Using hypnosis to treat physical ailments is being heavily researched, because of many successes so far, but also as a way to cut costs for medical care. While scientists used hypnosis before to treat diseases, it was done in strictly clinical conditions. The new study conducted by a group of Swedish scientists found a way to use hypnosis to reduce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome by teaching people how to help themselves at home.
What is IBS?
IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), is a stomach disorder that causes abdominal pain, gas, bloating and diarrhea or constipation. It lasts from a few days to several months. Most people have mild symptoms, and can keep the disorder under control by healthy nutrition rich in fiber. But, if the symptoms are severe, treatment can be very difficult.
A good reason why hypnosis can be successful in treating IBS is because irritable bowel syndrome is often caused by stress. Stressed body often reacts by unconsciously tensing and clenching stomach.
Scientists from the Sahlgrenska Academy of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, studied 346 patients and found that the hypnotherapy successfully reduced or eliminated symptoms of IBS to 40 percent of patients. Their improvements were long-term, many years after they have received the treatment.
Scientists used hypnosis to teach patients how to control their symptoms with deep relaxation. After the therapy, patients were supposed to continue the technique they learned under hypnosis to keep their stomach relaxed and free of tension. Seven years later, 85 per cent of patients who had positive effects of hypnosis continued to feel the benefits. Most of them continued to use the technique they learned during therapy.
Several other studies also show that hypnosis, mindfulness training and relaxation training can help people with IBS to reduce their symptoms, once they learned what is causing them. It is a good idea to combine such efforts with nutritional changes, such as avoiding stimulants that irritate bowels, such as caffeine, tea and sodas, avoiding too big meals and increasing fiber in diet.