With the majority of physical habits, the underlying causes might be quite varied, and at different psychological levels. Although hypnosis has a wide range of uses, the behaviors that are most directly related to physical habits are typically the ones that can be treated with hypnosis most easily and directly. Hypnosis for smoking cessation is the most commonly recognized of these, and is among the more effective and least invasive techniques for achieving its goal. Another popular area for hypnosis treatment is for weight reduction. Similarly, hypnosis is also the most effective technique for ending a nail biting habit.

The nail biting habit has much in common with smoking. Both are physical, ritualistic habits. Either might be caused by the mechanics of a simple physical routine, or might be indicative of deeper psychological root causes. And in either case the habit itself can be effectively halted with hypnosis.

Discovering and resolving underlying psychological issues, which are exhibited in nail biting or smoking can be a process that necessitates multiple sessions with a knowledgeable hypnotherapist. However, not all hypnotherapists and hypnotists are capable of working at the deep psychological level. Thankfully, for the purposes of eliminating a nail biting or a smoking habit, they are not required to work below the most direct physical level.

The immediate goal of curing the nail biting habit is far more straightforward. Many of our deeper emotional and psychological states are impacted by our physical state, so in treating the physical conditions directly, we can also indirectly impact deeper issues. In addition, not all negative physical habits have underlying causes; sometimes it is merely just a physical habit; it just "feels" good for the individual to take part in them.

In my experience, the focused and relaxed state of hypnosis can have nearly miraculous results when used in causing simple physical state changes. Whenever I eliminate severe burn pain, remove nausea, and solve other physical conditions for a client in just a few seconds, it still surprises and amazes me, even though I'm supposedly the one with the "power" (as we know, the true power exists within the client's unconscious mind). Our minds are capable of blocking out severe nausea and pain; so the ability to prevent one from nail-biting is a modest goal in comparison.

I have found three of the strongest aspects of hypnosis to be anchoring, substitution and association. With association, one can link a negative behavior to something truly unpleasant; with substitution, one may replace the bad habit with an innocuous one; with anchoring, one may link physical movement triggers with alternative feelings and behaviors.

With association, just like the simple hypnosis trick can make a piece of white bread taste like a delectable slice of New York Cheesecake to a subject, one can make the taste and feeling of nail biting to be extremely distasteful. If your subject is repeatedly conditioned that the taste and feel of nail biting is very unpleasant, it will help to cause the habit to cease.

There are chemical products that achieve this goal via unpleasant tasting nail polish. However, with a mental association they can stop nail biting without relying on applying a chemical product. This "aversion" type of therapy generally isn't very helpful. But it is only reliable when used as an adjunct to relieving the stress that causes one to bite their nails, as well as extinguishing conditioned responses (unconscious associations), which triggers one to bite their nails.

Substitution can be used to effectively replace the nail biting behavior with a more benign behavior. For instance, it is very effective to make the suggestion that whenever one feels the urges that lead them towards nail biting, they will take a deep breath instead, and exhale slowly, achieving all the satisfaction and resolution that nail biting used to bring. I have found the deep breathing substitute to be effective and relaxing for a wide variety of ailments.

Anchoring similarly can be used to subvert one action into a different one, and works well with association and substitution techniques. It is useful to create the suggestion that every time subjects see their fingers coming to their mouth, they strongly remember the bad taste association, and they take a deep breath instead to resolve the tension.

In summary, hypnosis has been recognized as one of the more effective techniques for negative behavior modification. Just as with smoking cessation, the concepts and techniques discussed here prove to be very successful as a long-term nail-biting cure.

Author's Bio: 

Alan B. Densky, CH is a well-known leader in the field of hypnosis. Visit his hypnosis site for free hypnosis videos, and advice. He offers an all-inclusive 7-session hypnosis for nail biting program based on NLP and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy.