How would you react if someone you worked with suddenly told you one day that he could talk' to any part of your body in order to get you well again?

Would you believe implicitly in what he said? Then, summit yourself to his methods. Or would you just laugh and dismiss his comment as fantasy?

Well in the spring of 1979, a conversation of this kind did take place between two British Steel Corporation managers who worked in Scotland and the outcome has been quite astonishing.

Before going any further let us get to know something about the characters in this true-life story. One of wishes to remain anonymous. Therefore, for the sake of this article, we shall call him John.

John, aged 60, had been suffering from a circulatory problem in his legs for some time and, in April 1978, underwent an operation in hospital, which he hoped would relieve his condition. Although well enough to go on holiday that June, he was still unable to walk more than a few hundred yards at a time without feeling pain and tiredness.

Now enters the second character in our story, Ted Aylward who is a Member of the Institute and is Work Study Manager (Scottish area), of British Steel Tubes Division based at Clydesdale Works.

For the past 25 years Essex-born Ted has both studied and practised hypnosis. John knew this, and went to see Ted; not to discuss his circulation problem - but ask his help to stop smoking. John smokes about ten cigarettes each day. His medical consultant had suggested that, if John gave up smoking it would not only help his general health but would improve his circulation.

Naturally enough, the conversation between the two men included John's illness, and Ted, who believes strongly in the use of hypnosis as a medical aid; asked John if he could treat him for his condition.

John agreed, and weekly consultations began in April 1979. The result was that John went on the same holiday again in June and was able to walk four miles without feeling pain.

John's reaction - 'Bearing in mind that I am 60 years old and, even under normal conditions, I am not as fit as I was, I am quite happy with the progress I have made as a result of Ted's treatment. I think it is all a case of mind over matter. During sessions with Ted, I am fully aware of what is going on around me although I have been hypnotised. It is my subconscious that is taking in the information being fed to it by Ted. Later, when I begin to feel tired or feel pain in my legs I am then able to draw on this information, which then relaxes me completely, and I feel quite fit again'.

Nevertheless, what does John really feel about being treated by a hypnotist?

'All I know is that it seems to work where my hospital operation seemed to fail and, although I am not able to walk those four miles quickly I am able to cover the ground at a leisurely pace. This is something I just couldn't do two years ago.'

Ted's explanation 'I use both hypnotherapy and naturotherapy for John. His main problem is physical tension that causes a loss of circulation of the blood to his legs. I have used hypnosis to relieve the tension and also to condition the body to produce the necessary secretions for healing his body tissues. Naturotherapy assumes that the body has an inside force which, if upset, can be the cause of physical irregularities. What I do in using naturotherapy is to try to restore the correct energy balance.

'With John, I put his conscious mind in a suspended state while I 'talk to' his subconscious. I believe the body can produce all the necessary chemical secretions to maintain good health and by being able to 'talk' to John's circulatory system I am able to improve his health'.

By his own admission Ted Aylward is a 'bit of Jekle & Hyde character. He has been in management services for the last 13 years where his main interest has been the use of the computer. He has lectured extensively on computing for the institute's Diploma course and in 1977 was co-author of the Institute's monograph - Computer Time-Sharing. Outside of work however; his love of hypnosis inevitably makes him a man of mystery.

Speaking to him, he comes over as someone who is ready to use his knowledge of hypnosis to create all kinds of fascinating and entertaining situations. Nevertheless, he is very aware of the dangers involved, and will go to great lengths to guard against them.

Ted's interest in hypnosis began in the early 1950s when he was in the RAF. 'I bought a book for 7/6d entitled 'Hypnosis and how to do it' explains Ted, 'but at first I wasn't very successful'. However, with the help of some of his mates Ted was soon carrying out various experiments and by the time he left the RAF he had become quite advanced in the subject. At the time, he was avidly reading between two and five books on hypnosis each week. Over a period of eight years, he read more than 800 books.

On leaving the RAF, Ted became interested in using his knowledge for medical purposes through hypnotherapy and naturotherapy.

Although Ted's real interest in hypnosis has been medical, during the past two years he has been steadily building up a stage act billing himself as 'Ki Vinca - the man with the mysterious name'. He has played to audiences in local clubs, and is always willing to give charity shows.

 At the opening of a bowling club in nearby Bellshill recently Ted was invited to put on his show that can last from 11/2 to 2 hours.

Ted placed a bag of "loot" over the counter prior to the act.

Two of the people he hypnotised were young women.

Equipping the girls with masks and toy guns, Ted hypnotised both of the girls and told them that they badly needed money, and that they should hold up the barman and take the "loot" from over the counter and make their escape.

Before the eyes of the audience, this is exactly what happened. (picture left).

The pair "shot" the barman when Ted suggested that they use their guns.

They even escaped from the hall and had to be "captured"!

Over the years, Ted has developed over 40 routines that he incorporates in his stage show.

For instance, he can hypnotise a person and lay them horizontally with their head and feet supported without any apparent support to their back. By hypnosis, he can convince his subject the room is very hot or cold, there are swarms of flies about, their drinks are bad and should be returned to the bar and even that they are five years of age again - all of which have some hilarious results.

Nevertheless, there are dangers, and Ted knows them only too well. That is why, through this article he wants to destroy the popular fears and distrust surrounding hypnotists which are generally held by the public at large.

'Before my act I give a talk on hypnosis and explain the dangers. I also explain that stage hypnosis bears little resemblance to clinical hypnosis. During the show, I get the subjects to do acts that they would not normally do. This demonstrates to the audience that hypnosis can be used by unscrupulous people to persuade subjects to carry out illegal acts.'

At the end of my act, I condition those who have helped me on stage that at no time can they be hypnotised either by me or by anyone else other than for medical reasons. There are dangers involved when someone is in a hypnotic state because they are very vulnerable and those using hypnosis must not only be aware of these dangers, but be competent enough to cope with any situation which might arise. I strongly advise all that read this article not to experiment with hypnosis or allow themselves to be used for experiments.

'But I do hope to encourage a balanced view of the subject, especially when it comes to the use of hypnosis for medical purposes. I don't claim that hypnosis is a cure-all, but I do believe very sincerely that hypnosis should be used to a greater degree than at present when it comes to offering medical help'.

At the end of February, Ted hopes to combine his two main interests. He has decided to give up his job at British Steel and go into full time practice as a hynotherapist. However, his experience in management services will not be forgotten. He will be putting all his accounting procedures, appointments and patient records on computer and will be developing hypnosis induction techniques using a VDU!