You’ve probably heard of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
For millions of children and adults, it’s a chronic problem, sometimes painful, sometimes embarrassing, and often leading to social isolation.
Thanks to ongoing research, however, there’s a brand-new way to tackle it.
Gut-directed hypnotherapy for IBS is becoming the next big thing in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Also known as GDH, it’s a non-invasive approach that can be done on individuals or in group sessions.
According to a study published in the BMJ, this presents a new treatment option for both primary and secondary care.
Not only is it effective and fast working, but it helps relieve IBS complaints long after the treatment ends.
And its ability to be used in group settings means that more people can be treated more quickly than ever before, reducing both the treatment time and the associated cost.
But what exactly is IBS and how does it affect sufferers?
What Is IBS?
The Mayo Clinic describes Irritable Bowel Syndrome as a disorder affecting the large intestine.
The most common symptoms of IBS include:
- Stomach pain during bowel movements
For most people, the symptoms are mild and can be controlled through diet and lifestyle. A small number of people might experience more severe symptoms, which will probably require medication and/or counseling.
This article on the Mayo Clinic site recommends that you should see your doctor if there is a persistent change in your bowel habits, as this can also highlight more serious conditions such as colon cancer.
You should also seek medical advice if you notice any of the following changes:
- Weight loss
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Stomach pain that remains after passing gas or having a bowel movement
No one knows exactly what causes IBS, but research has shown that there are physical and psychological considerations.
So while the discomfort is very real, it is often accompanied by high levels of stress and anxiety.
The longer the discomfort goes on, the more stressed and anxious you’re likely to become, all of which serves to upset your body’s natural state of equilibrium.
Researchers have identified certain foods that can trigger IBS, such as:
- Tea and coffee
- Fatty, fried or processed foods
It’s thought that between 10% and 20% of people in western countries suffer from IBS, which is more common in females and in younger people.
Symptoms can be triggered by stressful situations or traumatic events, which helps to explain why hypnotherapy is so successful at treating it.
But how does that particular gut-directed therapy help to alleviate it?
How Does Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy Actually Work?
Some research suggests that IBS and other gastrointestinal disorders could be the result of a miscommunication between the person’s brain and gut.
Hypnotherapy obviously involves the use of hypnosis, guiding the subject into a relaxed but focused state of awareness. From there, various hypnotic techniques are employed to deepen relaxation.
Using imagery and suggestions, the therapist will work with the subject to help calm their digestive tract while simultaneously steering their focus away from any discomfort they might be feeling.
Gut-directed hypnotherapy makes it possible to correct this miscommunication. It does that by letting you connect with your unconscious mind so that you can address the issues from the inside out.
GDH has been proven to reduce the symptoms of IBS or even to get rid of them completely.
And sometimes this can be done in just a few sessions – occasionally even just one.
Hypnotherapy is one of the best options available for relieving IBS symptoms because it is:
It gets to the root of the problem quickly and can help sufferers manage their conditions in a more comfortable and stress-free way.
Why is it able to ease IBS symptoms so effectively? Here are 3 good reasons.
1. By helping you relax
It’s no secret how destructive stress can be to your body. When you’re stressed, your heart beats faster, you sweat more, and your muscles tense up. At the same time, blood rushes to those muscles and away from other important body functions.
When you’re relaxed, your heart rate calms down, as do your muscles. Blood flows back to those important body functions, one of which is your digestive tract.
2. By keeping your hormones in balance
When you’re stressed, you release more hormones like cortisol and adrenalin. The longer this goes on, the more difficult it is for your body to function normally.
When you’re relaxed, your hormone levels return to normal, meaning they don’t interfere with important body functions such as digestion.
3. By helping you make lifestyle changes
You can make use of the power of suggestion to avoid getting stressed and to start thinking positive. Thinking differently can also help you avoid certain types of food or activities that might trigger your IBS.
Related Article>> Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Why Hypnotherapy Works
Using Hypnotherapy With IBS Patients & Children
The BMJ study mentioned above notes that school children and adolescents who suffer from severe IBS symptoms often experience “stigmatization, social withdrawal, disrupted education and psychological distress.”
As part of the study, researchers assessed 32 young patients under the age of 18 in terms of their IBS severity, their levels of anxiety, depression, and their Quality-of-Life (QoL) score, all of which were compared before and after the gut-focused hypnotherapy (GFH).
They found that 88% of the subjects responded to GFH, with an overall reduction in their IBS symptoms, while 75% enjoyed a reduction in abdominal pain.
The results also indicated improvements in scores for anxiety, depression and QoL.
The team concluded that GFH was a highly effective technique for relieving IBS in children and adolescents. They also suggested that providing therapy for young people would enable them to be able to cope better with the problem in adulthood.
So hypnotherapy for kids with IBS makes sense, especially if it can help them navigate their school years in a more fulfilling and inclusive way.
But what other scientific proof is there that the technique actually works?
Hypnotherapy For IBS: What Recent Studies Show
One of the problems with IBS is the fact that there isn’t just one single cause. This has led to treatments such as the low-FODMAPs diet, which excludes some vegetables, fruit and gluten.
However, a 2016 study found that gut-directed hypnotherapy achieved the same results as the low-FODMAPs diet. The study also concluded that GDH had “superior efficacy” in terms of psychological indices.
That’s good news, because it means IBS sufferers can potentially enjoy a more varied and healthier diet.
Another study wanted to find out how long the GDH treatment might last. Were the positive results short-term, or could they be maintained over months or even years?
They distributed questionnaires to 204 patients. Of those who initially responded to therapy, 81% said their condition improved over time. The study showed that gut-directed hypnotherapy was actually effective for up to 5 years.
Megan Riehl is a gastrointestinal health psychologist. She points out that GDH is achieving “overwhelmingly positive results” for patients suffering from IBS and related gastrointestinal problems.
During research at Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Swedish doctoral student Perjohan Lindfors found that hypnotherapy improves the quality of life and leads to high patient satisfaction.
Gut-directed hypnotherapy is not a new idea. In fact, researchers have been studying its application for more than 20 years.
Many studies claim that GDH has a 70% or better success rate, making it one of the top available therapies for the treatment of IBS.
That makes sense if you consider some of the benefits this type of therapy offers. For instance, it’s a lot cheaper than drugs.
There are no side-effects either. And unlike other forms of treatment, GDH helps with all of the symptoms, not just some of them.
Hypnotherapy gives people the ability to take control of their digestive system. It helps them become more aware of the signals their body sends out, such as how their brain and gut interact with each other.
And that makes gut-directed hypnotherapy the safest, easiest and least expensive treatment for IBS in the world today.
Conclusion & Key Takeaways
IBS is a chronic problem for children and adults alike.
Gut-directed hypnotherapy is a promising new treatment that helps relieve symptoms long after the treatment ends.
It’s fast and can be used to treat groups of people all at once, saving time and money.
The disorder affects the large intestine, with symptoms including bloating, diarrhea and stomach pain during bowel movements.
Symptoms are usually mild for most people, although medical advice should be sought if there are any noticeable changes in digestion or bowel movements.
The exact causes of IBS are unknown, although symptoms can be triggered by stress and anxiety.
Certain foods can also bring it on, such as:
- Tera & coffee
- Chocolate & alcohol
- Fried, fatty or processed foods
Between 10% and 20% of people in western countries are believed to suffer from IBS, which affects women more than men and younger people more than older people.
Research suggest that IBS may be the result of miscommunication between the gut and the brain.
Hypnotherapy works by helping to calm your digestive tract on the one hand, and by steering your focus away from the discomfort on the other.
It’s one of the best options available as an IBS treatment since it is completely natural, painless and non-invasive.
Its effectiveness is due to the fact that it helps you relax and de-stress, keeping your body’s hormones in balance and giving you the motivation to make relevant lifestyle changes.
Hypnotherapy works equally well for kids, with research suggesting a 75%+ reduction in symptoms and abdominal pain.
Other studies indicate that GDH is as effective as other diet-based therapies but without any of the potential side-effects. Treatment can also help alleviate symptoms for up to 5 years.
Gut-directed hypnotherapy gives you back control over your digestive system. It’s the safest, easiest and least expensive IBS treatment in the world today.