Can Hypnotherapy beat IBS?

Research has suggested that hypnotherapy appears to be an effective treatment, long-term, for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The research claimed that sufferers were feeling the benefits for at least five years.

More than 200 patients with IBS were monitored after undergoing directed hypnotherapy, each recording their quality of life, symptoms and levels of stress and anxiety before and after treatment.

The research found a large percentage, 71%, of patients responded well to the hypnotherapy and most did not deteriorate over time.

They concluded that "the beneficial effects of hypnotherapy appear to last at least five years", making it "a viable therapeutic option" for treating IBS.

The research was carried out by a team at Withington Hospital in Manchester and the results were published in the Journal Gut.

Among the participants that responded well, all patients registered a significant improvement in symptoms compared with before treatment. The positive effect was still reported after five years in a significant amount of cases. There was also an improvement in quality of life and levels of anxiety and depression, although this decreased over time.

The researchers maintained that the sustained improvements in most of the patients could not be attributed to other treatments. Following their hypnotherapy treatment less than one in ten patients sought further or alternative treatment.

"A potential criticism for the use of hypnotherapy as a treatment for IBS has been that it is costly to provide because of the demands on therapists' time.

"However, because of its sustained effects in the majority of patients, costs of treatment could be rapidly offset by the ensuing reduction in cost of medication and other healthcare demands," the report said.

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