Hypnotherapy for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders in England

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) would seem to be a disorder that might be amenable to treatment with hypnosis. There is no structural damage and the various possible underlying mechanisms such as disordered motility and visceral (internal) sensitivity might be susceptible to modulation by the mind. Thus, nearly 20 years ago, we undertook the first controlled trial of hypnotherapy in this disorder. The results were extremely encouraging and eventually led us to developing a hypnotherapy unit dedicated to the provision of this service. ......

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Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2008 Jun;64(6):621- 3. Epub 2008 Apr 28. Links.

Hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome: the response of colonic and noncolonic symptoms.

Whorwell PJ.
University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. peter.whorwell@ manchseter. ac.uk

There is now good evidence that hypnotherapy benefits a substantial proportion of patients
with irritable bowel syndrome and that improvement is maintained for many years. Most
patients seen in secondary care with this condition also suffer from a wide range of
noncolonic symptoms such as backache and lethargy, as well as a number of
musculoskeletal, urological, and gynacological problems. These features do not typically
respond well to conventional medical treatment approaches, but fortunately, their intensity
is often reduced by hypnosis. The mechanisms by which hypnosis mediates its benefit are
not entirely clear, but there is evidence that, in addition to its psychological effects, it can
modulate gastrointestinal physiology, alter the central processing of noxious stimuli, and
even influence immune function.

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