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Hypnosis for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Hypnosis has been by approved by the American Medical Association as a valid medical treatment since 1958,
though the concept of using a state of hypnosis to alleviate both physical and mental ills has recurred throughout
the history of medicine from ancient times. By reaching the subconscious level of the mind, hypnotherapy can be
used to alter the way a person consciously perceives health problems, and also promote new manners of response
to them.
Hypnosis and self-hypnosis have been repeatedly proven to be highly effective means of alleviating all
symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS, or "spastic colon"), including pain, diarrhea, constipation,
bloating, nausea, and gas.[1]
Hypnosis is often thought to be therapy that only affects the mind, but as mind and body are inseparably joined
(particularly with IBS, given the brain-gut dysfunction current research has pinpointed), hypnosis can also help
physical ailments. In fact, researchers have called gut-directed IBS hypnosis a "cure" for the brain-gut
dysfunction that underlies IBS.
During a state of hypnosis, consciousness is not lost, it becomes more selective, and typically a hypnosis patient
becomes aware of internal processes rather than the outside world's distractions.
Most people report the actual experience of being hypnotized as pleasant, comfortable, and extremely relaxing.
However, hypnotherapy is beneficial not only for the relaxation it induces, but for the state of suggestibility that
characterizes it. In this state, the mind is open to receiving ideas and suggestions that promote positive thoughts
and healing changes.[2] During normal waking hours, the window between the conscious and subconscious minds
is closed, but any state of relaxation that results in alpha brain waves will open it. Typically, this happens during
sleep, and dreams result. Hypnotherapy induces this same state of relaxation while the patient is awake, and
allows helpful suggestions (such as those aimed at controlling health problems) to be directed into the
subconscious mind.
Only ten percent or so of the population is not susceptible to hypnosis the rest of us can turn to this therapy for
relief of symptoms from disorders as wide ranging as: asthma, allergies, strokes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's
disease, cerebral palsy, high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, paralysis,
and, with well-documented success rates, Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Hypnotherapy has in fact been proven successful at reducing or even eliminating all Irritable Bowel Syndrome
symptoms.[3] Over 15 years of solid scientific research has demonstrated hypnosis to be an effective, safe and
inexpensive choice for IBS alleviation.[4] It has been so overwhelmingly successful in this regard that Adriane
Fugh-Berman, MD, chair of the National Women's Health Network in Washington, DC, has said that hypnosis should
be the treatment of choice for Irritable Bowel Syndrome cases which have not responded to conventional therapy.
Since the "conventional therapy" offered to most IBS patients ranges from nothing at all to a lifetime prescription
for semi-effective anti-spasmodic drugs, I take this statement as the closest thing to a whole-hearted endorsement
an alternative therapy can hope to get from a mainstream medical spokesperson.
For Irritable Bowel Syndrome, one of hypnotherapy's greatest benefits is its well-established ability to reduce the
effects of stress. Your state of mind can have a direct impact on your physical well-being, even when you're in the
best of health. If you're struggling with IBS, the tension, anxiety, and depression that comes from living with an
incurable illness can actually undermine your immune system and further compromise your health.
Hypnosis can reduce this stress and its resultant negative impact by placing you in a deeply relaxed state,
promoting positive thoughts and coping strategies, and clearing your mind of negative attitudes.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in fact is almost uniquely suited to treatment by hypnosis or self-hypnosis, for several
reasons. First, as just noted, stress-related attacks can be significantly reduced. Second, one of the most
impressive aspects from hypnotherapy, and of tremendous benefit to IBS sufferers, is its well-documented ability
to relieve virtually all types and degrees of pain.[5] Finally, because IBS is not a disease at all but a syndrome, if
you can relieve and prevent the symptoms, you have effectively cured yourself of the disorder. The underlying
dysfunction may still be present but if you suffer no noticeable effects from it, you will be living an IBS-free life.
This outcome is a definite possibility from hypnotherapy treatments.

As with other alternative therapies, though there is solid evidence that hypnotherapy can provide lasting health
benefits for many patients, there is uncertainty about precisely how and why the treatments work. Most scientists
believe that hypnotherapy acts upon the unconscious, and affects the body's regulation of involuntary reactions
that are normally beyond a person's control. Hypnosis puts these autonomic responses under the patient's power.
Happily, treatment is suitable for people of all ages (children as well as adults - there is actually a gut-specific
hypnotherapy programjust for children with IBS), for males and females, and there are no risks or side effects.
Note. Please consult your doctor.