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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): How can hypnotherapy help?
Hypnotherapy has been proven to be highly effective in alleviating IBS symptoms. Over 15 years of solid scientific research has demonstrated hypnotherapy as an effective, safe and inexpensive choice for IBS symptom alleviation. The NICE Clinical Practice Guidelines for IBS actually recommends hypnotherapy, CBT and other psychological therapy after 12 months of non-effective drug therapy.
“Nine out of ten 10 people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) benefited from hypnotherapy, and 4 in 10 saw their symptoms clear up completely, according to new research by leading UK gastroenterologist Professor Roland Valori.” Irritable bowel syndrome eased by hypnotherapy Telegraph.co.uk, Rebecca Smith, Published: 7:20AM GMT 18 Mar 201
Hypnotherapy routinely produces long term positive results in over 80% of the people who use it. The NICE Clinical Practice Guidelines for IBS actually recommends hypnotherapy, CBT and other psychological therapy after 12 months of non-effective drug therapy.
NICE Clinical Practice Guidelines for IBS in adults, February 2008:
“RECOMMENDATION Referral for psychological interventions (cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT], hypnotherapy and/or psychological therapy) should be considered for people with IBS who do not respond to pharmacological treatments after 12 months and who develop a continuing symptom profile (described as refractory IBS).” Page 464
Hypnotherapy is often thought to be therapy that only affects the mind, but as mind and body are inseparably joined, hypnosis can also help physical ailments.
For Irritable Bowel Syndrome, one of hypnotherapy’s greatest benefits is its well-established ability to reduce the effects of stress. Your state of mind can have a direct impact on your physical well-being, even when you’re in the best of health. If you’re struggling with IBS, the tension, anxiety, and depression that comes from living with an incurable illness can actually undermine your immune system and further compromise your health. Hypnosis can reduce this stress and its resultant negative impact by placing you in a deeply relaxed state, promoting positive thoughts and coping strategies, and clearing your mind of negative attitudes.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in fact is almost uniquely suited to treatment by hypnosis or self-hypnosis, for several reasons. First, as just noted, stress-related attacks can be significantly reduced. Second, one of the most impressive aspects from hypnotherapy, and of tremendous benefit to IBS sufferers, is its well-documented ability to relieve virtually all types and degrees of pain. Finally, because IBS is not a disease at all but a syndrome, if you can relieve and prevent the symptoms, you have effectively cured yourself of the disorder, and you will be living an IBS free life. This outcome is a definite possibility from hypnotherapy treatments.
As with other alternative therapies, though there is solid evidence that hypnotherapy can provide lasting health benefits for many patients, there is uncertainty about precisely how and why the treatments work. Most scientists believe that hypnotherapy acts upon the unconscious, and affects the body’s regulation of involuntary reactions that are normally beyond a person’s control. Hypnosis puts these autonomic responses under the patient’s power. Happily, treatment is suitable for people of all ages, for males and females, and there are no risks or side effects.
“IBS is ideal for treatment with hypnosis, as there is no structural damage to the body,” Professor Whorwell explained. “During the hypnotherapy, sufferers learn how to influence and gain control of their gut function, and then seem to be able to change the way the brain modulates their gut activity.”
“The treatment has a success rate of about 70%, and Professor Whorwell believes that hypnotherapy, although it’s labour intensive, could be an extremely effective treatment for the condition; and a less expensive alternative to new, costly drugs coming onto the market.”
“We’ve found it to help all the symptoms, whereas some of the drugs available reduce only a few,” he said. “As IBS can be a life-long condition it could clearly be a very valuable option for patients” Hypnotherapy treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome discovered
University of Manchester, School of Medicine, Published: November 2005
When you are ready to make the inner changes you need to overcome your IBS, just Click here to email or phone me on 0161 881 4333 to make an appointment now.
Common symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may include:
- Abdominal pain and spasm
- Bloated stomach
- Rumbling noises and wind
- Urgency – a need to rush and open the bowels
- A feeling of incomplete emptying of the bowels
- Incontinence if a toilet is not nearby
- A sharp pain felt low down inside the rectum
- Nausea, belching and vomiting
What is an Irritable Bowel?
Medically, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is known by a variety of other terms: spastic colon, spastic colitis, mucous colitis and nervous or functional bowel. Usually, it is a disorder of the large intestine (colon), although other parts of the intestinal tract – even up to the stomach – can be affected.
The colon, the last five feet of the intestine, serves two functions in the body. First, it dehydrates and stores the stool so that, normally, a well-formed soft stool occurs. Second, it quietly propels the stool from the right side over to the rectum, storing it there until it can be evacuated. This movement occurs by rhythmic contractions of the colon.
When IBS occurs, the colon does not contract normally. instead, it seems to contract in a disorganized, at times violent, manner. The contractions may be terribly exaggerated and sustained, lasting for prolonged periods of time. One area of the colon may contract with no regard to another. At other times, there may be little bowel activity at all. These abnormal contractions result in changing bowel patterns with constipation being most common.
A second major feature of IBS is abdominal discomfort or pain. This may move around the abdomen rather than remain localized in one area. These dis-organized, exaggerated and painful contractions lead to certain problems. The pattern of bowel movements is often altered. Diarrhea may occur, especially after meals, as the entire colon contracts and moves liquid stool quickly into the rectum. Or, localized areas of the colon may remain contracted for a prolonged time. When this occurs, which often happens in the section of colon just above the rectum, the stool may be retained for a prolonged period and be squeezed into small pellets. Excessive water is removed from the stool and it becomes hard.
Also, air may accumulate behind these localized contractions, causing the bowel to swell. So bloating and abdominal distress may occur. Some patients see gobs of mucous in the stool and become concerned. Mucous is a normal secretion of the bowel, although most of the time it cannot be seen. IBS patients sometimes produce large amounts of mucous, but this is not a serious problem.
The cause of most IBS symptoms — diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain — are due to this abnormal physiology.
IBS is not a disease. Although the symptoms of IBS may be severe, the disorder itself is not a serious one. There is no actual disease present in the colon. In fact, an operation performed on the abdomen would reveal a perfectly normal appearing bowel.
Rather, it is a problem of abnormal function. The condition usually begins in young people, usually below 40 and often in the teens. The symptoms may wax and wane, being particularly severe at some times and absent at others. Over the years, the symptoms tend to become less intense.
IBS is extremely common and is present in perhaps half the patients that see a specialist in gastroenterology. It tends to run in families. The disorder does not lead to cancer. Prolonged contractions of the colon, however, may lead to Diverticulosis, a disorder in which balloon-like pockets push out from the bowel wall because of excessive, prolonged contractions.
While our knowledge is still incomplete about the function and malfunction of the large bowel, some facts are well-known. Certain foods, such as coffee, alcohol, spices, raw fruits, vegetables, and even milk, can cause the colon to malfunction. In these instances avoidance of these substances is the simplest treatment.
Infections, illnesses and even changes in the weather somehow can be associated with a flare-up in symptoms. So can the premenstrual cycle in the female.
By far, the most common factor associated with the symptoms of IBS are the interactions between the brain and the gut. The bowel has a rich supply of nerves that are in communication with the brain. Virtually everyone has had, at one time or another, some alteration in bowel function when under intense stress, such as before an important athletic event, school examination, or a family conflict.
People with IBS seem to have an overly sensitive bowel, and perhaps a super abundance of nerve impulses flowing to the gut, so that the ordinary stresses and strains of living somehow result in colon malfunction.
These exaggerated contractions can be demonstrated experimentally by placing pressure- sensing devices in the colon. Even at rest, with no obvious stress, the pressures tend to be higher than normal. With the routine interactions of daily living, these pressures tend to rise dramatically. When an emotionally charged situation is discussed, they can reach extreme levels not attained in people without IBS. These symptoms are due to real physiologic changes in the gut — a gut that tends to be inherently overly sensitive, and one that overreacts to the stresses and strains of ordinary living.
The diagnosis of IBS often can be suspected just by a review of the patient’s medical history. In the end it is a diagnosis of exclusion; that is, other conditions of the bowel need to be ruled out before a firm diagnosis of IBS can be made. Diagnosis of IBS should be confirmed by a qualified medical practitioner.
A number of diseases of the gut, such as inflammation, cancer, and infection, can mimic some or all of the IBS symptoms. Certain medical tests are helpful in making this diagnosis, including blood, urine and stool exams, x-rays of the intestinal tract and a lighted tube exam of the lower intestine. This exam is called endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
Additional tests often are required depending on the specific circumstances in each case. If the proper medical history is obtained and if other diseases are ruled out, a firm diagnosis of IBS then can usually be made.
The treatment of IBS is directed to both the gut and the psyche. The diet requires review, with those foods that aggravate symptoms being avoided.
Current medical thinking about diet has changed a great deal in recent years. There is good evidence to suggest that, where tolerated, a high roughage and bran diet is helpful. This diet can result in larger, softer stools which seem to reduce the pressures generated in the colon.
Large amounts of beneficial fibre can be obtained by taking over-the-counter bulking agents such as psyllium mucilloid (Metamucil, Konsyl) or methylcellulose (Citrucel).
As many people have already discovered, the simple act of eating may, at times, activate the colon. This action is a normal reflex, although in IBS patients it tends to be exaggerated. It is sometimes helpful to eat smaller, more frequent meals to block this reflex.
There are certain medications that help the colon by relaxing the muscles in the wall of the colon, thereby reducing the bowel pressure. These drugs are called antispasmodics. Since stress and anxiety may play a role in these symptoms, it can at times be helpful to use a mild sedative, often in combination with an antispasmodic.
Physical exercise, too, is helpful. During exercise, the bowel typically quiets down. If exercise is used regularly and if physical fitness or conditioning develops, the bowel may tend to relax even during non-exercise periods. The invigorating effects of conditioning, of course, extend far beyond the intestine and can be recommended for general health maintenance.
As important as anything else in controlling IBS is learning stress reduction, or at least how to control the body’s response to stress. It certainly is well-known that the brain can exert controlling effects over many organs in the body, including the intestine.
Patients with IBS can be assured that nothing serious is wrong with the bowel. Prevention and treatment may involve a simple change in certain daily habits, reduction of stressful situations, eating better and exercising regularly.
Perhaps the most important aspect of treatment is reassurance. For most patients, just knowing that there is nothing seriously wrong is the best treatment of all, especially if they can learn to deal with their symptoms on their own.
What happens during the treatment?
I have received specialist training in treating IBS using hypnotherapy. I am also a qualified and experienced UKCP Registered Psychotherapist, Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Life Coach and a Licensed NLP Master Practitioner. I have trained with some of the best hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and NLP trainers. I integrate all my skills and experience to produce a treatment that is tailored to your needs. So that I can help you to treat your IBS in the most effortless ways possible.
I use the OPSIM1 (Gut-Specific) method of treatment, which will require 5 one hour sessions with daily practice at home between the sessions. The 5 sessions are spread out over a three month period.
Over the course of the treatment:
You will become familiar with the hypnotherapy process, allowing you to learn that it is safe and pleasant, and that you are in complete control at all times. You will begin the process of reducing anxiety and developing calming thoughts, which in turn reduces the negative thought patterns which trigger your IBS.
We will address the thoughts which create and stimulate the symptoms of IBS and teach you ways to control the speed of the peristalsis (movement of your digestive system) allowing a more normal bowel movement. You will also learn ways to reduce or eliminate pain and discomfort caused by the IBS.
You will release old unresourceful thought patterns that have been triggering or maintaining your IBS symptoms and develop new enhancing positive thought patterns.
Cost when paying per session:
5 sessions are usually required for a complete IBS treatment. See the consultation fees page for session prices and discounts.
Cost when paying in advance:
Special offer Save 20%, when you pay for all your sessions in advance.
When paying in advance any unused sessions are refunded if you decide to end the treatment.
I am not part of the NHS but I am a registered NHS Independent Provider (Number 8GM17) which means that I am able to accept payment from the NHS. The NICE Guidelines for IBS (p464) actually recommends that doctors use hypnotherapy / CBT / psychotherapy for IBS treatment after 12 months of non effective drug therapy. You will need to discuss this option with your doctor or consultant and ask them if they will fund your treatment. The success of this will largely be dependent on the funding policies and attitudes of your local health authority and your doctor.
For your information, to date in over 8 years of private practice I have yet to receive a single client from the Greater Manchester region who has had their treatment fees paid by the NHS. I can therefore only assume that either the Manchester health authority policy is not to pay for IBS hypnotherapy treatment, or that doctors are not aware of the NICE recommendations to use hypnotherapy and other psychological methods.
I practice both from a consulting room in my home in Chorlton in South Manchester, and from a clinic on Harley Street, London. If you can’t travel to me then I am also available for online therapy, counselling and coaching via Skype. Within easy travelling distance of Withington, Didsbury, Fallowfield, Stretford, Whalley Range, Salford, Sale, Altrincham, Eccles, Urmston, Worsley and Stockport.