A New Way To Treat IBS
Does this sound familiar? You’re sitting at your desk at work—or at the movies, the gym, reallyanywhere—when suddenly it hits you: The cramps, bloating, and gas that mean another irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) attack will have you running for the ladies' room. Having IBS—something one in five American adults has—can be a nightmare, but new studies offer some unexpected relief in the form of hypnosis.
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden conducted studies testing hypnotherapy on patients with IBS. In one study, 138 people with IBS received hypnotherapy one hour a week for 12 weeks. The results: 40 percent of the study participants saw an improvement in their IBS symptoms.
And the news keeps getting better.
Another study found the benefits from hypnosis were long-term—the effects were still felt up to seven years later by 85 percent of the people who’d gotten hypnotherapy years earlier.
So how does it work? Psychologists describe hypnosis as an altered state of mind where your normal skepticism is largely suspended. This allows you to focus your attention on a single image, and to be open to suggestions posed by a trained guide. Or as some practitioners say, hypnosis is like daydreaming with a purpose.
The study authors say that it’s thedeep relaxation and individual hypnotic suggestions that teach IBS patients to learn how to control their symptoms in everyday life.
Ready to give hypnosis a try for your IBS? Here’s how to go about it:
Consult a licensed physician. Contact the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis or the Society for Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis for information about health care professionals in your area. Not all insurance companies cover hypnosis, but a growing number of them do, so check with your provider.
Wear comfortable clothing. Wearing comfy, loose fitting clothing can help you relax during a session.
Get some rest. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before a hypnosis appointment so that you’re less likely to fall asleep.
Video: Treating IBS
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