Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is an very common stomach disease that manifests as abdominal pain and discomfort, disturbed bowel movements, abdominal swelling and bloating. Recent studies indicate that 10-15 percent of all Swedes suffer from IBS to varying degrees. Yet researchers still do not know what causes the condition and no effective treatment is available for those suffering from most severe symptoms.
Studies at Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, show that psychological treatment using hypnosis may offer effective, lasting relief.
The studies are part of a thesis which concludes that hypnotherapy should be used in clinical care of patients with severe IBS.
“We have four different studies showing that hypnotherapy helps treat IBS, even when the treatment is not provided by highly specialized hypnotherapy centers. The treatment improves gastrointestinal symptoms and quality of life, and patient satisfaction is very high. The method also makes efficient use of health care resources,” says Perjohan Lindfors, doctoral student at Sahlgrenska Academy.
The thesis “Implementation of gut-directed hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome in clinical practice” will be defended on December 5.
By entering a state of deep relaxation and receiving individually customized hypnotic suggestions, hypnotherapy teaches patients how to control their symptoms, either by diverting their attention away from them or by focusing on them.