Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful condition of the gastrointenstinal system, and it is estimated that as many as eight million people suffer from it in the UK alone.
IBS is thought to be due to changes in the way the gut functions. The gut goes into spasms which causes stomach pain, bloating, feelings of cramp on the sides of the abdomen, a ‘popping’ or gurgling sound especially on the left side of the abdomen, diarrhoea which may last for days or weeks, constipation to feelings of lethargy and generally feeling unwell. These symptoms may lead to time off work, avoiding social situations, for example if suffering from diarrhoea, to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Little is known as to the actual causes of IBS although the medical profession have generally ruled out that the disorder is a psychological one. However, what is known is that stress contributes greatly to the symptoms of IBS.
Research over the last 10 years, especially by Professor Whorwell at Manchester University, has suggested that people with IBS may have an oversensitive intestines. A vast majority of this research was based on subjects receiving hypnosis.
Hypnosis has been found to be extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. In fact studies, have shown that hypnosis is still effective even after five years of having initial treatment. Furthermore, hypnosis has often been found to reduce nearly all the symptoms associated with the disorder rather than just a few, thus being more effective than medication alone.
It has been suggested that the reason hypnosis works is that it reduces the gut sensitivity. In particular, hypnosis may modulate how the brain sends messages to the gut, and that this in turn helps to regulate the intestines.
Hypnosis is a powerful therapeutic tool in the treatment of IBS and many people report positive results after only three sessions. Even people with severe symptoms who have tried conventional treatment have also said to have benefitted from hypnosis. So if you suffer from IBS, why not try hypnosis? After all, it is one of the safest and relaxing therapies you may ever experience.
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About James Tiley
James Tiley is a hypnotherapist based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Originally he trained in Psychology and was a researcher at both Cardiff and Bristol Universities.
He specialises in hypnosis for IBS, pain management especially for hypermobility syndrome, weight-loss and psychosexual issues.