Hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome - The link between mind and body!

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS as it is known is a long-term condition that affects a person's digestive system.  Ten percent of the population can be afflicted with this condition at some point in their life.  Some people suffer far more than others and have to obtain medical help.  The symptoms can range from:


  • fatigue,
  • stomach aches,
  • loose stools,
  • sickness,
  • constipation,
  • flatulence and
  • often coincide with depression and anxiety.  


The food we consume travels through the intestinal tract and if it moves through at an inappropriate speed it can cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  If it moves too rapidly, the body doesn't absorb an adequate amount of liquid creating diarrhoea.  Constipation arises if it moves too slowly and therefore too much water is absorbed.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome can affect anybody but is more common in young adults between the ages of twenty to thirty.  Women are a great deal more likely to suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.


There is no medical cure but scientific studies now suggest that symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are closely linked to emotional tension and stress.  Sufferers have a bowel that either over or under responds when stressed or anxious.  This stress can also cause the brain to over compensate and too many chemicals are released this results in problems in the digestive and immune processes.


People with IBS frequently complain that they've suffered for years without finding any real help. Adjusting one's diet can alleviate symptoms briefly, and medication, for instance antispasmodics and antidepressants, may be given but until the link between the digestive system and the mind becomes clear, Irritable Bowel Syndrome will carry on causing challenges.


There is a very strong link between mind and body, so the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome will probably persist until the stress and psychological pressure is acknowledged.  


Hypnotherapy can be a great choice of treatment for long-term IBS relief.


There are two ways in which it helps:


  1. Through deep relaxation which helps people become less anxious, hypnotherapy in some way reduces the effects of stress on the human body making the bowel less sensitive, thereby reducing symptoms.
  2. Another suggests hypnotherapy may have an impact on a part of the brain which processes pain called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC).


In addition, under hypnosis one can explore the true cause of the stress and anxiousness and help the subconscious overcome the problems.


Extensive research has been undertaken over the last 25 years on hypnotherapeutic techniques as part of the treatment of IBS. Researchers such as Professor Peter Whorwell, Olafur S. Palsson, L.A.Houghton and William Gonsalkorale have directed extensive studies.


There is now a wealth of evidence showing that hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and patients significantly improve in the long-term. Hypnotherapy is not a cure but it is trusted and well-established in reducing the symptoms and giving a sense of control back to sufferers. 


If you suffer from IBS and would like to explore how Hypnotherapy could help you then please contact me.


Janet Elliott, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Mind Massage Hypnotherapy.

"Step by Step to the New You"