Have you heard of IBS?
It stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
There’s been plenty of research into the condition, but the exact causes are still unknown.
What is well known is that patients may experience problems with digestion, sensitivity to stomach pain, plus high levels of anxiety and stress.
And because it can lead to serious bouts of diarrhea or even incontinence, getting help can be tricky, especially if it involves travelling for any distance or length of time.
Thanks to hypnotherapy and modern technology, however, there is now a viable solution.
Skype hypnosis offers IBS sufferers all the benefits of traditional office-based hypnosis without the accompanying hassle.
No need to travel – in fact, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own living room.
That also means there’s no need to suffer the indignity that’s so often the result of the condition.
Ironically, this solution has come about partly because of the restrictions forced on people by the pandemic.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has made in-person visits practically impossible for much of the past few years, shifting the emphasis to online consultations.
But rather than being an impediment of any kind, this new type of treatment delivery, also known as telemedicine, has proven to be just as effective and just as popular as its more conventional alternative.
That makes perfect sense for helping to manage issues such as confidence building or self-esteem boosting, for instance, but what about IBS?
Can Skype hypnosis really make a substantial difference to people dealing with the effects of this syndrome?
Before finding out, it makes sense to learn a little bit more about IBS and the way the condition manifests itself.
What Is IBS? Irritable Bowel Syndrome Defined & Explained
As this article explains, IBS is a condition affecting the large intestine. In most people the symptoms are mild, but in severe cases they can be debilitating.
Symptoms of IBS may include the following:
- Stomach cramps
If you experience any of the following more severe symptoms, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bleeding from your rectum
- Blood in your stool
- A hard lump or swelling in your stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach pain following bowel movements
Although the exact causes of IBS are unknown, it’s believed that the symptoms are both physical and psychological.
In other words, while you are likely to experience real pain and discomfort, the symptoms will also cause you to feel increased stress and anxiety. And the more stressed and anxious you become, the harder it will be for your body’s natural defenses to fight the condition.
Research shows that between 10% and 20% of people in the western world suffer from IBS, which is more common in younger people and in females.
IBS can be triggered by stressful events or traumatic situations, but it can also be aggravated by certain foods, including:
- Coffee and tea
- Fatty, fried and processed foods
Despite the fact that there are gaps in the knowledge about IBS, hypnotherapy has been shown to help ease and even eradicate the symptoms. But how would that work in the online environment?
To put it another way, can hypnotherapists make use of online communications technology to bring much-needed relief to IBS sufferers worldwide?
Treating IBS With Hypnotherapy & Modern Technology
To find out more, a University of Manchester study was undertaken by Professor Peter Whorwell, a gastroenterologist at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, England.
Professor Whorwell runs a successful hypnotherapy clinic for IBS patients at the hospital and he wanted to find out if similar results could be achieved using online communications systems.
Published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, the study looked at 20 patients who received a total of 12 hypnotherapy sessions, the first a face-to-face session, followed by 11 online sessions via Skype.
Before the treatment, 65% of the patients reported severe IBS symptoms with 35% experiencing moderate IBS.
Following the 11 Skype sessions, the results were collated as follows:
- Only 25% were now classed as having severe IBS
- 40% were classed as having moderate IBS
- 35% were classed as having mild IBS
On top of that, all patients reported significant improvements in symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating and bowel function.
There were improvements in other IBS-related symptoms too, such as:
- Lower back ache
- Energy levels
- Chest pain
- Bladder problems
Patients also commented on feeling less anxious or depressed, with overall improvements in their quality of life.
Compared to one of Professor Whorwell’s earlier studies with 1000 patients who had received face to face treatment, this study showed that the online Skype treatment was only slightly less effective.
In fact, hypnotherapy has been shown time and time again to be effective against the symptoms of IBS, and particularly so for those people who do not respond to other forms of treatment.
This study also highlights the benefits of offering hypnotherapy via Skype in terms of clinic attendance and travel restrictions. More than 70% of the participants said that if the treatment had not been held online, they would have been unable to access it.
While more research is welcomed, these results are very encouraging. It seems totally feasible that hypnotherapy sessions can be held online and that they can lead to outcomes that are as good as those achieved in face-to-face environments.
That being said, there is still one huge question hanging over the whole thing, which is:
How easy is it for hypnotherapists to deliver their treatment through a phone or computer screen?
Top Tips For Delivering Hypnotherapy Online Via Skype
Studies have shown that Skype hypnotherapy can be almost as effective as in-person hypnotherapy. And there are good reasons why you should try it.
If the pandemic has demonstrated anything, it’s that you can’t take the status quo for granted.
Any business that operates in a traditional bricks and mortar environment (i.e. an office) is susceptible to the winds of change – and whatever the next major virus or similar life-altering event might happen to be.
So it makes sense to future-proof your business by making sure you can also run it successfully online, and exclusively so if that’s what you need to do.
Here are some handy tips on how to deliver online therapy effectively.
Switch On Your H+
Get in the right frame of mind before the session begins. Psych yourself up so that you are bristling with positive energy, overflowing with compassion, and totally clear about the atmosphere you want to create for your client.
Practice Your Hypnotic Language
Since your client can’t be there with you in person, it’s more difficult for them to read your body language. Brush up on your hypnotic language including your tone of voice and projection.
Be sure to include your stock-in-trade hypnotic tools such as power words, echoing and vocabulary matching.
Let Stories Work For You
One way to quickly make clients comfortable is to tell them a story. As you know, stories immediately get people involved and have the power to transport them. They also help switch off the critical factor and stimulate the unconscious mind.
Practice Being On Camera
Feel awkward showing your face on screen? Listening to your voice? It’s only natural. But the best way around it is to practice over and over until it becomes second nature and you forget that the “camera” is there. Make use of willing family and friends to practice on until you become a seasoned performer.
Always Be Professional
You don’t need a fancy office in the background, just a clean and tidy space will suffice. The main objective is to make sure your client isn’t distracted by anything in the background, such as clothing strewn on dressers, a dead plant or a crooked picture on the wall.
The more professional you look and sound, the easier it will be for your client to immerse themselves fully in the session.
Ask For Client Feedback
At the end of each session, get feedback from your clients. Find out if there are any improvements or changes that would make the sessions more beneficial for them, such as perhaps helping them feel less awkward, for example.
Make a list of any suggestions and use it to adjust things as necessary.
The idea is to help your clients experience hypnosis in as normal a setting as possible given the circumstances.
You can achieve that by doing all the things you would normally do but tweaking them slightly to fit the online environment.
Delivering your hypnotherapy sessions online might feel uncomfortable at first, but with practice you’ll soon get the hang of it. As mentioned above, it’s a highly effective way of giving and receiving therapy.
And who knows? You might enjoy telemedicine so much that you decide to go the whole hog and deliver all of your hypnotherapy in this way.
But first, another question. How does hypnotherapy work in relation to IBS?
Easing IBS With Hypnotherapy & Proof That It Works
You know now that IBS is a complex condition without any single identifiable cause. So what can hypnosis do to help ease or eliminate the symptoms?
It Encourages Relaxation
Stress can make the symptoms of IBS more pronounced. Too much stress makes your heart beat faster, makes you sweat more and makes your muscles tense up. When that happens, blood flows to those muscles and away from important bodily functions.
When you’re relaxed, however, your muscles calm down. Your heart rate slows and blood flows back to all those places it’s supposed to flow, helping restore your body’s sense of equilibrium.
It Prevents Hormones From Overreacting
Too much stress causes an excess of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, because those hormones help to keep you alert and ready for action. But when they go into overdrive they can lead to complications such as high blood pressure, mood swings and even osteoporosis.
An excess of hormones for extended periods of time can interfere with the way your body functions, especially the more delicate systems like your digestion. Hypnotherapy helps to keep them at normal and less harmful levels by encouraging relaxation and discouraging the build-up of stress.
It Helps You Change Habits
Hypnotherapy works partly on the power of suggestion. And suggestion is a fantastic way to help you think and act differently.
For instance, one simple idea could be enough to change the way you think about food, helping you avoid items that might cause your IBS to flare up. At the same time, hypnotherapy can give you the tools to think positively about the choices you make, giving you the incentive to adapt a healthier and less harmful lifestyle.
Hypnotherapy As The Ideal Treatment For IBS
There’s one really good reason for offering Skype hypnotherapy for IBS sufferers. And that reason is: it works!
Peter Whorwell is Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology in the School of Medicine and Director of the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service. He’s been researching the use of hypnosis in the treatment of IBS for more than 20 years.
According to Whorwell, hypnotherapy has a 70% success rate at treating the condition. And the benefits just keep on coming, such as:
- While the therapy can be labor-intensive, it’s a lot cheaper than drugs
- It’s more effective against the discomfort of IBS than other treatments and medications
- The therapy gives patients the means to take more control over their digestive system by helping them become aware of the signals their bodies are sending out
Another study at the University of Gothenburg found that hypnotherapy helped improve patients’ quality of life, even when treatment was provided by people who were not specialists.
Three groups were included in the study. Group A was given hypnotherapy in a specialist center, Group B was given hypnotherapy in a small county hospital, and Group C was given no therapy at all.
Patients in the specialist center showed a slightly better improvement than those in the county hospital, while the control group showed no improvement at all.
This study and all the other available research demonstrates how hypnotherapy has the potential to bring lasting and effective relief to IBS sufferers, even when it’s delivered through an online communication system.
If you’re in any doubt about the value and effectiveness of delivering hypnotherapy online, try this simple test.
Go to your favorite search engine and type in these two words: Skype hypnosis.
You’ll probably be amazed at just how many results come up – literally millions.
That’s likely to be one of the side-effects of the pandemic and the many lockdowns imposed on people everywhere. Rather than shutting up shop completely, many hypnotists have moved their businesses online.
And because of the nature of hypnotherapy, it doesn’t matter what issue or problem someone presents with. The same tools and techniques work just as well on IBS as they do on anything else.
The age of telecommunications means that hypnotherapists now have the ability to offer help and support to people anywhere and at any time. Serious IBS symptoms can lead to diarrhea and incontinence, so being able to access treatment without leaving home is a huge bonus.
No one knows what causes IBS, but there are certain foods and activities that can bring it on. Along with caffeine, alcohol and poor diet, one of the main irritants is excess stress or anxiety.
Between 10% and 20% of people in the western world suffer from IBS, which is more common in younger people and in females.
Skype hypnosis has been shown to be effective at helping sufferers cope better with the symptoms of IBS, just as effective in fact as face-to-face therapy.
Research suggests that hypnotherapy delivered online has a 70% success rate, helping patients relax, reduce their stress and anxiety levels, and be more in control of their bodies.
It’s also a particularly useful alternative for patients experiencing severe symptoms which do not respond to other forms of treatment.