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How can hypnotherapy help with IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is an uncomfortable and debilitating condition of the digestive system that can cause bloating, cramps, pain, diarrhoea, constipation, gas and nausea. This chronic condition can lead to secondary emotional issues such as anxiety, depression and fatigue.

IBS can be described as a ‘biopsychosocial’ disorder meaning that the condition is caused by the interaction of a number of factors such as biological factors (genetic, biochemical, etc), psychological factors (mood, personality, behaviour, etc.), and social factors (cultural, familial, socioeconomic, medical, etc.). It can also be considered as an issue between the mind and body and a “confusion” in the signals being passed from the brain to the gut preventing it from functioning normally.

There have been many studies in the past that have shown that gut directed hypnotherapy, along with taking an holistic approach, can help improve the physical and emotional issues associated with IBS and improve the quality of life. Due to the success of this type of therapy the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) have recognised it as an effective treatment for IBS.

I have successfully worked with many clients myself to help them overcome issues with IBS and have found that there are some common factors with IBS sufferers (not all may apply to you):

  • Stress and constant worrying and/or taking part in high impact exercising

  • Ex-eating disorder and a belief that they have damaged the gut

  • Holding onto emotional issues from the past

  • An issue in the past that has led to the client feeling that they are not in control of some aspect of their life

  • Anxiety around food and what it is going to do to the gut

I have found that taking an holistic approach to be very effective with clients. This can include some or all of the following:

hypnotherapy, ibs
  • Explaining how the gut works

  • Following a restriction diet until symptoms start subsiding then reintroducing food slowly.

  • Managing stress by taking part in daily meditation or some other stress management technique.

  • Reducing any high intensity exercises and replacing with something like yoga.

  • Using hypnotherapy to:

    • Let go of any emotions from the past

    • Change any ideas of not being in control in life

    • Reframe ideas of damage that has been caused to the gut

    • Correcting the signals from the brain to the gut to gain control over the gut and encourage it to start working as it should

    • Soothing and calming the gut with a warm hand

    • Encouraging mindful eating to appreciate the nourishing qualities of food and reduce any anxiety around food

  • A hypnotherapy CD or MP3 for the patient to listen to on a daily basis as a constant reminder to:

    • Gain control over the gut

    • Soothe and relax the gut and using imagery to create an idea of the gut working “normally, calmly, and smoothly”

    • Eat mindfully and in a relaxed state which helps reduce any anxiety associated with food

    • Using the patient’s imagination to “see” him/herself in situations that could normally cause anxiety around food and “seeing” him/herself managing the situation and not experiencing any symptoms.

The treatment can take 6 – 12 sessions dependant on the patient’s willingness to adhere to the advice and guidance provided.

If you would like to know how I can help you please do not hesitate to get in touch for a free no obligation chat.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only, always check with your GP first before embarking on any health regime.


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