Hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
It's generally believed that IBS is aggravated by stress rather than caused by it, but we know that stressful events are often connected both with the first appearence of the condition and with times when symptoms flare up and become more severe. It stands to reason, then, that if you learn to relax, improve your general sense of wellbeing and respond more creatively to stressful situations, you might have fewer IBS attacks. Gut directed hypnosis aims to help you do this.
NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) suggests the use of hypnotherapy and other psychological interventions for those whose IBS has not responded to medication within 12 months. Dr Whorwell at the University Hospital of South Manchester (UK), showed that hypnotherapy helped 70-80% of people in this group. You can find out much more about the studies that have been done on my other website which is all about IBS.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is not a disease but is caused by a problem in the way your gut functions. Food passes down the gut using a process called peristalsis, which cause the gut to alternately squeeze and relax, pushing the food through.
In IBS the gut loses the regular rhythm of peristalsis and goes into spasm, causing the food to be either halted or pushed through much faster than usual. Typical symptoms are tummy pain along with either constipation or diarrhoea. The pain levels can vary from mild to very severe and other symptoms such as bloating, wind, headaches, nausea etc are common.
Because IBS is not a disease it can't be cured, but the symptoms can be controlled and will sometimes subside for long periods of time.
Gut Directed Hypnotherapy
Gut directed hypnotherapy (also called the Manchester Model) uses relaxation, visualisation and hypnosis to help you reduce the negative effects of stress and increase your sense of wellbeing, which in turn may help to reduce the frequency and severity of your IBS symptoms. Dr Whorwell showed his system was effective in reducing IBS symptoms and improving quality of life for 70-80% of his patients. It had the added benefit of continuing to work after the treatments stopped, the same was not the case with medication.
Dr Whorwell's original programme required twelve sessions, but this included a lot of repetition and the treatments could not be personalised because of the need to compare identical sessions for his study. As I work with individuals, my therapy can be adapted to suit you and your circumstances, and you can achieve the repetition by listening to audios at home. I therefore find that around four to six sessions is all most people need.
You will need a formal diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome from a medical professional before embarking on this programme. You will also need to be willing to listen to audios and spend some time at home using self hypnosis and related techniques.