If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) then you are highly likely to experience unpleasant abdominal pain. Some people describe it as cramping, stabbing, sharp or a ‘migraine’ feeling in the stomach. Occasionally people say they get pain between their shoulder blades with an IBS flare up.
One classic way to manage your IBS is through diet. Its known that a low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols diet is effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It’s also well established that people with IBS have higher levels of anxiety and depression compared with the general population.
An interesting recent study compared the effects of gut-directed hypnotherapy to the low FODMAP diet on gastrointestinal symptoms and psychological measures.
The study showed that the lasting effects of gut-directed hypnotherapy, was like a low FODMAP diet, but that hypnotherapy had superior outcomes to the diet on psychological measures. In addition, there were other improvements in overall well-being, quality of life, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, and bloating were noted.
Hypnotherapy for IBS involves progressive relaxation, followed by suggestions of soothing imagery and sensations focused on your own symptoms. Most programs combine training in self-hypnosis and clinic sessions of hypnotherapy.
Self-hypnosis is a great start point for you if you are a little bit concerned about going straight in for hypnotherapy sessions. In self-hypnosis, you are taught how to train yourself to deeply relax and feel comfortable. The process starts with a coaching session, followed up by regular home practice. For some people with mild IBS simply learning how to achieve a deep state of relaxation through self-hypnosis can be sufficient. Others may find they require sessions of classic Ericksonian hypnotherapy for best effect.
Combining change to diet with hypnotherapy can make a life time change to people with IBS. This time of year, days are shortening. Light hours are less, this of itself causes some people to feel more anxiety & depression. Long hours in the office can cause stress. If you have IBS, it makes sense to light some nice glowing aromatic candles and settle down and relax with some deep self-hypnosis when you get home.
If you’ve had a particularly stressful day, add in some nice relaxing comedy or watch a documentary with beautiful scenery. As you do this you are unwinding your brain and giving your mind some necessary time to calm & relax.
But self-hypnosis is something you can do any time of day. Once you get good at it, you can train yourself to swiftly relax, within just a few seconds. If your work involves air travel, presentations at conferences, or if you are going through rather a bumpy time then using a deep relaxation technique can help your IBS gut pain. For some people, just knowing that there is something that can help, is very comforting. Better still knowing everyone can learn self-hypnosis means that its a medication free help, available to everybody.
So, if you have IBS and you’re going into the dark longer evenings feeling as if you are sailing along for all the world to see but aware you are struggling a bit under the surface, then get some help. Even if you are managing well with your diet, it does no harm to add in some hypnosis, it’s pharmacy free help. Most hypnotherapists are experienced working with people who have IBS.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Sep;44(5):447-59. doi: 10.1111/apt.13706. Epub 2016 Jul 11. Randomised clinical trial: the efficacy of gut-directed hypnotherapy is similar to that of the low FODMAP diet for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Peters SL, Yao CK, Philpott H, Yelland GW, Muir JG, Gibson PR
Psychol Med. 2016 Nov;46(15):3065-3080. Epub 2016 Sep 8. A systematic review with meta-analysis of the role of anxiety and depression in irritable bowel syndrome onset. Sibelli A1, Chalder T2, Everitt H3, Workman P1, Windgassen S4, Moss-Morris R1
If you would like some coaching or hypnotherapy to improve your health & wellbeing then contact me via the contact page.