Doctor doctor: losing weight by hypnosis and a creaky neck

I read a story that a hypnotherapist convinced a client that she had a gastric band, which curbed her appetite, inducing weight loss. Is this true, and what are the dangers?
A colleague who uses hypnosis in her practice tells me this case hasn't been reported in medical journals, which makes it hard to judge, but in theory it is possible. Bear in mind, though, that we vary widely in our reaction to hypnosis, from the unsusceptible to the highly responsive. And there are drawbacks. For example, strange as it may seem, you could develop the unwanted symptoms produced by gastric banding, and even suffer some of the complications, despite not having a band in place. The brain isn't simple in its responses to hypnosis, which is why my colleague recommends that no one should undertake this lightly, and that you should use only a fully qualified clinical hypnotherapist. For more information about hypnosis, get in touch with the National Office of the British Society for Clinical and Academic Hypnosis (0844 884 3116).

I'm 16 and for about a month I've had problems with my neck. It began with a crackling sound around the ear when I turned my head to the left. My GP looked inside my ear and said it was fine, but my neck still creaks. What can I do?
Please stop worrying. Most necks creak when their "owners" turn their heads. This is just a noise that's made as the top two vertebrae (spinal bones) in the neck move relative to the base of the skull above and to the vertebrae below them. You are simply more sensitive to the noises since you noticed them for the first time. As you get used to them, you will notice them less and less. Anxiety about them makes you more aware of them. They are not related to arthritis or to degeneration. As proof of that, many years ago radiologists tried to relate creaky necks to x-ray appearances of disease of the vertebral joints – they couldn't. There were people with noisy necks and no sign of disease, and others with a lot of disease and silent necks. Try to look upon your creaks as similar to cracking knuckles, and then forget all about them.

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