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Hypnotherapy to manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

woman with both hands over stomach area

If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you will be very aware of how draining the physical and mental effects can be, especially if you've had to cope with the condition for a long time. Whether you have IBS constipation-only, IBS diarrhoea-only, or IBS alternating, it is a real challenge to deal with the reality of physical symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, incontinence, malnutrition, stomach rumbling, trapped wind and weight gain/loss. And at the same time, manage the mental/emotional impacts of these physical symptoms, which often lead to increased levels of anxiety, low-self esteem and depression.

The good news is that hypnotherapy has a singular ability to help you, on both the physical and mental/emotional levels. This is because hypnotherapy is very good at instilling deep physical relaxation, which directly affects the sympathetic nervous system. Given that the gut is linked to the sympathetic nervous system, this makes hypnotherapy a particularly effective treatment for restoring GI function and managing symptoms. In addition, hypnotherapy is also able to help you change behaviours and make significant improvements to your mental state, which in turn reduce stress levels and symptoms.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and British Medical Association (BMA) specifically recommend hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). NICE recommends hypnotherapy as a treatment option when pharmacological treatment has not proved effective for 12 months (pp 19, NICE Clinical Guidance 61 – Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults, February 2008), and the BMA recommends 10 sessions of hypnotherapy for successful treatment. Many hypnotherapists have found that fewer sessions are effective, especially when supported by self-hypnosis recordings.

How hypnotherapy can help IBS

In general, most people start to experience positive changes (physical, mental and emotional) from the first session, with solid improvements in symptoms and management over 3 - 5 sessions. Using hypnotherapy to help with the impact of IBS involves the following general elements for immediate symptom relief and mood improvement, with bespoke elements in subsequent sessions to make the therapy more personal to you:

  • understanding how the mind and body affect each other, and how this works with IBS
  • relaxation and stress management
  • the importance of building a positive view of yourself, so that you have the resources to begin making the changes that will be needed
  • updating any pessimistic, negative beliefs, especially those experienced as clutter, holding on, stagnation and feeling stuck/blocked
  • how to manage symptoms whenever they occur, using self-hypnosis and pain management techniques eg glove anaesthesia
  • Addressing and improving more general feelings of being out of control, frustrated, uncomfortable in your own skin; as well as chronic low self-esteem, anxiety, isolation, depression

For more information about hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS), or to book an appointment, contact Sian on 07725 732810 or email.

...since the session, I've noticed a really dramatic change, especially with the tendency to pick & scratch my arms when I get anxious or nervous. It's like my hands just don't want to do it any more, instead they just glide over. It's a really amazing change!...
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...I found the sessions very useful, as I'm much more relaxed now and pulling my hair less and less. I was very nervous beforehand, but you put me at ease straight away. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the results: I feel more in control, my scalp is looking much better, and I even have some new hair growing back!...
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...I cannot thank Sian enough for helping me overcome my fear of speaking French. This resulted in me being able to enjoy a great holiday, unmarred by any major worry about speaking the language when required. I never thought that would be possible!...
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...since our last session over 5 weeks ago, I have carried on with the success from the first session, with only 2 nights of disturbed sleep in this period. This is an unbelievable change from sleep walking and talking every night for almost 20 years!...
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...I have to say that my recent therapy achieved far more than my expectations. After only three sessions, I have managed to put some very negative past experiences behind me, and I can already see huge positive changes in my outlook and ability to cope with anxiety and stressful situations...
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