Hypnotherapy and IBS
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Hypnotherapy and IBS

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Hypnotherapy is proven to be very effective for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A lot of the people suffering from IBS notice that their symptoms are worsening once they experience stress. And still, IBS is often only treated with dietary advice and medicine and supplements. If you notice stress to be an important factor for your IBS symptoms, it could be worth trying hypnotherapy!

The Gut-Brain Axis

Your gut and your brain are connected and are communicating with each other through the gut-brain axis. This way your brain knows what is going on in your gut and your gut gets signals from your brain.

The importance of this is major. Signals of emotion, stress, pain, satiety and immune response are being sent this way. The gut-brain axis plays a part in the regulation of the digestive process. And so it is thought that patients with IBS have alterations in the gut-brain axis.

It has been shown that emotions and stress can influence the activity of the muscles in the intestines, the secretion of digestive juices and can decrease the diversity of your gut microbiota. So if you can learn coping mechanisms to deal with stress, your IBS could improve!

Hypnotherapy and IBS

How Does the Hypnotherapy with IBS Work?

In normal hypnotherapy, the person is brought into a state of ‘trance’ in which you are more susceptible to suggestions that are being made. With gut-directed hypnotherapy, the suggestions are being made with regard to the normalization of digestive function. Suggestions can be:
– ‘There will be no more pain, no more bloating and no more discomfort’
– ‘Your bowel habits will continue to improve day by day, week by week and month by month’

The use of metaphors is also often done. In which the digestive flow can be described as a river.
This way your subconscious mind will make changes in the way it works and can change the way it perceives input.

Hypnotherapy has an effect on the following bodily functions:
– Movement of the digestive tract
– Improved immunological effects
– Normalizing of the processing of signals
– Reducing heart rate and respiratory rate in the reaction on emotions

For most people, it is sufficient to have 7 – 12 hypnotherapy sessions over the course of 2-3 months to reduce the symptoms. And the majority of the people experience reduced symptoms for years after the treatment, which also helps in improving the quality of life.

Do you have IBS and is hypotherapy a step too far for you? Your diet might be causing symptoms too! Schedule an online consultation at my online dietician’s practice Darm diëtist, and I will help you identify IBS triggers in your diet!

Studies With Hypnotherapy and IBS

The success rate of hypnotherapy with IBS lies within the 49 – 100% in adults and children. With this type of hypnotherapy, there is special attention to the subconscious mind with suggestions for the control and normalization of the IBS symptoms.
It is known that hypnotherapy performed by a qualified therapist is beneficial. But nowadays they are also testing to see if digital hypnotherapy could have this effect. In this case, there would be 1 consultation with the therapist, and a follow up at home with a CD or online. This could make the treatment way more accessible for a lot of people.

From multiple studies, it has been shown that hypnotherapy can be beneficial at the following symptoms:

Abdominal pain
Constipation (click the link for my article)
Diarrhea (click the link for my article)
Bloating (click the link for my article)

Scientists from the Monash University (the one that does all the research on the FODMAP diet) have researched the effects of hypnotherapy compared to the FODMAP diet. The outcome was that hypnotherapy and the FODMAP diet both had similar effects on the relief of IBS symptoms (see the image below). Although the overall evidence for the FODMAP diet is stronger. But in conclusion, doing hypnotherapy instead of the FODMAP diet (or if the FODMAP diet does not work), could make your daily life quite a lot easier! So it’s definitely worth a try!

Tables hypnotherapy and FODMAP
In these tables from a randomized clinical trial from the Monash University, you can see the comparison of the efficacy of the FODMAP diet compared to hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy can be a very effective way to reset your gut-bran axis and reduce your IBS symptoms! Do you have experience with it? Let me know!

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