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Hypnotherapy helps IBS symptoms in new study

Hypnotherapy reduces IBS

Hello and welcome to the first "Science with Joel" post!

I am usually more "behind the scenes" around these parts, but as I am a bit of a science geek and often browse for fun, I thought it might be cool to offer to do a regular blog on Dave's site on the science of coaching, neurology, mindset, and mind/body.

First up this week!

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

This is a condition that is pretty well known to be connected with the mind and emotions. You know that phrase about sh*tting your pants when your stressed? That's pretty IBS.

A new study has been published in the medical journal The Lancet, in November 2018, stating that hypnotherapy has been found to provide relief in IBS patients.

This is a large study with 354 participants.

Another important point to mention here: The Lancet is considered an extremely prestigious medical journal in the scientific community.

The results must be incredible if they wanted to publish it, as The Lancet does not publish clinical studies on hypnosis very often.

So this study is kind of a big deal. Like, a lot of a big deal.

So much big deal, I can't even.

"What's striking about these findings is the extent to which patient's perception of their illness has an effect on their suffering, and that their perception of symptoms appears to be as important as actual symptom severity." - Dr. Carla Flik, University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands

In all honesty, studies on hypnosis + IBS have been going on for decades. The links between IBS and the mind are very strong. No one is quite sure why, but we do know that as the central nervous system pivots from parasympathetic nervous system (rest + digest) to sympathetic nervous system (fight + flight), a number of changes occur:

  1. a decrease in stomach acidity

  2. a decrease in circulation to digestive organs

  3. a decrease in digestive enzyme release

  4. changes in gut motility (speeding or slowing)

  5. alterations to gut microbes

  6. changes to innate immune system function (for increased allergic responses)

  7. your liver produces more blood sugar (which upsets your glucose metabolism)

So yeah, when your boss is looking over your shoulder, you might not literally crap yourself, but there is probably a lot happening in your gut that you have no idea about.

Hypnotherapy designed to reduce these stress responses, and connect digestion back to wellness and strong functionality, is obviously going to work well.

Or at least, according to this study, up to 40% of people will notice a significant improvement (compared to 17% of those who do not receive hypnosis).

An earlier study in 2016 found that the benefits of hypnotherapy for IBS might be as high as 80% of participants.

I wonder what would happen if the hypnotherapy was integrated with other therapies for mindset strengthening and emotional healing - such as EFT, NLP, counselling, CBT, or even Reiki?

All therapies which have research in both pain management and stress reduction.


If you know anyone with IBS who could benefit from this information, please pass it along!

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