Swedish researchers claim they’ve found an alternative treatment to ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that doesn’t involve popping pills or making diet changes - hypnosis.
Scientists from the The Sahlgrenska Academy of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden found that hypnotherapy alleviates the discomfort of IBS by 40% and discovered the changes proved to be long-term.
This isn’t the first time the effects that hypnotherapy has on easing IBS symptoms. A previous study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology found that hypnotherapy helped 208 patients alleviate IBS discomforts for up to seven years.
So how does it work?
The study demonstrated that hypnotherapy provides lasting relief by testing 138 participants at highly specialised ‘hypnotherapy centres’ to see if the therapy made any difference to their severe IBS symptoms.
“The treatment involves the patient learning to control their symptoms through deep relaxation and individually adapted hypnotic suggestions,” study author Magnus Simrén explained in a statement: “The idea is for the patient to then use this technique in their everyday life.”
After a series of one-hour treatments over a 12-week period, 40% of patients noted a significant reduction in symptoms. They also revealed that their IBS symptoms had remained under control for a whole year following the hypnotherapy.
"Overall, our studies show that hypnotherapy is an effective method of treating IBS, even when provided outside of specialist 'hypnotherapy centres',” explained Simrén.
“The conclusion is that hypnotherapy could reduce both the consumption of healthcare and the cost to society, and that hypnosis therefore belongs in the arsenal of treatments for IBS.”
Irritable bowel syndrome is the name doctors have given to a collection of otherwise unexplained symptoms relating to a disturbance of the colon or large intestine.
IBS affects around a third of the population at some point in their lives and about one in 10 people suffer symptoms severe enough to seek help from their GP.
According to the IBS Network, the following are common symptoms of IBS:
- Abdominal pain and spasms, often relieved by going to the toilet
- Diarrhoea, Constipation or an erratic bowel habit
- Bloating or swelling of the abdomen
- Rumbling noises and excessive passage of wind
- Urgency (An urgent need to visit the toilet) or incontinence (if a toilet is not nearby)
- Sharp pain felt low down inside the rectum
- Sensation of incomplete bowel movement
Symptoms frequently occur in other parts of the body. These may include headaches, dizziness, backache, passing urine frequently, tiredness, muscle and joint pains, ringing in the ears, indigestion, belching, nausea, shortness of breath, anxiety and depression.
A similar range of symptoms are reported by patients with other medically unexplained illnesses, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Functional Dyspepsia, suggesting they all might all be expressions of an alteration in sensitivity or irritability affecting the mind and the body.
A handful of dried figs not only boost your fibre intake, but will help soothe stubborn constipation. Eat them with your oatmeal cereal in the morning or snack on them mid-afternoon for the full fibre benefits. Fibre: 10g / 3 figs.
Kidney beans are a great source of fibre, as well as rich in protein too. They're easy to incorporate into the diet by adding to hearty soups, blending to make a tasty paste or sprinkling on salads. Fibre: 7g/ 1 cup.
Always opt for brown over white rice as it contains the wholesome fibre needed to maintain a healthy gut and digestive system. Fibre: 3g / 1 cup.
The avocado is full of great health benefits and one of them is a rich source of fibre. Eat a medium-sized avocado and you've clocked up 10g of fibre in one sitting. Fibre: 5.2g/ half a medium-sized avocado.
The baked bean is another great source of fibre, with its content higher than most foods in this list. One cup of these contain up to 8g but a whole tin can be as much as 11g - nearly half your recommended daily allowance. Fibre: 8g/ 1 cup.
The corn is a tasty and resourceful way of getting your RDA of fibre, with a half of cup of its corn ears equaling to an impressive 2g of fibre, so the whole corn will clock up around 10g in total. Fibre: 10g/ 1 corn on a cob.
The broccoli is a multi-tasking vegetable which is not only packed full of vitamin D and C, but fibre and antioxidants too. Add these to your dinner and you'll have sufficient amounts of fibre to help keep your digestive system healthy. Fibre: 4g/ 1 cup.
The humble lentil is a great food to add to your daily diet, as one cup contains a whopping 15.6g of fibre. these can easily be added to your diet in soups, salads and as part of your vegetable intake. They're also a great source of iron and B vitamins too. Fibre: 15.6g/ 1 cup.
Like with rice, it's always best to opt for brown over rice pasta as it contains the most fibre and has more essentials vitamins than its processed version. It is also thicker in texture, so will keep you fuller for longer, staving off hunger pangs. Fibre: 5g/ 1 cup.
This iron-packed green leafy veg is also a brilliant source of fibre. Boil it or chop it from fresh - it's really easy to incorporate into your diet. Use in salads, as it contains more nutrients that lettuce. Fibre: 6g / 1 cup.