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Iíve heard that IBS can be treated by hypnosis. Is that true?

Dr. Jedel: Since current medical treatments do not alleviate all patientsí symptoms of IBS, a number of alternative treatments are increasingly popular, particularly among those with chronic and severe symptoms. These treatments are typically used in conjunction with medical management and include cognitive-behavioral therapy, biofeedback, stress management and hypnosis. A number of research studies have shown that hypnosis can have a positive impact on gastrointestinal functioning as well as improving IBS symptoms. A typical course of hypnosis treatment spans 4 to 12 weekly or twice-monthly sessions, lasting about 30 minutes. During each session, patients participate in hypnosis, which is followed by deep relaxation exercises and the use of gut-directed guided imagery. Many hypnotherapists also provide patients with hypnosis CDs, which can be used throughout the week and upon conclusion of treatment. Although hypnosis has been successful in improving IBS-symptoms among numerous patients, researchers are not entirely clear on why it works. This important question continues to be investigated. What we do know, however, is that the brain and the gut are constantly communicating and influencing each other (this is referred to as the brain-gut axis). For example, when the mind confronts stressful events, anxiety and/or depression, symptoms of IBS can be triggered or exacerbated. The mind can also have a positive influence on gut functioning. Thus, when patients participate in hypnosis, and are in a deep state of relaxation and calm, their gastrointestinal tract may benefit as well.
2007-11-06 10:46:55

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