Published research about using hypnosis to treat IBS
More that 20 research papers have been published since 1984 outlining the efficacy of using hypnosis when treating irritable bowel syndrome. Some of these include:
- Whorwell PJ; Prior A; Faragher EB. Controlled trial of hypnotherapy in the treatment of severe refractory irritable-bowel syndrome. The Lancet 1984
Professor Whorwell’s study is the earliest and perhaps the best study in this research area to date. He conducted a placebo-controlled trial which showed a significant contrast in response between patients who received hypnosis treatment against the placebo group. Thirty patients with severe symptoms unresponsive to other treatment were randomly chosen. Half received seven sessions of hypnotherapy and half seven sessions of psychotherapy and placebo pills. The group receiving psychotherapy showed some improvement in abdominal pain and distension but no improvement in bowel activity. The group receiving hypnotherapy showed a dramatic improvement in all symptoms. This group showed no relapses after a thee-month follow up.
The methods used at New Farm Hypnotherapy are based on these Manchester trials.
- Cognitive Behavioral Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome–Induced Agoraphobia
Hypnotherapy is one of the most successful treatment methods, giving 80+% success rate for abdominal pain and distension. It often results in assisting with other problems such as migraine and tension headaches. With patients who have severe chronic IBS, it was Hypnotherapy patients that showed dramatic improvement in all measures, and they maintained that improvement at a two year follow-up. (1)
There are a number of clinical studies and a body of research on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Likewise, there exists research demonstrating the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in the treatment of IBS. However, there is little written about the integration of CBT and hypnotherapy in the treatment of IBS and a lack of clinical information about IBS-induced agoraphobia. This paper describes the etiology and treatment of IBS-induced agoraphobia. Cognitive, behavioral, and hypnotherapeutic techniques are integrated to provide an effective cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapy (CBH) treatment for IBS-induced agoraphobia. This CBH approach for treating IBS-induced agoraphobia is described and clinical data are reported. (2)
(1) Whorwell P.J; Prior A; Faragher E.B. (1988 & 1987). Whorwell, P.J., Prior, A. & Faragher, E.B. (1984). “Controlled Trial of Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Severe Refractory Irritable-Bowel Syndrome.” Lancet, pp. 1232-1234. Whorwell, P.J., Prior, A. & Colgan, S.M. (1987). “Hypnotherapy in Severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Further Experience.” Gut, 28, 423-425.
(2) Golden W.L. (2000) The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis; Volume 55, Number 2 – April 2000
- Lindfors et al, Am J Gastroenterol. 2012 Effects of gut-directed hypnotherapy on IBS in different clinical settings-results from two randomised, controlled trials. This pair of controlled research trials in Sweden investigated the effects of 12 sessions of gut-directed hypnotherapy for IBS in two different clinical settings. In study 1, 90 patients were randomly assigned to receive either hypnotherapy or supportive therapy in psychology private practices, whereas in the second study 48 patients were randomly assigned to either gut-directed hypnotherapy or a waiting list in a small county hospital. Gastrointestinal symptom severity and quality of life were evaluated at baseline, at 3 months follow-up and after 1 year. In both the studies, IBS-related symptoms were improved at 3 months in the hypnosis groups but not in the control groups. In study 1, hypnosis produced a significantly greater improvement in IBS symptom severity than in the control group (P<0.05), and a trend in the same direction was seen in study 2. The benefits from hypnosis treatment seen at 3 months were sustained up to 1 year.
- Where does hypnotherapy stand in the management of irritable bowel syndrome? A systematic review. Gholamrezaei A, Ardestani SK, Emami MH.Background: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits in the absence of any organic cause. Despite its prevalence, there remains a significant lack of efficient medical treatment for IBS to date. However, according to some previous research studies, hypnosis has been shown to be effective in the treatment of IBS.Aim: To determine the definite efficacy of hypnosis in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.
Methods: A systematic review of the literature on hypnosis in the treatment of IBS from 1970 to 2005 was performed using MEDLINE. Full studies published in English were identified and selected for inclusion. We excluded case studies and those studies in which IBS symptoms were not in the list of outcome measures. All studies were reviewed on the basis of the Rome Working Team recommendations for design of IBS trials.
- Results: From a total of 22 studies, seven were excluded. The results of the reviewed studies showed improved status of all major symptoms of IBS, extracolonic symptoms, quality of life, anxiety, and depression. Furthermore these improvements lasted 2-5 years.Conclusions: Although there are some methodologic inadequacies, all studies show that hypnotherapy is highly effective for patients with refractory IBS, but definite efficacy of hypnosis in the treatment of IBS remains unclear due to lack of controlled trials supporting this finding.
Source: Clinical Hypnotherapy Research Group, Medical Student Research Committee, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (IUMS), Isfahan, Iran. [email protected]