Those suffering with the debilitating effects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can turn to dietary changes, medications…and now, hypnotherapy.
In past studies, researchers found that hypnotherapy, which is fast gaining credibility in the medical community as a treatment to manage pain, can be successfully used to relieve symptoms of IBS. But a recent study conducted by specialists at the University Medical Centre Utrecht represents one of the most comprehensive studies of the effects of hypnotherapy to date, taking research even further in the right direction for IBS sufferers.
Hypnotherapy Survey Says…
According to Medical News Today, this new study found that subjects who used hypnosis had better short-term relief than their control group counterparts. In addition, subjects reported the positive effects of their treatment when surveyed 9 months later.
“’We do not know exactly how gut-directed hypnotherapy works,’ says lead researcher Dr. Carla Flik according to the article, ‘but it may change patients’ mindset and internal coping mechanisms, enabling them to increase their control over autonomic body processes, such as how they process pain and modulate gut activity.’”
The other important insight of the study, which researched subjects that were treated in groups, is that hypnotherapy can be just as affective in group therapy sessions. What this means is that hypnotherapy could end up being a very cost-effective solution to a very persistent problem. This is a big step in the right direction for a form of therapy that is still looking to break into the mainstream of treatment options.
More Than Mumbo Jumbo?
Though hypnotherapy has many forms, most versions work by the use of direct suggestion, breathing techniques, and other psychologically-directed exercises. Psychology Today describes it as “guided hypnosis, or a trance-like state of focus and concentration… this trance-like state is similar to being completely absorbed in a book, movie, music, or even one’s own thoughts.” In this state, a patient experiences therapeutic effects that still mystify researchers, though the benefits could be similar to those caused by mindfulness meditation.
Through hypnotherapy, patients are led toward a more therapeutic state-of-mind, which is said to relieve various physical symptoms. Though pain management is a common application, hypnotherapy is also used by some hypnosis centers to treat sleep disorders, anxiety, and even Bruxism.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Though this recent study further establishes that there is some sort of positive effect, further study is still needed to establish where that effect comes from. Do IBS symptoms react to a change in the patient’s anxiety level when treated with hypnotherapy? Do the relaxation and breathing techniques promote better blood flow, which leads to bodily self-repair?
Whatever the answer, it is sure to be soon in coming as it is spurred on by these new findings.