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Woman struggling with IBS pain

Hypnotherapy Can Control IBS

Hypnotherapy Can Control IBS

Do you or someone you know live with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? IBS is a condition that up to 15% of the worldwide population are struggling with but often it takes a while to be diagnosed, or it’s misdiagnosed. This is because many people struggle with digestive symptoms but never mention them to a doctor. 

It’s common to try many IBS treatments and remedies on your own — probiotics, avoiding spicy foods, or going gluten-free. In the meantime you walk around wondering what is going on with your gut. 

When you have IBS — life can be rather debilitating for the people who live with it, with symptoms like altered bowel habits, discomfort, bloating and/or pain.

A restricted diet is not a long term solution

IBS sufferers commonly have had tests to check for intolerances, maybe even having a colonoscopy and then often end up on a very restricted FODMAP diet. (FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). 

The problem is that the FODMAP diet was only ever considered a short term solution. But very often people end up having a very restricted eating plant for the rest of their lives. 

And to make matters worse I have often found that clients who come to see me have restricted their diets even further and thereby having a very limited number of foods.

But what if the problem wasn’t so much about the food that you are eating but about the communication within your body? What if there was a way to address IBS by addressing this communication within your body? What if there was an IBS treatment that is approx. 70% effective? See this Monash University Article for further information.

There needed to be a new approach to IBS.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could send your digestive tract soothing messages? The people that come to my clinic, are often seeking a new option to treat their IBS. They just want to return to “normalcy.” They want to be able to live their life and plan ahead without worrying that they won’t be well. 

We have learnt over the past few years that there is a strong connection between the Mind and the Gut. This connection goes in both directions. A disturbed connection between the gut and the brain can trigger the many possible symptoms of IBS — and play a role in other problems.

The microbes in our gut are in close proximity to the nervous system of our body. They can pick up information coming down from the nervous system about us being stressed or anxious. In turn those microbes send signals back to the mind, and in the process often re-enforcing the message and even altering our mood.

Introducing, Gut-directed hypnotherapy

Gut-directed hypnotherapy is an IBS treatment that uses hypnosis and directly addresses the impact the mind has on the gut. 

During gut directed hypnotherapy the hypnotherapist works with the client on changing the symptoms. The therapist uses different techniques such as guided visualisations or direct suggestions. 

How it works

  • Patients meet me in person or by video-conference. And I guide them step by step into a relaxed state.
  • Once patients enter the hypnotic state, they are taken through visualisation exercises and hear suggestions designed to calm their digestive tract and wean them away from focusing on gut sensations.
  • Stress has a very strong influence on IBS symptoms. Another part of the therapy addresses the body’s response to stress and how to calm down the nervous system. (If you would like find out easy ways to reduce your stress, go to our Relaxation Toolbox).
  • And finally hypnotherapy also addresses underlying subconscious beliefs that feed the dysfunction of the gut.
  • In addition client gets a take home recording to listen to. This recording helps them to really strengthen the suggestions given to them during therapy sessions

Ideally when working with this approach over time, the person is able to re-introduce more foods into the diet. At this stage an analysis of the gut microbiome can provide very useful information. It tells us what foods to increase in the diet and which foods to avoid in order to support healthy gut microbes that leave you in control of your IBS.