Hypnotherapy is often associated with telly mesmerists. The likes of Derren Brown and Paul McKenna before him, have levied their success on tricks of the mind, and body. But there's more to this realm than making people believe they're a chicken or temporarily wiping their memory.

It's become an increasingly sought-after practice in the wellbeing arena, with a reported one in 18 people globally believed to have turned to the technique for anything from quitting smoking, to losing weight or, more increasingly, managing the pain of childbirth.

Ipswich mum Rachael Tearle describes the birth of her first child as a "horrible experience", and says she was "terrified" after discovering she was pregnant with baby number two just weeks after the traumatic delivery.

At her wits' end at 23 weeks she decided to try hypnobirthing with Nina Parnham, founder of the Suffolk Woman's Wellness Centre in Washbrook. And Rachael's the first to admit she was cynical about how it could possibly help.

“When I was expecting my first, I didn’t think hypnobirthing would have many benefits. I was dubious, and thought it was going to be one of things that was going to be a waste of time and effort.”

After attending Nina’s classes with her partner, her fears soon disappeared.

“She talked us through and explained all of the techniques before we practised, and we gave it a go ourselves at home. By the time you need to use it, you’re so used to it.”

Eleven months after the trauma of birthing baby number one, Rachael felt more ready and confident than ever when she was admitted to the maternity ward for a second time.

“It was so much better than my first birth. I was that person who was distraught at the beginning thinking I couldn’t do it, but by the end I was excited to give birth and put it all into action. With my first birth, I was going back and forth between the hospital, not progressing, and having morphine to get me through. But with this birth, I didn’t take any painkillers. When my sister visited me, I was chatting to her and she said she didn’t know I was having contractions. I was very chill and just carrying on.”

The techniques that Nina taught Rachael reminded her she was in control of her body, and that it’s one of the most natural things in the world.

“It’s amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone. I wanted a simple birth, and that’s what I got,” she says.

Nina has found herself helping an increasing number of mums-to-be on their birthing journey and beyond since founding her business in 2005.

She says she's always had an interest in wellbeing, and has dedicated her career to making women feel as comfortable as possible since becoming a midwife in 1999.

“Once I qualified, I went on to work in London as a community midwife to consolidate all of my learning before coming back to Suffolk three years later,” she explains.

“But I felt that within my role and the NHS, there were constraints in my time and what I could offer, and I knew that women would benefit from additional support.

“I wanted to go down the holistic route as it’s more integrated in terms of how you look at someone,” she says.

Her range of treatments includes Mizan therapy (a type of fertility massage), fertility reflexology, relaxation treatments, and hypnobirthing.

Hypnobirthing has become one of her most popular services, as more women seek natural alternatives for pain management in the delivery room. The programme teaches simple but specific relaxation, breathing and self-hypnosis techniques, aimed at creating a better birth experience.

“Essentially, it is both physical and mental preparation for birth. I always say to couples that as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, you’ve already started that journey to labour. Labour will always be in your head, and everything you’ve ever heard about labour, whether that’s good or bad, is going to be in your conscious mind.

“A lot of what we hear about childbirth can be negative or hyped up, and women can take that as their experience, but we’re changing any negative thoughts and projection about birth, bringing about the suggestion that it will be positive, therefore gaining confidence in preparation.

“Hypnobirthing is all about encouraging the right hormones for effective birthing, such as deep relaxation, learning the right breathing techniques, and encouraging the use of positive language to give the best birthing experience possible.”

“Mums tend to start hypnobirthing courses from about 26 weeks. I offer a course where you do two hours a week for four weeks. So between week 26 and week 30, you’ve got all the practical and mental knowledge you need. Using those tools from the last trimester, you’re building upon that knowledge so both you’re mind and body ready.”

As well as breathing exercises, women are taught how to release any fears they may have about childbirth, confidence when it comes to approaching medical staff with questions and requests, and how to bring about their own labour with simple, natural techniques if pregnancy goes over the due date.

“Hypnobirthing is suitable for everyone who is open to the suggestion that their birth can be whatever they want it to be. Whether she’s had a baby before and it was a traumatic birth, or she wants to make that experience different this time, then hypnobirthing is ideal for that.

“You’re going to have a calmer, more relaxed and comfortable birth, whether it’s a vaginal or operative birth. It's all about feeling in control.”

“I often think, especially when it comes to health, women’s fears and feelings aren’t validated. And just hearing them is one of the biggest things, making them feel important and giving them the time and space to heal. Women have realised there are options available, and I hope I can continue to work with women in such a bespoke way, offering services to help support them at any life stage,” adds Nina.

To find out more about hypnobirthing, and the work Nina does, visit ninaparnham.com