 6).

The number of Simmons Method trained specialists is growing.  If you would prefer to locate a practitioner closer to your area we also have a referral system… Make contact for more information

To your good health, Maria




Maria Richards, Simmons Method Practitioner