People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome experience different degrees of severity of abnormal bowel movements, abdominal pain, and also mental issues like depression and anxiety. Seeking psychological help and maintaining the right diet and lifestyle choices are some of the ways to control IBS. Some research suggests that hypnotherapy is helpful in treating IBS. Recent studies collected data from 354 people with IBS aged between 18 and 65. They were divided into 2 groups of 150 patients and 1 group of 54 patients. The first group was subjected to individual 45-minute hypnotherapy sessions 2 times every week for 6 weeks, the second to group hypnotherapy sessions for the same time period and the third group to dedicated educational supportive care sessions. Trained psychologists were recruited who used positive visualization techniques giving suggestions on how to manage discomfort and pain. Participants were also given CDs to help them practice hypnotherapy sessions at home for 15-20 minutes every day. They were then asked to answer questions about the severity of their conditions, the quality of lives, healthcare expenditures and effects on work lives due to IBS.
Assessments were done at 3 and 9-month marks. Also the extent to which people were relieved was noted. People who underwent hypnotherapy sessions were seen to get the highest degrees of relief. However the other factors—work absence, healthcare costs, psychological problems, quality of life—remained almost the same for all groups. While some participants dropped out of the study, some didn’t fill all the questionnaires in, which may have affected the results, say researchers. Also as the psychologists who treated the participants hadn’t been part of such studies before, making the findings and recordings an underestimation. Furthermore, 6 weeks of hypnotherapy was only half of what would normally and usually be given to a patient. Dr. Flik said that how individuals perceive their own illness also affects results of a study.