Why Consider Hypnosis Treatment for IBS?

by Olafur S. Palsson, Psy.D.

Hypnosis is only one of several approaches to treating irritable bowel syndrome and may not be the most suitable option for all patients (click here for discussion of treatment options for IBS). However, hypnosis treatment has some advantages which makes it an attractive option for many IBS sufferers with chronic and severe symptoms:

- It is one of the most successful treatment approaches for chronic IBS. The response rate to treatment is 80% and better in most published studies to date.

- The treatment often helps individuals who have failed to get improvements with other methods (see for example: Whorwell et al., 1984, 1987; Palsson et al., 1997, 2000).

- It is a uniquely comfortable form of treatment; relaxing, easy and generally enjoyable.

- It utilizes the healing power of the person's own mind, and is generally completely without negative side effects.

- The treatment sometimes results in improvement in other symptoms or problems such as migraine or tension headaches, along with the improvement in IBS symptoms.

- The beneficial effects of the treatment last long after the end of the course of treatment. According to research, individuals who improve from hypnosis treatment for IBS can generally look forward to years of reduced bowel symptoms.

Listing of U.S. health professionals who offer this treatment

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