We all know that we have a brain in our heads – but did you know that we have a second brain? And that it’s located in our gut? It’s official name is the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) – but I think Eric is easier to remember, don’t you?

Eric the ENS has at least 100 million neurons, which is about the same as a cat’s brain – and you know how smart cats can be! This brain is not a mass, as the brain in our head: rather it is a sort of mesh, or network, located under the mucosal lining and between the muscular layers of the esophagus, the stomach and the small and large intestines, so it is several metres long.

Eric the ENS is connected to the brain in our head by the Vagus Nerve, that runs from the abdomen to the brain. But if the Vagus Nerve is cut, Eric the ENS continues to function quite happily, controlling and co-ordinating the process of digestion and all that goes with it. In fact, some 90% of all the signals that pass along that Vagus Nerve are messages from Eric to the brain, and not from the brain to Eric – so it could be said that, actually, Eric’s in charge!

Just think for a moment of all the common expressions we use – “I’m gutted”; “it’s a gut reaction” “I can’t stomach it any more”; “I’ve got butterflies in my stomach” – to mention a few. These are all linked to responses from Eric the ENS to our moods and emotions: in fact it is often Eric the ENS who tells the head brain how we are feeling!

What does Eric the ENS do? Quite a lot, actually –

  • it controls the mechanical blending of food in the stomach, and ensures that the pH balance is right at various sections of the system. When we digest food it goes through a process where it is first broken down by an alkaline mix and then by a special acid mix: it is important to keep the two separate and both working as they should.
  • it identifies bad bacteria that may have got into the system via the digestive system (eg in something you have eaten). If the sensors on the gut wall detect something that shouldn’t be there, substances such as histamine are released. This alerts Eric to one of several responses – diarrhea perhaps, or a message up the Vagus Nerve to the head brain, who will trigger vomiting: both designed to get the bad stuff out of the system.
  • it produces as much dopamine (the pleasure and reward molecule) as the head brain.
  • it produces lots of serotonin too. Serotonin is the “feel good” molecule that helps counter depression and regulates sleep. Serotonin that is produced in the ENS passes into the blood stream and helps to repair damaged cells and supports processes such as bone density.

Considerable research is being done on the links between Eric the ENS and not only moods and emotions but also physical conditions. For instance, stress triggers the gut to produce more ghrelin, a hormone that reduces anxiety levels – but it also stimulates feelings of hunger. Hence comfort eating at times of worry and stress – blame it on Ghrelin the Gremlin! And when we have had enough, then PYY comes to the rescue – that’s the chemical that sends the message to the head brain that says, “I’m full.” But that takes the slow route – it can take up to 20 minutes for the brain to get that “I’m full” message, which is why we should eat slowly. Not only does it give Eric and his team time to digest the food in a more efficient way, but it allows time for the PYY to send the full message at the appropriate time, rather than when Eric has been bombarded with a pile of food that has to be sorted through, analysed and sent to the relevant areas for processing!

So next time you have butterflies in your stomach, or you have a gut reaction to something – think of Eric!

If you would like to know more about Eric – or any other aspect of my blend of hypnotherapy, past life regression and soul retrieval work – get in touch.
Call me on 07597 020 512 or email me on: . I’m always happy to have a chat, totally free and totally confidential.

I work from Vinings Natural Health Centre in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, and from The Practice Rooms in Hove, East Sussex.

related content:  weight loss



red apple, inches tape measureExplore why you’re holding onto excess weight – it could be unconscious emotional causes or even past life traumas!

 Learn about the brain in your gut (yes, really!( and how it can influence weight and digestive issues.

Find out more about Hypnotic Gastric Banding – the process, what’s involved, is it for you?

Come and join me for a fascinating morning and learn how hypnotherapy can help take a weight off your mind in more ways than one!


Maximum 10 people, so please book early – £20 per person.
To book or for more information, give me a call –
01444 459 433 or 07597 020 512.


A friend of mine recently sent me a book by Maxwell Maltz MD, FICS, called Psycho Cybernetics. You probably haven’t heard of the man or the book – I certainly hadn’t. The paperback was first published in USA in 1969: the copy I was sent was the 33rd printing and was priced at $1.95!

Maxwell Maltz was an internationally-renowned plastic surgeon. He noticed that, while some of his patients made huge changes to their lives when they had had cosmetic surgery, others didn’t. This led him into what he called Psycho-Cybernetics which, in very simple terms, can be described as “self image psychology”.

Right there in the preface to his book, Maltz says, “When you change a man’s face you almost invariably change his future. Change his physical image and nearly always change the man – his personality, his behavior – and sometimes even his basic talents and abilities.” He realised that if people’s mental and emotional image of themselves did not change in line with their new physical appearance, then there would not be that enormous positive change. However handsome a man may be after plastic surgery to remove a physical defect or serious scars or whatever – if he still thinks of himself as ugly, that is how he will see himself, and his world (and behaviour) will be shaped accordingly

I find exactly the same thing with the work I do with my clients, in fact I expect and encourage positive changes. For instance, I work with people who are seriously obese. Many of them have endured years of being told that they’re fat, lazy, good for nothing, ugly and so on. All of those negatives have a very powerful impact on that individual’s self-esteem, on their very soul.

I work from the inside out. One client of mine was almost in tears when we had our first chat because I focused on the emotional reasons why she was holding on to excess weight rather than telling her to eat less and do more exercise. Several sessions on, this lady understands why she is holding onto her excess weight – and that she no longer needs it. She has dealt with issues of anger and frustration to do with work and family. She has re-discovered her true self, regained her inner confidence and power, and has re-joined her local slimming club knowing she is in absolutely the right frame of mind to make it work. And, of course, it is! She is back in control of her life, her body knows what is expected of it and is responding accordingly.

Maxwell Maltz was absolutely right – the inside has to match the outside. The only difference is, he worked from the outside in, and I work from the inside out!

If you would like to know more, get in touch. Call me on 07597 020 512 or email me on: . I’m always happy to have a chat, totally free and totally confidential.

I work from Vinings Natural Health Centre in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, and from The Practice Rooms in Hove, East Sussex.

 related content:  weight loss


Slimming is big business – it’s worth some £2 billion per year in books, DVDs, diet plans and special foods.

And on average, we each spend some £25,000 on trying to lose weight in a lifetime. That’s a lot of money – and all the research and evidence points to the fact that yo-yo diets and faddy foods just don’t work.

It’s confusing, isn’t it? Are fats good? Are sugars bad? Is fruit healthy or not? Can I give up carbs or protein? Is this latest diet the answer to all your problems?

I am not a nutritionist or a doctor, I tend to come at the issue of people holding on to weight from a totally different angle. I help the client to discover why he or she is really holding on to that excess weight. Very often there are emotional causes that can go back years, to childhood or even to a past life. Extreme though it may seem, it is not unusual to find people who have starved to death in a previous life and who promise themselves they will never go hungry again. It doesn’t have to be that dramatic, of course, it could be that the client was punished or rewarded by food as a child, and this behaviour continues into adult life.

Tackling the emotional root causes can often trigger reactions at mental, emotional and physical levels of the body, and then the healing process can begin.

Even if we don’t go all the way to a hypnotic gastric band, the process of getting things – literally – out of the system is invariably beneficial.

Forget about the D-word – “diet” – go for the L-word – “Lifestyle”. It’s far cheaper, healthier and better for your overall wellbeing.

If you or someone you know could benefit from releasing that excess weight, get in touch. Call me on 07597 020 512 or email me on: . I’m always happy to have a chat, totally free and totally confidential.

I work from Vinings Natural Health Centre in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, and from The Practice Rooms in Hove, East Sussex.

related content:  weight loss


Sunday 16th February
Vinings Natural Health Centre
Church Road, Haywards Heath  RH16 3UF
10am – 1pm                         £20
Info & booking:  Judy Sharp
07597 020 512 or

Sunday 16th February – yes, that’s the Valentine Weekend, so I felt it was most appropriate to invite you to spend a few hours focusing on someone very special: YOU!

This is a half-day Workshop that will look at three main areas:

1.    The emotional reasons why people hold onto weight. We will look at some of the most common reasons why we pile on the pounds – to stop us getting hurt again, as a measure of protection, to honour the lost baby . . .  and discuss ways of dealing with those issues if they are no longer relevant in our lives.

2.   The brain in your gut – yes, really! I will introduce you to a powerful new ally, the brain in your gut. It has more than 100 million brain cells and can have a very profound effect on various eating and digestive disorders. It also sends the all-important “I’m full” message to the brain in your head, so monitoring your food intake.

3.    What is a Hypnotic Gastric Band? How does it work? We will look at how a gastric band works to reduce the size of the stomach, how this is done with Bariatric Surgery and how a Hypnotic Gastric Band is a safe, non-surgical alternative.

This will be a fun, informative morning to help you discover just what it is that’s weighing you down – and what you can do about it!  Email me or give me a call if you would like to come along – I look forward to seeing you there!


Hypnotic Gastric Banding is a relatively new procedure, a safe, non-surgical alternative that is becoming increasingly popular among those who want or need to avoid the surgeon’s knife.  Celebrity hypnotherapist Paul McKenna has recently published a book complete with CD and DVD so that people can perform their own “DIY” hypnotic gastric band operation.

I have enormous respect for Paul McKenna: I still have a dog-eared copy of his 1993 book “The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna” with its sparkly silver front cover and a photo of a much younger-lloking man (with hair!). His Hypnotic Gastric Band book is easy to read and contains lots of useful, practical information. But what it doesn’t cover – because no DIY book can – is the emotional root causes of obesity. Why do people hold onto excess weight? Why don’t diets work? Why is it that, even when someone does exactly what their personal trainer tells them in the gym, and eats just the right food in tiny amounts, the weight refuses to shift? I would suggest it’s because at some deep, unconscious level, there are unresolved issues, traumas that have not been got over, that person is not “whole”. That’s why my work with obese people starts from that angle – I work from the inside out, not from the outside in.

It is great news that someone with the profile of Paul McKenna has published a book about Hypnotic Gastric Banding. In it he says, “A hypnotic gastric band is simply the most powerful way to launch you into a lifetime of healthy eating and maintaining a thin, healthy body.”

I would take issue with him on the use of the words “thin” and “healthy” together there – do I hear the voice of his publisher in the background? Thin doesn’t always equal healthy and vice versa, and to me the goal should definitely be “healthy” rather than running after this modern Holy Grail of being thin.

Other than that, I agree that a hypnotic gastric band is very powerful, and can change your life. But only if you have successfully dealt with the underlying emotional issues too.



This week, 13th to 19th January, is National Obesity Awareness Week and the goal is to help people better understand obesity and the simple ways in which it can be tackled. Research indicates that, by 2050, half the population of the UK will be obese, and that this will be costing some £50 billion a year in health care and related expenses.

For many people, trying to tackle obesity takes them down the road of various NHS programmes covering nutrition and exercise, and ends with the possibility of Bariatric Surgery – a gastric band or a gastric by-pass operation. This is a Catch-22 situation. The people who need those operations are, by definition, obese and carrying a lot of excess fat. That makes it difficult, if not downright dangerous, for doctors to perform the operation because of the strain on the heart.

It is very sad that we even have to have a National Obesity Awareness Week, but I applaud the initiative and its goals to make people more aware of the dangers of obesity and to put them on the right track with sensible advice regarding nutrition and exercise. With a typical modern high so high in fats, salt and sugar, and so much time spent sat in front of one type of screen or another, it is not hard to see at least some of the obvious reasons for the problem.

I often work with clients who are anything from overweight to seriously obese: some have been refused Bariatric Surgery and have come to me to discuss the possibility of a Hypnotic Gastric Band. In my experience, these people have been told they are fat, and lazy; that they eat to much and exercise too little; that they are costing the NHS a fortune and it’s all their fault.

When someone like this comes to see me I start from a very different perspective. I want to hear their story, I want to know about them as people. Together, using deep relaxation and by talking to the client’s unconscious, we explore and uncover the real root reasons why he or she is holding on to that excess weight. We re-integrate the parts of that client that have been “lost” or “abandoned” in times of trauma, to make the client “whole”. And we talk to various parts of the body to establish what is really going on, and how best to improve the overall wellbeing of the client. If, at the end of that, the client and I agree that a Hypnotic Gastric Band would be the final, finishing touch, then we do that: it is a safe, non-intrusive alternative to Bariatric Surgery and the results are enhanced by the fact that those original emotional reasons for holding onto the fat have been dealt with. Job done.

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I see numbers of clients who are clinically obese. Some have been refused surgical gastric bands because the operation is too risky on their hard-working hearts. Typically they will turn to Hypnotic Gastric Banding as an option, not knowing much about it but thinking it’s worth a try, as with this particular client.

When we met for an initial chat, she told me her story, which inevitably involved some traumas and sadness as well as some happiness. It became clear to me as she spoke that the traumas she had endured were still with her. I talked to her about the emotional reasons we hold on to weight. It might be because, when we were younger we were slim and attractive and had attracted a man who hurt us, physically or emotionally. Not wanting to get hurt again, we resolved at an unconscious level not to be so attractive, and so we pile on the pounds, thinking this will put men off.
Or perhaps the fat was a layer of protection against abuse or bullying. In some cases it might even be mourning for a child that was stillborn or that died very soon after birth; or even a pregnancy that was terminated and regretted.

The client looked at me in disbelief and then joy. Nobody had ever talked to her in those terms before, she told me. All she had ever heard was that she was fat, she must be lazy, eating too much, not doing enough exercise, she was just written off.
We agreed we could work together. These are full two-hour sessions and they are emotionally draining for her, but the changes are clear. We have “brought home” all those elements of her soul left behind at the times of her various traumas and she has talked with various parts of her body, including her excess weight. She tells me her confidence and self-esteem have gone through the roof and that, for the first time, she feels in control of her life. She just knows that, deep down, changes are taking place, and that these are positive, undoing all the negative messages and damage of the past, and paving the way for physical weight loss.

The work continues.  She has new insights and a totally different perspective on how this type of healing works – and it certainly is working for her!
The withdrawn, embarrassed lady whose head hung down is now blossoming into a confident, smiling lady with head held high.

Will she need a Hypnotic Gastric Band? Let’s see how efficiently the body can rid itself of the excess weight (which said it had done its job and was willing to go!). If she does decide to go ahead, she will do so in a much more positive frame of mind, knowing that she is far more in touch with every level of her being.

The body has enormous resources and wants to be healthy. When we trace the root causes of an issue, when we enter into a dialogue with the unconscious and let it guide us, then the healing process can – and does – begin.

If you or someone you know might benefit from shedding that excess weight, get in touch. Call me on 07597 020 512 or email me on: . I’m always happy to have a chat, totally free and totally confidential.

I work from Vinings Natural Health Centre in Haywards Heath, West Sussex and from The Practice Rooms in Hove, East Sussex.

 related content:  weight loss