You are getting very…very…sleepy. But stay with me for a moment here, because a new study may just offer some great health advice for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers have found the alternative therapy of hypnosis to be highly effective. Nearly half their patients watched their symptoms lessen.
The health news hails from Sweden, where a study found that, among 346 patients, hypnotherapy alleviated symptoms in 40% of them. Plus: the improvement is long-term.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 15% of adults in Western countries suffer IBS. Its symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel habits. Mild symptoms can be helped through lifestyle advice and some medical treatments, but those with severe symptoms lack an effective treatment option.
Could Hypnotherapy Provide Relief For IBS?
The new study shows that hypnotherapy could lead to lasting relief for even severe symptoms. It was actually two separate studies and, in one, 138 patients with IBS received hypnotherapy for one hour a week over 12 weeks. This one showed that 40% had satisfactory reduction in symptoms, compared with 12% in the untreated control group.
In the other study, 208 patients who had previously received hypnotherapy were examined. The results showed that 85% of those who had been helped by hypnosis still felt the benefits of the treatment up to seven years later. What’s more is that the majority of these adults continued to actively use hypnotherapy in their everyday lives.
What hypnosis does is allow a patient to learn to control symptoms — through deep relaxation and individually adapted hypnotic suggestions. The idea is indeed for a person to take this technique home with them and use it themselves in everyday life.
In both studies, it was poignantly clear that this alternative therapy led to a substantial improvement in the quality of life for those with IBS. Also, it cut trips to the doctor for stomach and bowel symptoms by 70%.
The conclusion: hypnotherapy belongs in the arsenal of treatments for irritable bowel syndrome. And that is welcome news to anyone who has suffered its frustrating symptoms.