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Hypnotherapy in irritable bowel syndrome.

15 Aug

Hypnotherapy in irritable bowel syndrome: a large-scale audit of a clinical service with examination of factors influencing responsiveness.

Two hundred fifty British patients with Irritable Bowel syndrome were treated with 12 sessions of hypnotherapy over a three month period (with homework in between sessions). They completed questionnaires before and after the treatment, scoring themselves on symptoms, quality of life, anxiety and depression. The large number of subjects allowed for some strong data. Marked improvement was seen in all symptom measures, quality of life, and anxiety and depression (all p’s < 0.001), which was in keeping with previous studies. All subgroups of patients appeared to do equally well, with the notable exception of males with diarrhea, who improved less than other patients (p < 0.001). No factors, such as anxiety and depression or other prehypnotherapy variables, could explain this relative lack of improvement. The study concludes that hypnotherapy is substantiated as an extremely effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. It may be less useful in males with diarrhea symptoms, however, for reasons that are not made clear by the scope of the study.

Citation: Gonsalkorale WM, Houghton LA, Whorwell PJ. Hypnotherapy in irritable bowel syndrome: a large-scale audit of a clinical service with examination of factors influencing responsiveness. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2002 Apr;97(4):pp. 954-61

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award