Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy Is Good for Kids, Too
Dutch researchers from Emma Children’s Hospital in Amsterdam reviewed the literature to see if gut-directed hypnotherapy was as effective for children as it is for adults suffering from functional abdominal pain (FAP) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Investigators searched Medline, Embase, PsychINFO, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature databases and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for randomized controlled trials (RCT) with child subjects with FAP or IBS. They looked at the efficacy of hypnotherapy on abdominal pain, quality of life, treatment costs and school absenteeism.
Three RCT comparing HT to a control treatment were included with sample sizes ranging from 22 to 52 children. The low number of studies and variety of design made it unwise to pool statistical results.
Two studies examined HT performed by a therapist, one examined HT through self-exercises using an audio recording as a guide.
All trials showed statistically significantly greater improvement in abdominal pain scores among children receiving HT. One trial reported beneficial effects sustained after 1 year of follow-up. One trial reported statistically significant improvement in quality of life in the HT group. Two trials reported significant reductions in school absenteeism after HT.
The researchers conclude that the therapeutic effects of HT seem superior to standard medical care in children with FAP or IBS. It remains difficult to quantify exact benefits, due to the low number of studies. The need for more high quality research is evident.
Citation: Rutten JM, Reitsma JB, Vlieger AM, Benninga MA. Gut-directed hypnotherapy for functional abdominal pain or irritable bowel syndrome in children: a systematic review. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2013 Apr;98 (4):pages 252-7. [email protected]