Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy Blog




Can Hypnotherapy help end IBS? A new study

Posted on


New study shows Hypnotherapy for IBS Looks Convincing in Randomized Trials

ibs and hypnosis and hypnotherapy

A new study has show how effective Hypnotherapy for IBS treatment can be.

Medscape news reported on the findings as they were revealed in BARCELONA —

More patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) reported relief of pain and discomfort after hypnotherapy than after education and supportive care, interim results from a randomized controlled trial conducted at 13 centres indicate.



Read more about how I work with people to help with IBS and Hypnotherapy here:




Most evidence supporting hypnotherapy for IBS in the literature involves highly specialized therapists at secondary and tertiary care centres delivering 10 sessions or more of therapy, said investigator Catharina Flik, MD, from University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands.

"I'm interested in demonstrating its effectiveness in a broader perspective — primary care, for example," she said at the United European Gastroenterology Week 2017.


How Can Hypnotherapy Help in IBS Treatment?


In their ongoing 1-year study, Dr Flik and her colleagues are assessing the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

Hypnotherapy changes their cognitions, allowing them to be more open to suggestion from a therapist and increasing their control over autonomic body processes such as how they process pain in the brain and the spine.

The bidirectional pathway between the brain and gut and the evidence supporting the influence of hypnotherapy on gastrointestinal health were recently described in a Medscape Perspective interview with Laurie Keefer, PhD, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Of the 354 patients who were referred by primary care doctors and hospital specialists, 150 attended six biweekly sessions of individual hypnotherapy, 150 attended six biweekly sessions of group hypnotherapy, and 54 received education and supportive care with an audio CD.

Patients were asked: In the past 7 days, have you had adequate relief of your IBS pain and discomfort? Those who answered yes at least 3 of every 4 weeks were considered responders.

At 3 months, adequate relief of pain and discomfort was reported by more patients who received individual hypnotherapy and group hypnotherapy than those who received education and supportive care (40% vs 34% vs 17%; P = .041).

Although the rates reported for the two hypnotherapy types were slightly different, group hypnotherapy was, in fact, noninferior to individual hypnotherapy.

Patients will be followed up for 9 months after the end of treatment.

A previous study in the Netherlands used just CD recordings and had similar results for patients...



Results from a previous Study in Sweden

Similar conclusions were also reached in a randomized controlled trial of 108 patients with IBS symptoms refractory to standard treatment conducted in Sweden, also presented at the meeting.

After 12 weeks of gut-directed hypnotherapy, administered by Lövdahl, Pain intensity, pain frequency, bloating severity, bowel habit dissatisfaction, and daily life interference associated with IBS were all significantly better after treatment.

"There were clear improvements in IBS symptoms after 12 weeks of hypnotherapy," Lövdahl reported. "And in a between-group comparison, we could not see any differences."

In addition, on the Short Health Scale questionnaire — used to assess the subjective health of the participants — "we could see clear improvements, with no significant difference between groups," she added.

What we see in these studies is that people take back control of themselves and by learning to visualise what could be pain in a more positive way they can really learn to let go of the IBS symptoms.

"In the future, we want to look for predictors of response to find the most appropriate treatment for each patient," she noted.

Group sessions might be an effective way to deliver IBS hypnotherapy to more patients at a lower cost, Lövdahl said.

The group approach appears feasible, even if some patients need convincing. "A lot of patients felt, beforehand, that they would not like hypnotherapy in a group," said Dr Flik. However, acceptance improved with education, and "afterward, they were very glad to have been in the group."

"Very Good, Rigorously Designed Trials"


"The studies are quite practical. The nice thing is that they were conducted in different settings but had almost the same research question," said session comoderator Daniel Keszthelyi, MD, PhD, from Maastricht University in the Netherlands

"They are really very good, rigorously designed trials," he told Medscape Medical News.

There are common misconceptions about hypnotherapy. "Some patients might think it's Voodoo," he explained, adding that the "same thing goes for physicians."

"When I see patients with IBS, I discuss all drug options and psychological therapies at the same time," so medication and hypnotherapy strategies are presented as equally effective, he added.

"Hypnotherapy, in general, is something that is really, really helping patients," Dr Keszthelyi said.

He reported that he is planning to evaluate an online version of hypnotherapy for individuals and groups (conducted over Skype, for example). One goal is to compare the practicality of online and traditional hypnotherapy.

Hynosis sessions have been seen to give great hope to IBS patients.

Session comoderator Philippe Van Hootegem, MD, from AZ Saint Lucas in Ghent, Belgium, asked Dr Flik how responsive the patients were.

"About 10% of the whole population was not hypnotizable, 80% were good enough for the exercises, and 10% were very good and able to concentrate and go to another level," Dr Flik reported.

 Professor Peter Whorwell and IBS Hypnotherapy

Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology in the School of Medicine and Director of the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service, has discovered a way to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) using hypnotherapy.

Professor Whorwell has been researching the use of gut-directed hypnosis for over 20 years. Most recently, 250 patients who have suffered from IBS for over two years were given twelve one-hour sessions, during which they were given an explanation of how the gut works and what causes their symptoms.


If you would like to hear one of my MP3 recordings for FREE you can try that here: FREE MP3 for Relaxation




Parts of this article appeared on Medscape: Hypnotherapy for IBS Looks Convincing in Randomized Trials - Medscape - Nov 07, 2017.

Add a comment:

Leave a comment:
  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Add a comment