Hypnotherapy for IBS: Can It Calm a Stressed Digestive System?
29th July, 2020
Hypnosis for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) isn’t mainstream yet, but clinical studies show very promising results.
In this article, we’ll cover how hypnosis for IBS works and the key research so far. There will also be 11 diet and lifestyle tips that you can combine with hypnotherapy treatment.
What Is Hypnotherapy for IBS & How Does It Work?
For people with IBS, common symptoms such as abdominal pain, changes in bowel movement, and diarrhea make life more difficult.
Physical discomfort can be the biggest challenge for IBS sufferers. But the unpredictability of when symptoms will flare, along with social embarrassment, often leads to further stress.
Stress is the natural way for the brain and nervous system to respond to our perception of threats.
The stress response includes a range of processes, both mental (thoughts) and physical (sensations).
Hypnotherapy is a useful solution to reprogram and calm these processes.
But really… hypnosis and IBS?
You might be wondering how it works.
Here are the key elements of hypnosis that, together, can relieve troubling symptoms:
Ability to respond to cues/suggestions
When someone has experienced IBS for a while, negative thoughts can get “trapped” in a loop.
Here are a few examples of such thoughts:
“What if I go out but can’t find a toilet in time?”
“I felt like I was going to be sick yesterday, I’ll probably feel the same today.”
“What will people think if my stomach starts making strange noises?”
The brain and nervous system learn to be on the lookout for any bodily sensations that serve as a threat.
In theory, these sensations could arise at any time. So, the brain has to work even harder to start new stress responses…
When this is happening multiple times a day, the body is put under strain.
Hypnotherapy for IBS supports you by being able to interrupt the negative thought loops.
Your hypnotherapist will teach you how to imagine your digestive system relaxing with a range of cues and prompts.
As your attention becomes focused on these cues and prompts, the conscious mind’s worrying and tension will reduce.
In its place, the subconscious mind (which controls bodily sensations and emotions) has more space to operate.
By shifting the focus to more empowering thoughts, over time, the beliefs in the subconscious mind change for the better.
Just like physical symptoms can create negative self-beliefs, a person's beliefs can also produce physical symptoms.
Okay, how about the research then? Is there proof that hypnotherapy for IBS actually works?
What’s The Research on Hypnotherapy for IBS?
As discussed on the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, a number of clinical studies have found that hypnosis is an effective therapy for IBS.
They go on to say that hypnotherapy offers 3 types of benefits for people with IBS: symptomatic, physiological, and psychological.
This NHS article reports via the Mail Online that "hypnosis is twice as effective at relieving agonising symptoms of IBS than other methods."
They found that out of 204 people with IBS, 71% responded well to hypnotherapy in the early stages.
The most exciting part of this study, however, is how the benefits sustained over time for those who did respond well.
1, 2, 3, 4, and 5+ years after hypnotherapy treatment, people reported that the improvements in symptoms had maintained.
Patients were able to reduce medication usage and their quality of life scores remained significantly improved.
Hypnotherapy for IBS in London
City Hypnosis offers hypnotherapy for IBS in London.
The team has more client reviews than any other London-based hypnotherapy practice.
There are over 90 client reviews on Google as of July 2020.
If you’re not able to get to London, we also provide online hypnotherapy sessions.
1. Book online IBS hypnotherapy
Client success outcomes are the same for in-person and online appointments at City Hypnosis.
But online sessions have two unique advantages:
Clients can feel more at ease meeting from home.
Clients save money they would have to spend on travel.
Headphones are useful for Skype sessions, to reduce any external noise.
2. Book an in-person appointment
Looking for a place where you can try IBS hypnotherapy in London?
Our central London office is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The address is below:
25, Southampton Buildings,
(This is a 1-minute walk from Chancery Lane tube station - take the Staple Inn pathway by Cafe Nero. We are situated opposite the Black Sheep Cafe)
Bonus: 11 Lifestyle Tips for Managing IBS
You may know these already, but the NHS website has a list of 11 tips for managing IBS.
We recommend that you follow these recommendations alongside your hypnotherapy treatment.
The “Don’t” List
Don’t eat too fast
Don’t eat too much processed, fatty, or spicy foods
Don’t drink more than 3 coffees or teas per day
Don’t drink too many fizzy drinks or too much alcohol
Don’t skip meals
Don’t eat more than 3 fresh fruit portions per day (80g is one portion)
The “Do” List
Do look for ways to relax
Do keep a food/drink diary and avoid IBS triggers
Do cook fresh, homemade meals
Do exercise regularly
Do see if probiotics help ease symptoms
This article is co-authored by:
Declan Davey (Health Writer)
Best Hypnosis for IBS? Ask Us a Question
If you want to try hypnotherapy for IBS then the City Hypnosis director — Aaron Surtees — is the UK’s most recommended hypnotherapist.
Get in touch with Aaron’s team on email@example.com.
The team will respond to any further questions you may have about hypnosis for IBS.
In addition, you can book an online or in-person appointment.
Telephone: 0773 288 8397
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