IBS - The gut orientated metaphor approach

"Imagine your gut as a river..." - visualising your digestive system as a river may not seem the obvious way of treating your IBS, but by using the highly successful approach of metaphor has an advantage because it is through metaphor and its indirect message(s) that change can begin.

The gut orientated metaphor approach has been around for nearly 30 years, pioneered and clinically tested by NHS consultant gastroenterologist professor Peter Whorwell also known as The Manchester Model. His published research audit of a measured 250 IBS patients concluded that 80% showed significant improvement in their symptoms and overall well-being, lasting up to five years after treatment.

Did you know that in February 2008 The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) published guidance for GP's and consultants, saying that there was good evidence that hypnotherapy was an effective treatment and that it could be recommended for chronic IBS as a psychological intervention. 

Most people appreciate both the physical and mental benefits achieved with relaxation techniques including those from hypnosis. There is a significant involvement in the expression of IBS symptoms in our autonomic nervous system and both of its branches known as the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. These two branches effectively express stress or relaxed reactions respectively. Whilst necessary for many bodily functions, unlike its name, the sympathetic nervous system is more closely related to the expression of anxiety and fear and has been found to be overactive in IBS. We need it's fight or flight response, which corresponds with energy generation, arousal and stimulates orgasm, but unfortunately it inhibits digestion - in particular peristalis (the muscle constriction and relaxation, creating wave-like movements which push the contents of your lower intestine and bowel forward).

Now here's the interesting bit, did you know that the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system promotes a rest and digest response, it promotes calming of the nerves and peristalis to return to their regular function and enhances your digestion.

Just imagine two oval railway tracks, one inside the other with one set of points, by default (and for your survival) your nervous system sits in the sympathetic branch mode. Relaxation using hypnosis switches the points back over to your parasympathetic nervous system giving temporary relief to your IBS symptoms. Now compound this treatment to the metaphor suggestions/story whereby your subconscious mind interperates and learns the methodology with a sprinkling of self-esteem suggestions to equip you with a long-lasting technique to manage your IBS at will using self hypnosis.

Whether you have been advised to just live with your IBS or to contemplate a life of low dose anti depressants, consider the gut orientated metaphor approach, all you need is to sit in a comfy chair
with an open mind and close your eyes and look forward to a better life. A no-brainer really.
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