Science of HPP

The HPP Story

It doesn’t take long to intuitively grasp the essence of an HPP program.  From the moment the music rises gently from the background to the conclusions of the stories, you are gently guided into the “theta” state of consciousness that allows for learning and change. And, the process is fun to use as well. 

After reading the following material and using the HPP series of audio programs in conjunction with the Daily Focus component Lifestyle Intelligence (LQ), you will have all the knowledge you need to improve the quality of your life. 

On the surface, the HPP series is entertaining and whimsical. The entertaining aspects of the process, however, belie its psychological sophistication. In other words, there is a lot more here than “meets the ear.” Without using subliminal messages, the HPP programs present positive suggestions for change. This is accomplished by gently overloading your conscious mind. The actual suggestions are formed by using the words and the phrases from the dual stories. You won’t notice them consciously. These powerful suggestions for change are heard and stored for future use though. Then, at the first possible opportunity, these suggestions will generate spontaneous changes in the areas of your emotional life that need changing. But they do so in subtle ways, respecting both your individuality and your needs. And equally as important, they are an excellent way to manage stress.

In order to manage stress productively, each of us needs to trigger what Dr. Herbert Benson described as the relaxation response. This term refers to the innate capacity of our mind/body to go into a state of profound comfort where breathing and pulse slow, blood pressure drops, and muscles become heavy and relaxed. It is the polar opposite of the stress response. In fact, one might speculate that these two states evolved together as a way of keeping the mind/body balanced and in equilibrium.    

The importance of the relaxation response has increased in recent years as research has uncovered even more about the relationship between mind, body and stress. This relationship has evolved into a medical discipline called psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). Don’t be put off by the length and seeming complexity of the term. Put simply, PNI posits that there is a relationship between how the mind perceives a given event and how that perception affects the immune system. In other words, mastering the relaxation response is another important variable in sustaining health. Now let’s go a bit deeper.

Beta is our normal waking state, the state you are in right now as you read this material. We are focused on the outside world and geared for problem solving. In short, this is our active state. As we slow down and become more relaxed, we begin to produce alpha waves. Our focus shifts from the outside world to internal events. This is the state that is triggered by the relaxation response.  

As we continue to relax even more, we begin producing theta waves and eventually enter the hypnagogic, or “twilight state,” a term coined by psychologist Thomas Budzinski. This state represents the magical space in between waking and sleep. And this is where things really begin to get interesting. It’s often accompanied by dreamlike imagery, sudden insights into a problem, and vivid memories. Moreover, our ability to learn and absorb information is greatly enhanced while in this state. This is where the action is. The last of the four brain wave states is delta. These are the slowest of the waves, and the ones that are most associated with sleep.

All of this research about our brainwaves, emotions and behavior eventually influenced me to develop Hypno-Peripheral Processing (HPP). I discovered that a pleasant overload effect – in this case two stories played at the same time – can gently guide individuals into the twilight state, which is the most receptive state that we have.

I chose Joseph Campbell’s Myth of the Hero as the template for the stories, since it reflects adventure, problem solving and heroics. It has universal appeal. A person experiencing some difficulty in their life is briefly removed from reality as they know it, and goes through some transformative experience, which brings out the best in them, and then returns to everyday life as a changed individual. It’s the kind of storyline that virtually everyone loves. I also took the liberty to embellish this theme by including all kinds of magical characters like wizards, sorcerers, shamans and fortune tellers. These “possessors of wisdom” provide knowledge and support for the protagonist as they complete their journeys toward change.    

As it turns out, the use of this mytho/magical story framework turned out to be a good choice. People loved the storytelling format!

I had somehow tapped into people’s childlike essence, the part that still has a sense of wonder and awe about life. All of us remember how much we enjoyed hearing stories as children. Just hearing the words “once upon a time,” or the theme music from a television show can take us back into that childlike frame of mind, one that is more flexible and open to change. And that’s exactly what the HPP series does. Each HPP program is structured to gently guide you into that state where you are most open to change, and then delivers positive suggestions for altering thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviors.       

The following are the research studies supporting the efficacy of HPP:


I know reading research reports for the non-professional can be boring, so I’m going to keep the technical jargon to a minimum.

In 1990, a company called “The Other 90 Percent,” which is a research organization based in Sausalito, California, began testing products that claimed to enhance human potential. The psychologist who conducted the research was Dr. Julian Isaacs, a faculty member of the Graduate School for the Study of Human Consciousness.

In the search of the most effective treatments for producing altered states of consciousness and methods for administering suggestions, the president of The Other 90 Percent set out to make a rapid assessment of various products. It should be noted that this research organization evaluated several hundred products, including audio and video tapes and mind machines in its first phase, then selected the best twenty products for more controlled testing. The HPP series were part of this group of twenty.

The primary aspect of the research consisted of EEG measurement. In this project, subjects were wired to the EEG while using each of the products. Their brain waves were recorded and analyzed. The following are excerpts from Dr. Isaacs’ paper:

“. . . the result of running twelve subjects through seven different treatments (which included several types of tapes, sound and light machines, etc.) was that as a theta induction treatment, the HPP programs emerged in the top group of 3 treatments. This group was consistently better than the other treatments by a fairly wide margin.”

“. . . Subject preferences regarding the treatments in the research we conducted clearly indicated that the HPP programs were preferred to all other tapes by all but one subject out of approximately thirty who were tested in the various pilot runs conducted.”

“. . . the author feels personally convinced that the HPP programs did produce several strong and robustly consistent positive effects. The staff of The Other 90 Percent, including its President, had networked extensively with other individuals and researchers in the field of psychotechnology. The industry consensus regarding HPP programs is that they are highly effective in promoting beneficial change in their users. This opinion was reinforced by the responses of the subjects in our pilot studies of HPP series’ rescripting effects. They reported consistent improvements in mood state, self esteem, confidence and well-being.”

“In conclusion, the author can unhesitantly recommend HPP programs for their effectiveness, both in getting users to access appropriate states for acceptance of suggestions and in delivering suggestions in ways which appear to produce clear positive outcomes.”


In 1993, Katherine Kilgore, a doctoral candidate at the Professional School of Psychology in San Francisco, California undertook a weight loss study as her doctoral thesis. The HPP weight management program was compared to a straightforward weight loss program and a general relaxation tape. Approximately 144 adult females took part in the research. The following are excerpts from this study:

“. . . Subjects in the HPP group lost a significantly greater percentage of weight than did subjects in the general hypnotic group.”

. . . The average pounds lost by the HPP group during the month was 5.36 pounds compared with 2.84 for the hypnotic group and 3.70 for the relaxation tape.

. . . On the subjective level, the individuals in the HPP group enjoyed more than subjects in either of the other groups as reported to me by Dr. Kilgore.   


Dr. Nathan Wei, an arthroscopic surgeon based in Maryland, purchased a HPP program in the early 1990’s. He personally found the program so relaxing that he began using it with his surgery patients along with a tranquilizing drug during the surgery process. It is extremely important that surgery patients remain as relaxed and stress free as possible to avoid any surgical or post-surgical complications.               

Dr. Wei reported to me that the programs plus the drug helped the patients enter a much more relaxed state than the drug was able to accomplish alone. The combination was so effective that Dr. Wei now routinely uses the HPP programs with his patients. He has now performed hundreds of arthroscopic surgeries this way, the results of which have been reported in articles in The Journal of Rheumatology and the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. Both journals make reference to the HPP programs being used.


Benson, Herbert.  The Mind/Body Effect.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979.

Budzynski, Thomas.  “Biofeedback and the Twilight State of Consciousness.”  In Consciousness and Self Regulation, ed. G.E. Schwartz and D. Shapiro, vol 1 New York: Plenum.  1976. 

Campbell, Joseph, Hero With a Thousand Faces.  New Jersey: Princeton, 1968.

Erickson, Milton.  Advanced Techniques of Hypnosis and Therapy.  USA: Grune and Stratton, 1967.

Friedman, H., and S Boothby-Kewley, “The Disease-Prone Personality; A Meta-Analytic View,” American Psychologist 42 (1987).

Goleman, Daniel, Emotional Intelligence.  New York: Bantom, 1995.

Green, Elmer, and Alyce Green.  Beyond Biofeedback.  New York: Delacorte, 1977.

Hutchison, Michael, Megabrain: New Tools and Techniques for Brain Growth and Mind Expansion, revised ed. New York: Ballantine, 1986, 1991.

Isaacs, Julian.  Reports on Effects Observed with Hypno-Peripheral Processing Tapes.  Unpublished paper.  1990.

Kilgore, Katherine.  The Effect of Subliminal Stimulation on Weight Loss in Women.  Unpublished Dissertation.  The Professional School of Psychology, San Francisco, 1993.