I Must I Must Increase My Bust

In what has to be the most tabloid-pleasing news story I’ve seen in a while, as part of the BBC show Inside Out I recently featured it emerged that a North Eastern hypnotherapist and stage hypnotist is making claims at being able to help women enlarge their bra size by two cups using his special hypnosis CD. In the special investigation by the BBC team, stage entertainer David Knight claimed that by listening to his range of CDs he can help with all manner of problems – including overcoming alcoholism, improving your golf swing, attracting wealth and success, overcoming hay-fever, irritable bowel syndrome and – yes – breast enlargement.

As his website tells us:

“As you start reading this amazing report on hypnotic breast enhancement, you will discover the amazing power of the mind and how this can be used to enlarge your bust quickly, safely and totally naturally! If you have ever wished that your breasts were, larger, firmer or more attractive and beautiful in shape or touch then this information is for you. Right now you may be feeling than you wish you could increase the size of your breasts quickly and naturally without the need for expensive surgery” – Source: www.tosleep.co.uk

He goes on in that vein, and it’s worth pointing out that in a page of around 2000 words he uses 63 exclamation marks, and only 97 full stops. Sometimes, punctuation alone can alert you to the fact that what you’re reading is bullshit.

Still, apparently there’s some science behind it, as the site attests:

“The absolute fact about hypnosis is that not only is it capable of increasing your bust size it will instruct your busts to grown healthy and perfectly shaped! Studies will soon prove that hypnosis is the fastest and safest way for perfect breast enlargement.”

Ah, so the studies are coming soon? I look forward to reading the methodology and blinding processes, in that case. In fact, the article/sales pitch itself contains a brief synopsis of the studies:

“The British Academy of Hypnosis has recently studied The possibility of hypnosis on natural breast enlargements and found startling results with the majority of women receiving remarkable results! The Journal of Sex Research [I believe that’s a pretty respectable journal] reports of an interesting experiment in which the power of suggestion was used to increase the bust size of a group of women. Nineteen women were used for the breast increase experiment. [Obviously 19 is a good enough sample size. Although I suppose each woman had two breasts, so technically that’s 38 boobs involved in the study]. The women were divided up into three groups”

  1. Phase one control group consisted of 3 women who received no hypnosis.
  2. Phase one experimental group consisted of 3 women who received hypnosis for bust enlargement once a week for twelve weeks.
  3. Phase two group consisted of the remaining 13 women. These women received no hypnosis for the first three weeks, and then all women received hypnosis once a week for twelve weeks.

So, to be clear, that’s a control group of 3 women (6 breasts, presumably), and then two barely-different groups of women totalling 16 women who are subject to the wonder-bust CD. No detail on whether the control group also received a placebo CD of ineffective hypnotheraputic breast enlargement. Perhaps an tape of the old mantra ‘I must I must increase my bust…’ Still, let’s take a look at the results:

“The results were astounding!

As expected, there was “no change” in the bust size of any of the subjects in the control group. [He’s right, that’s exactly what I expected]. The women in phase two experienced “no change” in their bust size for the first three weeks in which no hypnosis was used. However, every one of the subjects in the phase one experimental group and all of the women in phase two experienced significant increases in their breast measurements during the twelve weeks of hypnosis. The average increase was almost 2 inches!”

Wow, two whole inches? That’s genuinely quite impressive. I can’t wait until they show us the evidence that proves they’re not just plucking these facts and figures right out of the air…

“The doctor that conducted the experiments said, “hypnosis for breast growth was effective in stimulating breast growth. Further investigation may show this to be a satisfactory alternative method to surgical breast augmentation.” Dr. James Williams”

Ah, so it’s James Williams, is it? James E. Williams, publisher of the 1974 study in the Journal of Sex Research? The very same James E. Williams that doesn’t appear in the Pub Med archives for the Journal of Sex Research, but does appear all over an awful lot of other hypnotic bust-enhancement quackery sites similar to David Knight’s? I’m not saying the study doesn’t exist, I’m just saying if it’s so ground-breaking, and yet over 35 years old, one full report on the findings ought to exist. Suspicious.

So, how does it work? Well, let’s see what David has to say:

“The boobs go through a period during puberty in which they change dramatically. The same process can be reinstated at any time in a woman’s life by using hypnosis”

Interesting stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. Sheer preposterous nonsense, too. So, David, how does hypnosis reinstate the puberty period? What are the mechanisms involved?

“The determining factors appear to be desire and belief. Hypnosis guides your mind into recreating the physical process, your body simply follows along because that is what it is designed to do. Your mind and body are totally linked.”

Ohhhh I see! You just believe hard enough and your boobs will grow. Excellent.

David, who makes the strange claim to be the THE WORLDS FASTEST STAGE HYPNOTIST (whatever that means), doesn’t stop at boob jobs and hay-fever – he offers a whole range of services including past life regression (obviously), boosting the immune system (which as we all know means nothing at all) and ‘general well being’. And all this from a website on which every single page has the title ‘David Knight – Comedy Stage Hypnotist’. Because that’s what you real want from a man dispensing health advice.

As I hinted earlier, there are other wonderful medical claims on David’s website, such as the woo-tastically-titled ‘Quantum Pain Therapy’.

“If you are a professional Hypnotherapist and would like to learn the power of being able to switch off pain any time any where then this is the course for you. Learning the ultimate power of pain relief will become a massive part of your business as you help people become pain free. You can Learn Quantum Pain Therapy for surgical operations, for dental practices or nursing, for helping the elderly or care work. Helping in third world countries or dealing with sports injuries, aches and pains of almost any kind”

Third world countries? Surgical operations? Just to re-iterate, this man is a stage hypnotist.

“Quantum Pain Therapy will allow major surgery without any form of anaesthetic. using the power of Quantum Pain Therapy the patient will be awake during the entire operation. No form of drugs or anaesthetic of any kind will be used. Removing the dangers of anaesthetic means the Therapy is suitable for the weak and elderly without the dangers normally associated with anaesthetic. The relaxed state of the patient means less blood loss and improved the healing of the wound. Through out history hypnosis has been a successful alternative to anaesthetic. Now you can learn it’s secrets.”

Yikes. I really don’t need to go into why telling people hypnotism is a good replacement for anaesthesia is a bad idea, I’m sure. So, instead, I’ll do what the rest of the media have done, and focus not on the dangerous stuff but on the boobs bit…

Mr Knight, who hails from Northallerton in the North East (barely a stone’s through from the birthplace of your’s truly, I may add), quotes an 85 per cent success rate for his boob-jobbery, based on customer feedback (rather than, say, data and statistics and proof and evidence). He’s also so confident of the technique that he offers a money-back guarantee. He said:

“Every lady’s breasts have been grown by the mind. The mind grows it, so the mind can enhance it. Fact.”

Excellent logic. Except for all the bits that aren’t excellent logic. Like, for example, the fact that the mind doesn’t grow the breasts, obviously. Or the fact that the mind can’t just will parts of the physical form to change – a lot of people would be very happy if it was possible to make parts of the body grow or shrink with the power of thought, but I’m afraid it’s not happening. Not me, by the way. Really. so, by ‘Fact’, David actually means ‘I’m just making this up, now’. Cheers Dave.

When his quackery was exposed by the BBC North East team, David told The Sun (who else?):

“They could’ve tried it before saying it categorically didn’t work.”

They could’ve. But here’s a zany idea, David – how about we don’t individually try things out until we know they actually work? And I mean know as in ‘proven in peer-reviewed studies’ rather than ‘hinted to in mysterious 35 year old non-respected journals with no results available’. Because that’s how medicine works. Fact.

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  1. #1 by Ptah on October 23, 2009 - 10:44

    I hereby invite all women participating in the program to participate in a test. I will verify the increase in breast size through manual measurement.

  2. #2 by Gittins on October 23, 2009 - 14:15

    Any article that uses both of the words “quantum” and “boob-jobbery” gets my seal of approval.

    I wonder if I can be hypnosis can give me a flat stomache, or just an empty wallet?

  3. #3 by Leigh on July 11, 2011 - 19:35

    I’m using the breast enlargement CD’s from David Knight and after 4 weeks I’m already seeing a noticable difference in shape. I’m assured after 3 months I will see a difference in size, and because of changes I’ve seen, with my own eyes, on my body, I believe I will grow. I’ll bookmark this site, and after 3 months I’ll let you know how its going either way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for debunking myths, but in this case I would recommend trying it before saying it doesn’t work, or at least talking to some one who has tried it and can tell you how it went. I would offer before and after pictures as further proof but I’m not keen on having strangers see that much of me.

  4. #4 by Leigh on July 23, 2011 - 22:43

    So, it hasn’t been 3 months yet, it’s been 6 weeks and I am almost an inch bigger. I just know some one will be thinking it’s due to weight gain. I’ve gained a pound in 5 months – I don’t think that’s enough to add an inch round my bust.

  5. #5 by Leigh on July 24, 2011 - 22:07

    And I’m infertile… so the extra inch isn’t due to pregnancy.

  6. #6 by Mike on July 24, 2011 - 23:55

    It’s all very interesting Leigh, but frankly doesn’t prove a thing.

  7. #7 by Leigh on July 26, 2011 - 14:38

    Well no, to other people on the internet who have never seen me before or after, it doesn’t prove a thing, but to me it is proof.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to prove anything. I’m not interesting in changing skeptics minds, thats as difficult as convincing a believer that they’re wrong. I just think this was written with a closed mind – not because she doesn’t believe it works but because she did no research. She hasn’t mentioned speaking to some one who used the programme, hasn’t tried it herself. All I want her to do in future is research with an open mind, which to me means getting actual evidence and accepting it which ever way it points. Not ignoring the evidence that doesn’t fit with her preconceptions.

  8. #8 by Marsh on July 26, 2011 - 14:58

    I’m not sure it’s fair to say it was written with a closed mind – it was written with a mind open to possibilities, willing to be convinced if evidence were convincing. But given that there appear to be no studies to back this up save for the 1974 study, and given that the sample size is very small, the study is uncontrolled and the mechanism is patently not true (the mind doesn’t switch puberty on and off at will, that’s not how puberty works even the first time), the evidence simply isn’t convincing. Show me good examples of effective results, or a plausible mechanism, and I’d be interested in potentially accepting it.

    As for background research, as it happens I’ve looked a reasonable amount into the techniques of hypnotism and hypnotherapy, and their limitations. Hypnotherapy can be effective at helping a patient effect a change in outlook, perception of certain factors and situations, and at giving a patient techniques to deal with some issues that arise. Hypnotherapy might be an effective tool in helping people accept their bodies as they are – that would be a claim I’d be open to accepting, as the mechanism is clear and the results plausible. But hypnotherapy is not able to effect physical changes – which means no hypnotic cures for baldness, no hypnotism to regrow limbs, and no breast-enlargement hypnotism. The human body, sadly, just doesn’t work that way.

    A quick footnote on background research, too – the author is a he, not a she. A small point, but given your insistence on the importance of background research before commenting, one worth making.


  9. #9 by Leigh on July 26, 2011 - 15:11

    Marsh – yeah that was hypocritical of me. I just saw a picture of a woman at the top of the article, and assumed she was the author. Apologies!
    I’ll say before anyone else can, I’m not the brightest star in the sky, I have no idea how most things work and not much luck in trying to understand how things work. So I asked other people if it worked for them and I tried and found out for myself. It did work. So, now i believe hypnotherapy can grow my breasts, not becuase I understood how it would work but because I got results.
    I will admit it may not be because of the hypnosis, if you will admit it may be. I think it was because of the hypnosis because I don’t know what else it could be. Like I said, I’ve not gained any weight, I’m not pregnant, I’m using the same tape measure every time I make a measurement, always with a deep breath in because breathing can increase a measurement by 2 inches. I can’t think of anything else that might cause an inch of growth.
    Too me it makes sense to think hypnotherapy won’t regrow a limb, because the human body isn’t capable of growing limbs. It is capable of producing fat cells though, or we wouldn’t gain weight.

  10. #10 by Morgana on November 13, 2011 - 04:04

    *sighs* There’s nothing quite like the ignorance of mob mentality, is there?

    You want science?

    Take yourselves off to read the British Medical Journal of 1952 and do take particular note of Dr Albert Mason’s work using nothing but hypnosis upon a teenage lad who’s body was covered in a most painful, ‘incurable’, ‘congenital’ skin ichthyosis.

    Then go tell him and his healed patient that it didn’t happen. *refrains from adding exclamation point*

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