Look into her eyes. Look very deeply into her eyes. Are you getting sleepy yet?

Hypnosis might not work quite that easily, but it can help address many sleeping, weight and smoking problems, says Stamford hypnotist Meg Tocantins.

“We go into that subconscious where that little program is, and we change the program,” says Tocantins. She explains her work as helping clients alter bad habits, many of which are health-related. Some are nail-biters. Others want to stop overeating.

“I’ve had a couple of clients needing to lose more than 100 pounds. Quitting smoking, I have an 85 percent success rate.”

She’s received a number of referrals from physicians. “Lately, they’ve all been patients who can’t sleep,” she says.

Relaxation is key for hypnosis to be successful, says Tocantins, a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, Inc. She says changing a habit requires changing one’s internal response to stress associated with the habit. “If someone is coming to me, I explain to them that I don’t actually hypnotize them. They hypnotize themselves.”

Her own experience as a college student sparked her interest in the profession.

“I used to get really, really stressed when I took tests. One of my college professors said, ‘I can help you with that.’ He called it ‘desensitization.’ ” The professor helped Tocantins imagine herself getting closer and closer to taking the test, relaxing her body and remaining calm about the impending exam. It worked.

“Afterwards, I said, ‘Was I hypnotized when you did that desensitization?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ ”

Tocantins doesn’t attempt to surmise whether hypnosis is primarily biological, physiological, psychological or some combination.

“I don’t feel qualified to argue the merits either way,” she said. “But what we really change is your mind. You’ve got the power to do this, I just help you do it.”

Have you ever tried hypnosis? Do you think it is a viable solution to help change unhealthy habits?