Hypnotherapy Reduces the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

A University of North Carolina researcher conducted a systematic review of studies on the efficacy of hypnotherapy on gastrointestinal disorders, finding 35 studies, including 17 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that assessed clinical outcomes.

Twenty-four of the studies tested hypnotherapy for adult irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and 5 focused on IBS or abdominal pain in children.

All 24 IBS hypnotherapy studies reported significant improvement in gastrointestinal symptoms, and 7 out of 10 RCTs in adults and all 3 RCTs in pediatric patient samples found superior outcomes for hypnosis as compared to control groups.

The review summarizes that for both adults and children with IBS, hypnosis treatment is highly effective in reducing bowel symptoms and can offer lasting and substantial symptom relief for a large proportion of patients who don’t respond to usual medical treatment.

For other GI disorders, the evidence is more limited, but there are promising results for hypnotherapy for functional dyspepsia, functional chest pain, and ulcerative colitis.

Citation:  Palsson OS. Hypnosis Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders: A Comprehensive Review of the Empirical Evidence American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 2015 Oct;58 (2): pp 134-58.

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