Discover 3 Personal Success Stories: Gut Directed Hypnotherapy for IBS

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Written By Laura

Laura Abbatangelo is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist & Mindset Coach. Based in the UK and working with people from around the World; she offers a tailored approach to individual needs to help people, like you, feel better.

What is Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy?

 

Hypnotherapy for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), also known as Gut-directed hypnotherapy. This is a specialised form of hypnotherapy that is focused on alleviating symptoms of gut-related problems, IBS being the most common. It is a safe and effective treatment option for individuals suffering from this chronic condition. It is recommended by researchers and NICE guidelines due to its effectiveness. Unlike other forms of hypnotherapy, the effects of gut-directed hypnotherapy may specifically target the gut-brain connection. Aiming to improve the communication between the brain and the digestive system. Through relaxation techniques and guided imagery, the therapist helps the patient achieve a deep state of relaxation. In there, the subconscious mind becomes more receptive to suggestions for improvement.

By addressing the underlying psychological factors that contribute to IBS, such as stress, anxiety, and sometimes trauma; gut directed hypnotherapy for IBS work can lead to a reduction in symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel movements. It empowers people to take control of their gut health. It provides them with tools and techniques to manage their symptoms independently; whilst working on the gut-mind axis. Gut-directed hypnotherapy has gained recognition as an evidence-based therapy for IBS and offers hope for anybody looking for a long-term solution to manage their symptoms.

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

 

 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine. It is characterized by symptoms like abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but many experts believe it may be related to a combination of factors, including abnormal muscle contractions in the intestine, increased sensitivity to pain in the gut, and an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. While IBS can be uncomfortable and even debilitating at times, it is not a life-threatening condition nor does it increase the risk of other serious diseases. The symptoms of IBS can vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe. It can be managed through lifestyle changes such as stress reduction, dietary modifications (such as avoiding trigger foods), and medications to help relieve symptoms. Hypnotherapy is an effective treatment that helps IBS sufferers.

How does Hypnotherapy work?

 

Hypnotherapy is a type of brief talking therapy that harnesses the power of suggestion and relaxation to influence the subconscious mind positively. When it comes to IBS, this approach aims to alleviate symptoms and offer long-term relief to people with IBS.

IBS is closely tied to stress and anxiety, which can exacerbate symptoms. Effective IBS hypnotherapy helps individuals with IBS manage stress and anxiety through a number of different ways, promoting relaxation and reducing emotional triggers that can lead to IBS flare-ups. Here’s a brief overview of how hypnotherapy for IBS typically works in this practice:

  1. Patient’s History: During the first hypnotherapy sessions, I will learn about your history with IBS and any significant life events. We might identify specific triggers that worsen their IBS symptoms. This may include stress, certain foods, or emotional factors.
  2. Interventions & Relaxation Techniques: After assessing each case, throughout the sessions there will be different interventions used as well as guided relaxations to help us tap deep into your mind.
  3. Suggestion: While in this relaxed state and under hypnosis, I will offer suggestions aimed at reducing stress or anxiety and promoting better digestive function. These suggestions can help reprogram the patient’s subconscious reactions to IBS triggers.
  4. Self-Hypnosis: Patients are often taught self-hypnosis techniques to use on their own to manage IBS symptoms when needed.
  5. Consolidation: For long-lasting effects, an effective treatment for IBS will offer a consolidation of the work we have been doing. Usually, through the use of relaxation and hypnotic recordings.

Hypnotherapy for IBS

Personal Stories of Hypnotherapy for IBS

The following personal stories of IBS patients are real cases, their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Giving Hypnotherapy for IBS a go

Amy is in her mid-30s, single, and works in a fast-paced environment for a laboratory; which she enjoys. For over a decade, she has been experiencing some IBS symptoms; however, in the past year, they have been debilitating. She couldn’t have a social life, and felt anxious at the idea of going anywhere as the need to have a toilet nearby (just in case of need) was a priority. Constantly worried about her symptoms: abdominal pain and sudden need to go to the toilet were the main ones; but she also experienced some waves of nausea. After seeing her GP, having had several tests, trying IBS medication, low FODMAP diet, and even consultations with gastroenterologists; she was finally recommended to try hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome by a doctor.

For Amy, it was a stretch starting the hypnotherapy work; and during the first consultation we talked about different studies and their positive outcomes; she needed evidence that hypnotherapy was not a woo-woo thing. She remained open-minded and happy to give it a go. We worked on several aspects of her life, including some significant events in her family over a year ago, which she couldn’t link at all to his afflictions. After the first session, she was surprised to report to feel already about 70% better from the symptoms of IBS. We worked together for 5 sessions; after which she disclosed feeling more relaxed and in control of any shadow of symptoms.

Hypnotherapy for IBS

Finding Relief from IBS Symptoms After Years of Suffering

Thomas, a 38-year-old Project Manager, had been living with IBS since his early 30s. His symptoms included: bloating, constipation, sudden bowel movements, and social anxiety. After trying dietary changes, his symptoms persisted, affecting both his personal. Thomas researched his options and decided to try a course of gut-directed hypnotherapy.

After only 4 IBS hypnotherapy sessions, Thomas experienced a remarkable improvement in his IBS symptoms. We continued to treat IBS and worked on his social anxiety for another 5 more sessions. He can now confidently meet with friends and new people; his symptoms have radically reduced and he said he found that hypnosis for IBS has helped with symptom relief. He could finally enjoy meals without fear and even attend social gatherings without the constant worry of an impending flare-up. Thomas found that hypnotherapy has been shown to help and has given him the tools to manage his condition effectively.

Reclaiming a Normal Life

Sara, a 23-year-old sportswoman, has been experiencing IBS for almost 2 years. During this time she had to stop working, and training. Decided to move back with his parents for support. She couldn’t attend any social events and had a very restrictive diet. For over a year, she has been seeing different doctors, who have run tests of different sorts. She often found herself canceling plans with friends and missing out on important events due to her unpredictable symptoms. A family member suggested to try with hypnotherapy since it helped them in the past.  Desperate for a solution, she turned to hypnotherapy. Her symptoms included bloating, stomach pains, and nausea.

After feeling like she had already tried everything, Sara chose me to be her hypnotherapist. Working together, we notice how her nervous system in the past been under stress; and the gut brain connection took over. Her levels of stress and anxiety were relatively low when we started to work, however, due to her symptoms and the almost loss of hope, she was depressed. Saras’s journey with hypnotherapy was transformative. Not only did her physical symptoms improve, but her overall quality of life also soared. She no longer felt controlled by IBS and her gastrointestinal symptoms; the newfound confidence allowed her to go back to employment, restart her physical training, and build stronger relationships.

Hypnotherapy for IBS

Gut-directed Hypnotherapy, NICE Guidelines

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom provides guidelines for healthcare professionals based on the latest evidence and research. These guidelines aim to ensure that patients receive the most effective treatments available. In recent years, NICE has recognized the potential of hypnotherapy for IBS.

According to NICE guidelines, hypnotherapy for IBS may be considered as a treatment option for individuals related to IBS. This recognition underscores the growing acceptance of hypnotherapy as a legitimate and effective approach to managing IBS relief.

Up to 72% Symptoms Reductions:

Gut-directed Hypnotherapy Work

A study from Monash University, surprised even the researchers. The results showed how hypnotherapy helps to reduce gut symptoms by up to 72%. The gut function can be improved through hypnotherapy in a more convenient way than a low FODMAP diet can do.

You can read more about the research here: How hypnotherapy is helping people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome

There are more studies which talk about the efficacy of hypnotherapy for IBS. This research article published by GUT, a respectable source of information, provides more information on the topic. You can read on the following link: Hypnotherapy in severe irritable bowel syndrome

Example of an IBS Hypnotherapy Session

 

Sessions are conversations and patients with IBS will discuss their symptoms as well as any significant events in their lives. Due to the gut and brain axis, any miscommunication is not always evident. We will then move to an intervention, which is a type a framed exercise; and can sometimes be directed to anxiety and stress. In the last part of the session, we conclude it, sometimes with some homework and most of the time with a guided relaxation. In between sessions, you might receive a personalised recording to aid the work during each session.

Conclusions on Treatment for IBS

 

Hypnotherapy for IBS is not a one-size-fits-all solution. But the personal success stories shared above demonstrate its potential to transform the lives of individuals suffering from this condition. By addressing the gut-brain connection and reducing stress and anxiety, hypnotherapy offers a promising avenue for relief and improved quality of life.

As more healthcare professionals and organizations like NICE acknowledge the benefits of hypnotherapy, we can expect to see increased accessibility to this treatment option for individuals with IBS. If you or someone you know is struggling with IBS, consider exploring hypnotherapy as one of your first options, as it is one of the most successful treatment options to heal and reduce IBS symptoms. It has the potential to bring relief, hope, and a return to a more vibrant and fulfilling life.

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