Hypnotherapy proven to help gut pain

Hypnotherapy could help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) according to a gastroenterologist

Dr Roland Valori, editor of Frontline Gastroenterology, said of the first 100 of his patents treated, symptoms improved significantly for nine in 10.

He began referring IBS patients for hypnotherapy in the early 1990s and has found it to be extremely effective.

“To be frank, I have never looked back,” he said.

“It is pretty clear to me that it has an amazing effect.”

Previous research has shown hypnotherapy to be successful for IBS sufferers, but it has not been widely used.

Dr Valori, of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, thinks it has been ignored because many doctors simply find it hard to believe that it does work, or to comprehend how it would work.

He audited the first 100 cases he referred for the treatment and found that the symptoms stopped completely in four in ten cases, and says that in a further five in 10 cases patients reported feeling more in control of their symptoms.

“It seems to work particularly well on younger female patients with typical symptoms, and those who have only had IBS for a relatively short time,” he said.

NHS guidelines allow doctors to refer IBS patients for hypnotherapy if medication is unsuccessful and the problem persists.

Dr Valori believes that if it were used more widely it could possibly save the NHS money while improving patient care.

Dr Charlie Murray, Secretary of the British Gastroenterology Society, said: “There is no doubt that hypnotherapy is helpful for some patients, but it depends on the skill and experience of those practising it.

“But the degree to which it is effective is not well defined.

‘I would support using it as one therapy, but it is no panacea.”


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