By Makadegwanebiikwe Mille Lacs Descendant, District I Community Member
Imagine yourself quietly lying on your back, relaxing on your yoga mat, eyes closed, hands to your side. You take deep breaths, inhaling then exhaling. You hear a faint voice counting slowly. Three, two, one… And you are completely relaxed.
This is what participants experienced at the Grand Casino Hinckley Convention Center on March 16 — Hypnosis: A Tool for Healthy Living and Weight Loss. This event was sponsored in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health and Mille Lacs Band Public Health.
Colleen McKinney, Coordinator of the SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Partnership) and Tribal Tobacco grants, has been instrumental in providing access to Mille Lacs Band community members through health and wellness events. Colleen teamed up with Kristin Volk Funk, M. ED, CCH, a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and author of “As Thin as you Think.“
According to Funk, hypnosis is a natural state of mind which we routinely enter and exit several times each day. Hypnotic suggestion or guided meditation through a trained practitioner can help you with many life goals that may seem elusive. “In my 35 years teaching, I have never met a more kind and welcoming group than the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe,“ said Kristin. “They have been a true joy to work with.“
Many people have seen hypnosis shows on TV or at the fair, where people are doing off-the-wall movements or mimicking an animal. Hypnotherapy is nothing like that. A clinical hypnotherapist is trained to promote a deep state of relaxation, slowing brainwaves to create a state of hypnosis. Birdie Dunkley from District III said, “This is a lot better than what I expected. I felt relaxed and comfortable while under hypnosis.“
Dan Wind from District I also attended the event and found the guided meditation to be very interesting. “What caught my attention the most was when she talked about being in a trance-like state before sleep or while driving. That is the best time to listen to suggestive CDs or to tell yourself things that you want accomplished.“
At the conclusion of the event, all participants received a guided self-hypnosis CD that they can access and listen to on their own. Virtually anyone who wants to be hypnotized can do so with willingness, the ability to use their imagination, and the motivation for change.
Semira Kimpson from District I said the event was very effective. “During COVID, I lost a lot of motivation to keep on working out and eating healthy, so when I saw this opportunity I couldn’t wait to get started,“ said Semira. “After I finished, I felt like it worked. I’ve changed up my diet, I have been more motivated to exercise, and I feel like it helped me change my mindset. I would definitely go again!“
District III Representative Wally St. John also attended and found it very helpful. “I meditate a lot anyways, but I’m utilizing everything mentioned,“ said Wally.
Watch for more hypnosis events in the future.