Researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg, Sweden conducted a retrospective study to evaluate long-term effects 2-7 years after receiving gut-directed hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Subjects who had received gut-directed hypnotherapy (n=208) filled out the Subjective Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) which measures changes in IBS symptoms. The 208 patients were classified as responders and non-responders were also asked to report changes in health-care seeking, use of drugs for IBS symptoms, use of alternative non-pharmacological treatments, and if they still actively used hypnotherapy.

Immediately after hypnotherapy, 103 of 208 patients (49%) were responders and 75 of these (73%) had improved further at the follow-up 2-7 years after hypnotherapy (mean 4 years).
 
A majority of the responders still used hypnotherapy on a regular basis at follow-up (73%), and the responders reported a greater reduction in health-care seeking than non-responders. A total of 87% of all patients reported that they considered gut-directed hypnotherapy to be worthwhile, and this differed between responders and non-responders (100% vs. 74%; p < 0.0001).

This long-term follow-up study concludes that gut-directed hypnotherapy in refractory IBS is an effective treatment option with long-lasting effects, even when given outside highly specialized hypnotherapy centers. Apart from the clinical benefits, the reduction in health-care utilization has the potential to reduce the health-care costs.

Citation:  Lindfors P, Unge P, Nyhlin H, Ljótsson B, Björnsson ES, Abrahamsson H, Simrén M. Long-term effects of hypnotherapy in patients with refractory irritable bowel syndrome. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. 2012 Apr; 47 (4): pages 414-20. Epub 2012 Feb 20. [email protected]