Skye Winslow was on a mission to find the right footing for her balance issues.
The long journey had the Carmel resident criss-crossing the U.S. after the removal of a brain tumor in July 2012.
“I got sick really fast. The surgery went well, it was a benign tumor,” Winslow said. “But I had a lot of complications. I gained about 100 pounds in four months from all the steroids. I developed Cushing’s syndrome, so it collapsed my adrenal system. For 5 1/2 years, I traveled the country trying to help me find what would make me better.”
She attended the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and considered becoming a raw food chef in California but learned raw foods weren’t a good fit for her. Then she studied being a personal trainer in Arizona.
“I tried everything to get better,” she said. “I have a wall of (certifications) of these things that didn’t work. I have significant balance issues. I have profound dizziness. It feels like I’m walking on a merry-go-round. I wanted to find a way to talk to that part of my brain that I’m not falling down, quit killing me.”
Nothing worked until she learned hypnosis provided relief, lowering her cortisol levels. Cortisol is a steroid hormone made by adrenal glands.
“I am able to walk without thinking I’m falling,” Winslow said. “I can walk without a walker now.”
Winslow, 57, met her husband, WTTV-4 anchor Bob Donaldson, when they both were working at a TV station in Beaumont, Texas. Winslow was an anchor on PM Magazine in Beaumont, Salt Lake City and Oklahoma City. She was a news anchor for the evening news in Terre Haute and worked as freelance fill-in anchor at both WTHR-13 and Fox 59, but she took several years off to raise their three children, Laura, Sarah and Andrew. She had just returned to work in sales at Fox 59 when the tumor was discovered. Donaldson was previously at Fox 59 from 1991 to 2016.
Winslow spent 500 classroom hours learning from Hypnotherapy Academy of America in New Mexico. From there, she completed a program in Massachusetts for pain management and weight loss.
Now a certified medical support hypnotherapist, she set up Winslow Hypnosis at 1089 3rd Ave SW Suite 110 in Carmel and started treating people for free at first.
“She’s been on an incredible journey,” Donaldson said. “She’s been looking for answers for the vertigo that has not gone away. The fact she was able to find hypnotism was really a godsend for her. I can tell you as someone who has lived with her through this experience, it has made a significant difference in her quality of life. It has improved her ability to function and start a career and the transformation has really been amazing. That’s been her motivation to open this practice and share this knowledge that has been so valuable for her.”
Winslow works with cancer survivors and people who want to lose weight or stop smoking.
“My job is to help you hypnotize yourself so you can achieve what you want to achieve,” she said.
Winslow works with clients to manage stress and trauma as well.
Donaldson said his wife’s hypnosis session helped him through his hip replacement surgery.
“After the surgery, I asked if there was anything unusual about my surgery and they said, ’Yeah, there was one thing that you didn’t bleed very much,’” Donaldson said. “Skye smiled and said that was one of the things we worked on through your hypnosis. We wanted to ease that. So I’m convinced it has a tangible effect on her patients.”
A weighty issue
To assist her desire to lose weight and help others, Skye Winslow has learned the concept of a virtual gastric band. An adjustable gastric band, called a lap-band, is an inflatable silicone device placed around the top portion of the stomach. It’s designed to curb food consumption.
“In hypnosis, we can get you to think this (gastric band surgery) has happened to you,” Winslow said. “First, we get you use to hypnosis. It doesn’t just happen the first time. You go through the whole process, just like you are entering the hospital. You hear the sounds of an operating room and doctors talking. It will smell like you’re in an operating room. Generally, when you come out of hypnosis, you feel like you have the surgery done.”
Winslow learned the process from Sheila Granger, a hypnotherapist from the United Kingdom.
Winslow said Granger’s research shows it has an approximately 95 percent success rate, and after a year 78 percent of people maintain the weight loss. Studies show that gastric band patients maintain an average of 40 to 50 percent of excess weight after the surgery.
Winslow has been doing hypnosis for nearly two years and started virtual gastric in the spring. Gastric band procedures are decreasing compared to other forms, such as gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, because of the costs involved and re-operating to make lap band adjustments. A gastric band can cost on average $15,000. Winslow charges $499 for seven sessions of hypnotherapy.
She has lost 25 pounds using the method on herself. She said her Cushing’s syndrome makes it difficult to lose more.
“The average is five to seven pounds for the first week and two pounds a week after that,” Winslow said. “It’s not a diet. You will cut down eating just because your body understands what you want it to do.”
Carmel resident Carolyn Pasanen, 80, took eight sessions this summer.
“It was easy. I just felt so much better,” Pasanen said. “I lost 25 pounds and I’m still working on it.”
Carmel resident Cynthia Martin lost nearly 15 pounds through the program.
“(Winslow) works with us on more than just the weight loss. She works on pain management,” Martin said. “She works on whatever issues you have, so she is almost like a life coach.”
Her husband, Steve York, lost 22 pounds during the seven weeks.
“I’m from the clean-plate era where I hated to leave anything on my plate,” York said. “Now, I have been and it’s OK.”
Winslow is just glad to see results for her clients.
“I consider this a blessing. What a way to go out with a last career, where you get to help people,” she said.
For more, visit winslowhypnosis.com.