In a small pilot study, Israeli researchers from Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University examined the impact of guided imagery on Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.

A total of 15 irritable bowel syndrome patients received guided affective imagery and 19 patients served as controls. Symptom severity and irritable bowel syndrome quality of life were measured at baseline and at 8 weeks.

Findings revealed that IBS symptom severity decreased in the guided affective imagery group, as compared with the controls (-1.5 ± 1.9 vs 0.1 ± 1.6, p = 0.04).

Additionally, quality of life increased in the intervention group, as compared to the controls (12.1 ± 12.5 vs -0.7 ± 16.2, p < 0.01).

Guided affective imagery predicted reduced symptom severity (odds ratio = 5.71, p = 0.02) and increased irritable bowel syndrome quality of life (odds ratio = 17.88, p = 0.01).

The investigators conclude that guided imagery combined with dietary modification may be beneficial in the management of irritable bowel syndrome. Larger studies are of course needed.

Citation: Boltin D1, Sahar N2, Gil E2, Aizic S2, Hod K2, Levi-Drummer R3, Niv Y2, Dickman R2. Gut-directed guided affective imagery as an adjunct to dietary modification in irritable bowel syndrome. Journal of Health Psychology. 2015 Jun; 20 (6): pp.712-20. doi: 10.1177/1359105315573450. [email protected]

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