Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Hypnotherapy – a proven treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Hypnotherapy is generally associated with helping with issues of the mind, such as phobias, depression and habits.
However, hypnotherapy is also fantastic for helping with many physical issues, particularly Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The evidence to support the beneficial effects of hypnotherapy for IBS has been proven. It is one of the most successful ways of treating chronic IBS.

IBS is very common, affecting 10-15% of the U.S population.[1]  IBS is characterised by bouts of diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal cramps and swelling. It can be very painful. As well as the unpleasant physical sensations, people with IBS often worry about being close to a toilet. This can lead to increased anxiety and also limit where you can go and what you feel comfortable doing. Many people often feel down due to the effects of IBS.

It is unknown what causes IBS. There seems to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. IBS tends to start in adult life and can, in some cases, start after a gut infection. IBS can run in families, with relatives of an individual with IBS being 2-3 times more likely to have IBS than the general population.[2] 

Unfortunately there is no cure for IBS and it is typically managed using a combination of diet and medication.

Hypnotherapy, as a treatment for IBS has been shown to be effective for about 70% of sufferers.[3]    
Hypnotherapy produces dramatic improvement of all the features associated with IBS (abdominal pain, abdominal distension, general wellbeing and bowel habits). In addition to producing dramatic effects, patients who receive hypnotherapy treatment for IBS do not relapse in the first 3 months.[4]

The evidence for the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for treating IBS is so strong that the National Health Service, in the U.K. prescribes hypnotherapy as a treatment for IBS in certain areas of the country.

Hypnotherapy can also be used in conjunction with traditional treatments such as medication. The advantages of hypnotherapy as a treatment are:
·         Hypnosis is pleasant
·         Many people prefer not to take medication and hypnotherapy provides a viable alternative
·         Hypnotherapy helps with the psychological aspects of IBS, such as anxiety about going out
·         The effects of hypnotherapy last well after treatment is complete.
·         There are no side effects

Hypnotherapy is wonderful for treating IBS, both the physical symptoms and the emotional effects. If you would like to try this wonderful treatment, get in touch on cs@cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk and I will send you a free MP3, usually only available for my one to one clients.

Here are a couple of additional techniques you can use at home to alleviate the symptoms of IBS.

The warm hand technique
This technique is designed to alleviate the pain and discomfort of IBS. You may be familiar with using a hot water bottle to relieve pain. This technique works on the same principle.

1.       Enter a state of hypnosis using the Enter Hypnosis MP3 available here.
2.       Imagine that you are in the most comfortable room with a fireplace, lying on a luxurious couch or bed.
3.       Imagine a fire burning in the fireplace, reasonably close you to.
4.       Imagine putting your hand near to the fire, so that your hand gradually warms up. Take some time to really feel your hand getting warmer and warmer. 
5.       When your hand feels really warm, move your hand to rest of your abdomen. Really do this, don’t just imagine it.
6.       Allow that warmth to spread from your hand deep into your abdomen.
7.       As the warmth spreads, any pain just melts away.

The River Technique
IBS is characterised by a bad flow through the digestive system. Either, the flow is too slow, causing constipation or it is too fast, leading to diarrhoea. Our minds have a lot more control over our bodies than we may realize. Even parts of our body that seem to work without any conscious thought, such as our blood flow, heart rate and digestive system are all affected by our minds. When we remember an embarrassing event we can blush again. This is an example of a single though affecting the dilation of the capillaries in our face. When people are anxious about something they often experience this anxiety in their stomachs.
The following exercise uses the mind body connection to help you with your IBS.

1.       Enter a state of hypnosis using the Enter Hypnosis MP3 available here.
2.       Imagine, sense or feel your gut, your entire digestive tract.
3.       Using your wonderful imagination, imagine your digestive system is a river.
4.       Imagine the beginning of your digestive system, where your food enters your stomach. See the river as flowing easily and smoothly. Take the time to really visualise this as clearly as possible.
5.       Now leave that part of the river and become aware of another part of the river, further down, which is not flowing well. Perhaps it is blocked, or the river is very choppy.
6.       Imagine you can modify the banks of the river. You can change the shape of the river to widen the river and let it flow more easily. You could add some meanders so the river flows more slowly. You can widen the river so it flows more slowly. Take your time to modify as much as is right for you.

I hope you find this information useful if you do suffer with IBS. If you would like a free hypnosis MP3, specifically for alleviating the symptoms of IBS then please get in touch on cs@cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk.

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[1] http://www.aboutibs.org/site/what-is-ibs/facts/
[3] (Hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome: The response of colonic and noncolonic symptoms,
Peter J. Whorwell, Journal of Psychosomatic Research 64 (2008) 621–623).

[4] (Whorwell PJ, Prior A, Faragher EB. Controlled trial of hypnotherapy in the treatment of severe refractory irritable-bowel syndrome. Lancet 1984;2:1232–4.)