Hypnosis successfully treats IBS

Hypnosis works by guiding you in a structured way to imagine your gut well and healthy. How does that work then? In hypnosis, one of the key techniques used is the ideomotor response. Brain imaging shows that when we think about doing something, the brain lights up in the same way as when we actually move that part of the body. That is the ideomotor response. Thinking is doing.

In hypnosis, you are very sensitive to subtle suggestion. Try this: say 'red lorry, yellow lorry' to yourself a couple of times, silently. What was going on in your mouth?

So when you think about your poor painful gut as being cool and smooth and comfortable while in hypnosis, you are learning to make the mind-gut link and with a bit of practice, you will find that you can calm your gut.

It may surprise you to know that there is lots of academic research showing that hypnotherapy is very successful with IBS, and as a result, it was recommended by NICE in 2008 for chronic cases of irritable bowel syndrome.

Dr Peter Whorwell of Manchester University Medical School is the leading expert in the treatment of IBS with hypnotherapy. Dr Wendy Gonalkorale is a researcher working with Dr Whorwell and you can read about her research here.

Although no-one really knows the cause of irritable bowel syndrome, the methods developed by Dr Whorwell have been shown to improve the symptoms with over 70% success. Dr Whorwell explains that IBS is ideal for treatment with hypnosis. "During hypnotherapy, sufferers learn how to influence and gain control of their gut function, and then seem able to change the way the brain modulates their gut activity. We have found it to help all the symptoms, whereas some of the drugs available reduce only a few". As you will know, IBS is called a functional disorder because it is the function of the gut which is impaired rather than the tissue itself. Often in trying to work out the cause of IBS , invasive investigations are carried out which can cause permanent structural damage. Hypnosis is a non-invasive treatment, and it has a successful track record. Here is a useful IBS factsheet.

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