Living with IBS? Hypnotherapy can help

IBS is a complex, functional gastric disorder.  While there is no cure for irritable bowel syndrome, there are certain treatments and lifestyle changes that can help manage symptoms.  Tension, stress and anxiety that can be created by living with conditions such as IBS can exacerbate the condition, and this can undermine the immune system and further compromise health, creating an unhelpful cycle of emotional upset and physical discomfort.

Hypnotherapy can help the individual to manage anxiety and stress, which can lead to improvements in the frequency and intensity of symptoms.  I will teach you empowering techniques to help you relax, manage stress and promote a more positive mindset that can help alleviate suffering. The process helps individuals increase kindness and compassion towards themselves – especially their gut – and increase confidence and self-esteem, helping people to live a better quality of life.

Generally, IBS treatment will include:

  • Recognising and learning to cope with any worries or fears contributing to IBS, increasing resilience, confidence and well-being.
  • Setting goals. You may be encouraged to visualise the future and how you would feel without IBS, these may be long-term goals or a number of things you want to achieve.
  • Visualisations and suggestions with the aim of decreasing the sensitivity of the gut and to increase confidence.

In 2008, the British National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) – a body that gives guidance to the NHS on effective treatments – published guidance for GPs and consultants, stating there is good evidence that hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for IBS and that it could be recommended for chronic IBS. A recent ‘Clinical Review’ of hypnosis and relaxation therapies published in the BMJ looked at the existing research on hypnosis and concluded: ‘Randomised trials have shown hypnosis to be of value in treating […] irritable bowel syndrome.’ (Vickers & Zollman, ‘Hypnosis and relaxation therapies,’ BMJ 1999;319: 1346-1349). An experimental study of 12 patients with IBS showed that treatment resulted in significant improvement in symptoms and reduction in related anxiety. (Galovski, T.E., and E.B. Blanchard, ‘The treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with hypnotherapy.’ Applied Psychophysiology & Feedback, 1998: Dec., vo. 23(4):219-232)

Suggested benefits include improved well-being and quality of life, as well as reduced constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and abdominal pain.  I have helped many clients with IBS, the majority of them taking medication prescribed by their consultant/GP. IBS is regarded as a medical condition, so it’s important to consult your Doctor for diagnosis.

“My anxiety levels rose dramatically after starting a new job. At first, the worries centred on work, but became wider and wider until pretty much anything unknown was beginning to worry me. I was suffering from panic attacks and stress-related IBS, and basically became agoraphobic. A friend suggested I try hypnotherapy. It is hard to express how much it has helped. My life has been transformed, and I am now returning to the confident, outgoing person I was before my anxiety issues. The support I received will go on and on after the sessions, as Annette has equipped me with the tools to remain positive, confident and calm whatever life throws at me. My self-esteem had been at rock-bottom and Annette helped me to build it back up. Essentially, the sessions have helped me become myself again. Thank you, Annette!” Laura, 30, Lawyer

To arrange an appointment to see me at my clinic at Comfort Health in Clifton, Bristol, please call me on 07908 175 499 or email me