Often when people think of hypnosis an image of a stage hypnotist comes to mind where people from the audience are given suggestions to behave in a way that amuses the audience. This gives a false impression of loss of control within hypnosis which understandably most people would want to avoid. In reality hypnosis cannot cause people to do things that they would not want to do. It is not mind control but rather guidance and suggestion.
A good way to explain it is like driving a car, the hypnotherapist is like Sat Nav giving you directions, you are still in control and you choose whether you follow the directions or not.
How can hypnotherapy help with IBS symptoms?
We have a tendency to categorise illnesses into either mental ill health or physical ill health, however this thinking is beginning to change. Both the mind and the body are so closely linked that one will always effect the other.
Often the first place that stress is felt in the body can be the gut. There are a mass of nerves located in the abdomen called the Celiac Plexus which is linked directly to the brain by the large Vagus Nerve. The Celiac Plexus is also known as the second brain due to the large number of nerves it contains which link to each organ in the body. Regulating breathing, digestion, heart rate etc even whilst your brain rests in sleep.
Prolonged IBS symptoms can be felt when there is a miscommunication between the brain and the gut via this nerve system. The worse the symptoms the greater the anxiety and stress and a vicious cycle is set in motion that can be hard to break without help and support.
Gut directed hypnotherapy can be very effective in restoring normal communication and hence improving the symptoms that are experienced. The effects are long lasting in most cases.
What can I expect in a session and how many sessions will I need?
Initially a telephone conversation will be arranged with you where you will be asked how IBS is affecting you, the types of symptoms you experience and how they are affecting your life. As the treatment is tailored to your specific needs this information is very important. You will also learn more about hypnotherapy, it is also your opportunity to ask any questions you may have to help you decide whether hypnotherapy is the right choice of treatment for you.
At your first appointment more information is gathered and you will be invited to experience hypnosis, for some people this may be their first time. You will find it deeply relaxing and pleasant. You will be asked to feedback on your experience as this then helps with the planning of the next session to ensure that the suggestions given are the most beneficial to you.
In the subsequent sessions techniques will be used to target the symptoms you have, metaphor is used for slowing down or speeding up the bowel as needed, self induced pain relief, reducing anxiety and stress responses and dealing with any underlying concerns can be used as indicated. There are many proven techniques within hypnotherapy which will be tailored to your situation.
You will be asked to practice the techniques at home between sessions and will also be given an audio to use in between too.
The number of appointments needed vary for each individual from between 4 up to 12 sessions however by following the techniques given for you to do at home this can increase the effectiveness in a shorter time and with fewer appointments needed.
Are there any side effects?
As hypnotherapy helps the mind and body to naturally restore normal communication there are no side effects at all.
There often can be added benefits however. Hypnotherapy will give you relaxation techniques as well as new ways to manage anxiety and stress which will help you to cope with other challenges that arise in your day-to-day life.
Most people find that hypnotherapy will also help relieve non IBS symptoms such as headaches, back pain and insomnia or sleep disturbance.
Will it work for me?
There is an increasing body of evidence which demonstrates that hypnotherapy is effective in reducing the symptoms of IBS in 80% of people.
Researchers have completed a well-designed, rigorous study of hypnosis, recently published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. The researchers compared the effects of 12 sessions of gut directed hypnotherapy (GDH) to the effects of 12 sessions of supportive psychotherapy, randomly assigning 45 participants to each group. The study authors found that, compared to the control participants, the hypnotherapy treatment group showed significantly greater positive effects on IBS symptoms, including original symptoms of loose stools, hard stools, pain, bloating, gas, urgency, and incomplete evacuation. Further, the participants maintained these improvements when researchers followed up with them after one year, suggesting that GDH therapy may have an enduring effect.
Here in the UK it is thanks largely to more than 20 years of research with hypnotherapy by Professor Peter Whorwell of Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, hypnotherapy is now acknowledged by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for IBS
How much will it cost?
Prices may vary between different hypnotherapists and in different areas of the country. When comparing websites and prices ensure that the hypnotherapist is registered with a professional body such as the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
Here at Innervate hypnotherapy the cost of an initial appointment is £80 and will last for around 90 minutes, subsequent hour long sessions are priced at £65. This will include audio recordings to use at home that are personalised to you.