Hypnosis for IBS

Recent clinical studies show that hypnotherapy can reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), improve your quality of life, and help you deal with the condition on an emotional level. IBS symptoms that hypnosis can help with include bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhoea. Research also suggests that hypnosis can help relieve secondary symptoms of IBS, such as nausea, fatigue, back ache and bladders issues.


If you're new to hypnosis, you might not know what to expect from sessions with a qualified hypnotherapist. Thankfully, being hypnotised is nothing like they show on the television; you will always be aware of your surroundings, and a hypnotherapist can't force you to do anything against your will. Instead, hypnotherapy sessions involve slowly entering a relaxed state that can help your mind work on a subconscious level. The hypnotherapist will use positive imagery and soothing music to improve your state of mind and focus on the symptoms. 


Hypnotherapy and IBS: New Research


Please note that you should still ensure you follow your doctor's advice about your diet, even if you find that your symptoms improve. Gut directed hypnotherapy research suggests that if changes in diet and medication have not improved IBS within 12 months, hypnotherapy is ideal.


While hypnosis sessions can be relatively expensive, research suggests that after two years, the benefits more than outweigh the costs involved. Additionally, any costs you might have incurred for medications to reduce symptoms would no longer have to be paid if hypnosis was an effective method of symptom relief for you!


In 2003, W M Gonsalkorale, V Miller, A Afzal, P J Whorwell conducted research on the long-term effects hypnosis can have on IBS sufferers. They claimed that most research focused on short-term benefits of hypnotherapy on IBS. Instead, they wanted to focus on the long-term impact of hypnosis on the symptoms of IBS, as well as on mood, depression and anxiety.


After undertaking hypnotherapy for IBS, 204 patients completed questionnaires on the sessions and whether they were impactful. They had to fill in the questionnaires immediately after the session and six years later. Of those who took part, 71% initially responded positively to hypnotherapy. "Of these, 81% maintained this improvement over time while the majority of the remaining 19% claimed that deterioration of symptoms had only been slight.


"With respect to symptom scores, all items at follow up were significantly improved on pre-hypnotherapy levels (p<0.001) and showed little change from post-hypnotherapy values. There were no significant differences in the symptom scores between patients assessed at 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5+ years following treatment. Quality of life and anxiety or depression scores were similarly still significantly improved at follow up (p<0.001) but did show some deterioration. Patients also reported a reduction in consultation rates and medication use following the completion of hypnotherapy."


You can read more about this study by visiting https://gut.bmj.com/content/52/11/1623.


Now the next step is to find a trustworthy hypnotherapist. But how do you do this? Find out below.


How to Choose a Hypnotherapist


Some people claim to be a hypnotherapist when they aren't certified. Ask these questions of your potential hypnotherapist:


  1. Is your hypnotherapist qualified? There are several awarding bodies in the UK and it's important to go to someone who's qualified for your needs. For example, I am accredited and insured by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, and I frequently attend refresher training even though I've been doing this for over 20 years!
  2. Do you feel at ease with your hypnotherapist? After all, you need to reach a state of deep relaxation for hypnosis to work, and you won't be able to do that with the wrong person. Ensure your hypnotherapist fills you with a deep sense of calm. Contact them before your session to gauge this.
  3. Does the hypnotherapist have experience working with IBS? Look for someone who is knowledgeable about the condition and who has worked with people with IBS before. I have done extensive research on the symptoms and have previously worked with clients to relieve discomfort and improve attitude.


If you're looking for IBS hypnotherapy, I offer sessions in my Mayfair, London clinic. Alternatively, I have worked remotely with clients if you live further afield. Please contact me on 07588 769 155 or on duncan@hypnotherapymayfair.com for a consultation.

Hypnotherapy for IBS helps reduce the symptoms of the condition.
Hypnotherapy for IBS helps reduce the symptoms of the condition.