Treating IBS with hypnosis

Treating IBS with hypnosis

Treating IBS with Hypnotherapy

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common digestive conditions in the UK, affecting up to a third of the UK population and is more common in women than men. IBS means the bowel isn’t functioning as well as it should be. There are no tests for diagnosing IBS, although studies strongly suggest that the main causes can be stress and anxiety, as well as certain foods.

IBS can be very unpleasant and sometimes debilitating. The symptoms can include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation. Some people can also experience tiredness, nausea and bladder problems. In some case’s sufferers may worry when they are in situations that might mean access to toilet facilities are difficult.

There have been many clinical studies and research over the years strongly suggesting that

hypnotherapy can be a highly effective treatment for IBS. Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology in the School of Medicine and Director of the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service, Professor Peter Whorwell has discovered a way to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) using hypnotherapy.

Professor Whorwell has been researching the use of gut-directed hypnosis for over 20 years. Most recently, 250 patients who have suffered from IBS for over two years were given twelve one-hour sessions, during which they were given an explanation of how the gut works and what causes their symptoms.

“IBS is ideal for treatment with hypnosis, as there is no structural damage to the body,” Professor Whorwell explained. “During the hypnotherapy, sufferers learn how to influence and gain control of their gut function, and then seem to be able to change the way the brain modulates their gut activity. The treatment has a success rate of about 70%, and Professor Whorwell believes that hypnotherapy, although it’s labour-intensive, could be an extremely effective treatment for the condition; and a less expensive alternative to new, costly drugs coming onto the market. We’ve found it to help all the symptoms, whereas some of the drugs available reduce only a few,” he said. “As IBS can be a life-long condition it could clearly be a very valuable option for patients.”

Hypnotherapy can help alleviate or even eliminate any pain and discomfort, as well as significantly reducing stress. This involves using progressive relaxation and positive suggestions focusing on the individual’s symptoms.

Before booking a Hypnotherapy session it is important that you have your symptoms checked by your GP first.


Louise Nonweiler (Dip Hyp DNLP GQHP GHRreg Dip Psych Dip. Mindfulness IAHT)

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