Hypnosis has been found to ease the symptoms of the bowel disorder IBS in 4 of 10 patients in a new Swedish study.
Researchers at The Sahlgrenska Academy of the University of Gothenburg tracked the experiences of 346 patients in several studies designed to test the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in treating irritable bowel syndrome.
One of the studies, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, found 40 percent of 138 patients with IBS who received hypnotherapy treatment for one hour a week over 12 weeks had a reduction in symptoms.
"The treatment involves the patient learning to control their symptoms through deep relaxation and individually adapted hypnotic suggestions. The idea is for the patient to then use this technique in their everyday life," said lead researcher Magnus Simrén.
In a second study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers found 85 percent of 208 patients who had previously received hypnotherapy said they still felt the benefits of the treatment up to seven years later – and that the majority still actively use the technique.
IBS symptoms include abdominal pain, distension and bloating. Those with milder symptoms can be helped through lifestyle changes and drugs, but few treatments are effective in severe cases.