Hypnotherapy and irritable bowel syndrome

A therapy called “gut directed hypnotherapy” was developed specifically for those suffering from IBS.

by Irene Conlan — 

Although irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not a new disease, it is now being seen more and more often in doctors’ and therapists’ offices. IBS is not life-threatening, but it can be debilitating, embarrassing and a nuisance to those who suffer from it. General symptoms of IBS include diarrhea and/or constipation, bloating and abdominal pain. Traditional treatment includes change in diet, antispasmodic drugs, muscle relaxants and stress reduction.

Unfortunately, the drug treatment protocol is not effective for everyone with IBS. And though many people suffering with IBS do not want the “drug regimen,” they are looking for a treatment plan that works. Even with treatment, people with IBS often are afraid to leave their homes for fear of having an embarrassing “accident.” They become anxious anytime they aren’t in close proximity to a restroom.

A therapy called “gut directed hypnotherapy” was developed specifically for those suffering from IBS. Extensive studies demonstrate that with the use of this form of hypnosis, symptoms were reduced in 80 percent of those experiencing IBS, and improvements lasted long after completing the treatment (see

Stress has been found to be an underlying culprit of many illnesses in our fast-paced culture, so the logical place to start working is with relaxation and stress reduction. Other areas needing exploration and attention are the connections between the IBS symptoms and life events, thoughts and feelings. In other words, when and why did the IBS start? What were the life circumstances at the time? How are the client’s health, stress, thoughts and attitudes? What is the client’s anxiety level and how can it be reduced? Is attaining perfection in all areas of life a personal requirement for the client?

A series of weekly hypnotherapy sessions is generally required in the treatment of IBS. The number of sessions depends on many factors: the ability of the client to work in hypnosis; the level of participation in his/her own treatment program; the desire to get well; and his/her ability to resolve the stresses and traumas of everyday living. Generally, the hypnotherapist will provide the client with CDs or tapes to use at home between sessions, as well as assignments directed at changing negative thoughts and speech toward a more positive orientation.

IBS requires a holistic hypnotherapeutic approach. It is one disease that clearly demonstrates that what affects one part of a human being affects the whole of that being. Emotions, thoughts, physicality, attitudes and environment — anything that impinges on the client — must be considered in order for balance to be restored.

If you suffer from IBS, you might want to consider hypnotherapy — a scientifically proven treatment modality for this disease.


Irene Conlan has a master’s degree in nursing, is a certified hypnotherapist and a certified past-life regression therapist in Scottsdale, Ariz. or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 2, April/May 2006.

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