Gut-directed hypnotherapy directed by psychologists can potentially offer a new treatment option for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), that affects almost 20 percent of the people around the world according to a medical study.
IBS is an insistent and challenging condition, with symptoms that can cause disturbances in your life with the likes of abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation. For many patients, drug and dietary treatments are unsuccessful.
The medical study published in The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal states that hypnotherapy plays a crucial role in relieving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms for some sufferers for as long as a quarter of a year post the end of treatment.
These patients showed a significant improvement in their overall condition, and they were more able to cope with the health changes and therefore became less affected by the symptoms.
The exact functioning of gut-directed hypnotherapy is still in the dark, but it has enough capability to alter patients’ mindset and internal coping mechanisms, enabling them to elevate their control over autonomic body processes such as pain processing and modulating gut activity.
Lead researcher Carla Flik from the University Medical Centre in the Netherlands stated that their study has indicated that hypnotherapy could be considered as a treatment option for patients suffering from IBS, irrespective of symptom severity and IBS subtype.
The Sample study included 354 adults (aged 18-65 years) with IBS. Participants were randomly chosen to receive either 45-minute individual sessions or group sessions of hypnotherapy twice a week for a duration of 6 weeks, or education and supportive care.
The treatment encompasses a positive visualisation technique during which patients were suggested with methods of gaining control over their digestive system to reduce the impressions of pain and discomfort.
Results showed that group hypnotherapy is as effective as individual sessions, which may mean that more people could be treated with it at lower cost.
However, hypnotherapy did not appear to reduce the severity of symptoms, the researchers said.