Is hypnosis safe and effective for treating IBS?

Is hypnosis safe and effective for treating IBS?

This study checks out is effective and safe for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

A total of 464 patients received 7–12 hypnosis sessions over a 12 week period. At the end of therapy, hypnosis proved to be superior in producing adequate symptom relief.

This study demonstrated that hypnosis was safe and provided long-term adequate symptom relief in 54% of IBS patients compared to conventional therapy. [more]

Hypnosis for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Hypnosis for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Hypnosis has been shown to be an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in a number of clinical studies.

Hypnotherapy for IBS involves progressive relaxation, and then suggestions of soothing imagery and sensations focused on the individual’s symptoms.

Improvements in overall well-being, quality of life, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and bloating have been noted.

Contrary to many portrayals in fiction, a clinical hypnotherapist has no power over the hypnotized person. The person is typically aware of what happens both during and after the hypnosis session.

The treatment is generally comfortable and also can be effective when people are treated in groups.

Research has found that hypnotherapy may help improve the primary symptoms of IBS. It may also help relieve other symptoms suffered by many people with IBS such as nausea, fatigue, backache, and urinary problems. Hypnotherapy appears to offer symptomatic, psychological, and physiological benefit.

However, hypnosis should not be regarded as a cure-all. Up to 25% of patients fail to respond. Even when people do improve, conventional approaches to treatment should not always be ignored.

It is still important that lifestyle factors such as diet are also taken into account. In addition, some people may find that an occasional loperamide or laxative, depending on the bowel habit abnormality, may be required.

Do the effects of hypnotherapy last once a course of treatment has been completed? Research on the long-term follow up of patients who have benefited shows that after a period of between 1 and 5 years, most remain well with many requiring no further medication at all.

Hypnotherapy can be a time-consuming and costly approach in the short term. However, as a result of the sustained benefits of treatment, it has been calculated that it becomes cost effective within 2 years when compared to conventional approaches.

How to select a hypnotherapist

Many individuals practice hypnosis that are not qualified to treat medical problems. Look for someone who treats medical problems with hypnosis.

Then get answers to the following three questions:

Is this person a licensed health professional? Be aware that hypnosis certificates and vanity letters after the person’s name such as C. Ht. (“certified hypnotherapist”) mean nothing in terms of clinical qualifications. Only state-licensed health professionals (such as doctors, psychologists, nurses, clinical social workers) should treat IBS.

Does this person have formal training and significant experience in clinical hypnosis? Using hypnosis with good success requires considerable skill and knowledge. In general, 50 hours or more of certified workshop training in hypnosis would be good, although less is sometimes adequate.

Does this person know the details of successful hypnosis treatment protocols for IBS? Hypnosis in itself is probably not sufficient to treat IBS effectively. Specific gut-directed suggestions and imagery need to be included.

Many major health insurance plans in the US reimburse for IBS treatment with hypnosis when it is billed as psychological treatment under the mental health portion of the plans.


Hypnosis is just one of many in the treatment options for IBS. Other psychological methods, cognitive therapy in particular, are also effective options.

Hypnosis may be especially suitable when severe chronic symptoms continue after standard medical management approaches have been tried. It has become clear that in such cases, hypnosis treatment can often produce major improvement that can last for years.

Hypnosis offers lasting IBS relief

I have seen many clients over the years suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I was a surprised as you might be to learn of the connection between IBS and hypnosis. I decided to pursue certification in this specialty because of the staggering positive research supporting hypnosis as the #1 symptom relief option.

The gastroenterology medical journal, “Gut” published a study in 2003 to determine if IBS relief with hypnosis lasts. They surveyed 204 patients over a 5 year period who received 6 IBS specific hypnosis sessions and also listened to sessions daily at home for 3 months.

After 5 years 72% maintained their improvement over time and 19% claimed that deterioration of symptoms had only been slight.

I share this study to all of my clients to help them understand how powerful hypnosis is to create lasting positive change no matter what their goal. It’s all about pattern of thought; in life we follow the path of what we think about most. Over time problem patterns can become rooted, locked in place.

Routine hypnosis brain-training can even offer lasting relief from the extreme symptoms such IBS, chronic pain, stress and worry. It can instantly change ones perspective from ongoing struggle to the anticipation of success. It’s easy to do, it feels good, and you can do it anytime you want.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH

Hypnosis sooths IBS

The effect of hypnosis on clients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is rapid and lasting. In fact, research bears this out, which is why I decided to specialize in this form of hypnotherapy.
The first wave of symptom relief is instant relaxation. IBS’ers are always on guard, they anticipate trouble everyday. They worry about public bathroom availability and whether they can keep their embarrassing secret from their friends. The never ending anticipation of symptoms actually exacerbates the condition and manifests what they worry about, thoughts become things.
My first time IBS clients obviously don’t really know me, have never been to my office, and know nothing about hypnosis but still experience tremendous relief after their first session. Hypnosis seems to have a way of hitting the reset button.
These clients also appear very different at the conclusion of a session, they are calm and happy. For the first time they experience what it is like to be themselves without the weight of IBS. That disconnect occurs on session one and with each visit the distance between themselves and their symptomatic past increases.
Clients also reinforce the new foundation of relief by listening to sessions daily at home. The repetition of symptoms over the years created the chronic pattern of misery, so we take the same approach with the solution and it woks consistently well.
Paul Gustafson, R.N., C.H. has been featured on WBZ radio, hosts TV show Healthy Hypnosis, is an Angie’s List ‘Super Service’ provider. Check out his in-office IBS Relief program. Also available as MP3 download.
Contact Paul for free consultation: 888-290-3972 or and visit Burlington Hypnosis.