Hypnotherapy and Gastroenterology

Hypnosis for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been studied extensively.

A 1984 study in England showed significant benefits from hypnosis. Thirty patients with refractory IBS and severe symptoms were randomly assigned to 7 individual sessions of hypnotherapy or psychotherapy plus placebo pills.color

Although the psychotherapy group showed a small but significant improvement in some characteristics, all patients in the hypnosis group had significant improvements in well-being, bowel habits, distention symptoms, and pain, with no re-lapses at 3-month follow-up.

A subsequent report added 35 more patients to the hypnosis group of 15 from the earlier study; those with classic symptoms and no psychological problems fared best with hypnosis, as did patients younger than 50 years.

Direct, specific suggestions for symptom relief were most successful. At 18-month followup, the 15 patients in the earlier hypnosis group remained in remission.

The positive results with hypnosis for IBS have been confirmed in several other trials.

It was concluded in a Mayo Clinic review that “in addition to relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, hypnotherapy profoundly improves the patients’ quality of life and reduces absenteeism from work.”

You can read the entire review here

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