Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Interesting information on treatment of IBS with Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy for IBS published from a Health article in the Health Telegraph

An investigation into unconventional treatment for reducing gut sensitivity
Between five and eight million people in the UK suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and many can find no treatment that brings relief. Although the condition is often regarded as minor, the symptoms - including diarrhoea, pain and bloating - can seriously affect quality of life. This month, the journal Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin suggested that hypnotherapy may be worth a try for people with severe symptoms that do not respond to conventional treatment.

What exactly happens?
Forget those stage hypnotists who return their powerless subjects to childhood. During gut-directed hypnosis the therapist is interested in the colon and nothing else. A course usually consists of 12 one-hour sessions during which a hypnotic state is induced. Patients are given an explanation of how the gut works and what causes their symptoms, and then learn to influence and gain control of their gut function. They are sometimes given a CD so they can practise self-hypnosis at home.
Does this mean IBS is all in the mind?
"We do not think IBS is a psychological disorder, nor do we think this is a psychological treatment," says Peter Whorwell, professor of medicine and gastroenterology at Manchester University, who runs one of the few NHS clinics offering gut-directed hypnotherapy. "IBS is made worse by stress but it is not caused by stress. We don't know exactly how gut-directed hypnotherapy works, but it may change the way the brain modulates gut activity." Laboratory tests have shown that under hypnosis, gut sensitivity is reduced.
So, does it work?
Prof Whorwell has treated patients using hypnotherapy for 20 years with a success rate of about 70 per cent. "It helps all the symptoms, whereas some of the drugs available reduce only a few of the symptoms. However, men don't do quite as well as women." Several randomised controlled trials have shown good results. In one, group hypnotherapy proved as effective as individual sessions.
Where can I get it?
Gut-directed hypnotherapy is not widely available on the NHS. Your GP will know if there is a clinic you can be referred to. Because anybody can call themselves a hypnotherapist, it is risky to pick a name out of the phone book: IBS sufferers need somebody specifically trained in gut-directed hypnotherapy.

For more information on IBS and how hypnotherapy can help post a comment or visit


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