contact me
Category

News

News

Yes, Hypnosis Really Can Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Using gut-directed hypnotherapy to treat IBS can have long-lasting benefits.

When you have abdominal pain — and bathroom issues — wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could send your digestive tract soothing messages?

U.S. medical centers have begun to do just that — using “gut-directed hypnotherapy” to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis.

They’ve been looking especially for a new option to treat IBS, as up to half of IBS sufferers are dissatisfied with the results of standard medical management, and continue to have frequent symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and sharp stabs of pain in the abdomen or continual aches.

For Anna*, IBS symptoms had become so unpredictable she was afraid to book trips. “When I filled out my symptom checklist,” she said, “I broke down and cried. I realized how much IBS had taken over my life.”

Nine months after completing an online hypnotherapy program, metaMe Connect, Anna says she’s returned to “normalcy.” She’s now able to plan ahead without worrying that she won’t be well. “I don’t have fear and I don’t make decisions based on fear,” she said.

A new option

Gut-directed hypnotherapy is a form of hypnosis. Patients meet in person or by video-conference with a therapist, or listen to recordings that guide them step by step into a relaxed state.

Once patients enter the hypnotic state, they are taken through visualization exercises and hear suggestions designed to calm their digestive tract and wean them away from focusing on gut sensations.

Unlike a meditation tape anyone might pick up, this therapy has been standardized and tested — a key reason it has won acceptance from gastroenterologists at major hospitals.

More than 20 years ago, clinical psychologist Olafur Palsson, PsyD, at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, began using a specific set of scripts in a protocol that now has been studied extensively.

From 53 to 94 percent of IBS patients responded to the treatment, depending on the trial, with benefits lasting as long as a year.

The therapy addresses a problem that seems to accompany several gastrointestinal ailments: miscommunication between the gut and the brain. The smooth muscles of the intestinal wall can be hyper-reactive, altering the normal patterns of muscle contraction. Additionally, the brain can also be misinterpreting normal signals from the gut.

This disconnect between the gut and the brain can trigger the many possible symptoms of IBS — and play a role in other problems.

Recent early research suggests, for example, that hypnotherapy can prolong remission in colitis patientsTrusted Source and soothe unexplained chronic heartburnTrusted Source.

Hypnotherapy has been found to be most effective with abdominal pain, cutting it by an average of half or more in many studies.

“This is not a psychological issue, it’s neurological,” observes Daniel Bernstein, who has Crohn’s disease and who launched metaMe Connect. “You are retraining how your brain and gut communicate.”

When does a sensitive gut need treatment?

Many people struggle with digestive symptoms but never mention them to a doctor. It’s common to try many remedies on your own — probiotics, avoiding spicy foods, or going gluten-free.

But after one or two close calls of barely making it to the bathroom, people begin to rearrange their lives to avoid crises.

Anna’s experience of growing fear is common.

“The things I was trying weren’t working, and it seemed to come out of nowhere,” she explained.

Over time, and especially in periods of stress, that fear makes the problem worse.

Getting a diagnosis is a step to effective help. To diagnose IBS — which is estimated to affect up to 15 percent of American adults — doctors look for these signs: at least three months with frequent abdominal pain that is relieved after you defecate and that originally began with a change in the frequency or quality of your stool.

IBS also tends to follow a stomach flu or round of antibiotics.

Blood in your stool, weight loss, fever, or anemia suggests other possible diagnoses. You should be checked for an autoimmune problem like Crohn’s, colitis, or celiac if you’re experiencing these symptoms. You may also want to have a radiologic test of your abdomen looking for growths.

By definition, IBS does not have one clear cause. But new science has been suggesting possible factors like genetic variations and altered gut microbiomes for subgroups of patients, Palsson notes.

One of the more common treatments is the low-FODMAPs diet, which rules out many vegetables and fruits as well as gluten. FODMAPS stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, all molecules in food.

In a 2016 studyTrusted Source, gut-directed hypnotherapy matched the results of the low-FODMAPS diet. This is welcome news for IBS patients since it clears a potentially easier path to eventually enjoy a broader, healthier diet.

How it works

The program takes three months to complete and requires daily attention. Patients receive a 15-minute recording to listen to every day, or at least five times a week.

They also have seven 40-minute sessions with a therapist (either in person or in a video conference) at two-week intervals.

During the sessions, listeners are invited to an imaginary setting and asked to visualize a number of images such as a mountain cabin with thick and strong walls that “allow you to be comfortable and at ease inside no matter how ferociously the winter storms blow outside.” They’ll also hear reassurance in the scripts that they don’t need to be successful at visualizing, just to experience what they can.

The scripts do not address diarrhea or constipation or any other symptom directly. Instead, they describe the goal, with suggestions such as: “You become more comfortable and healthy every day, undisturbed and peaceful inside like this beautiful secluded garden.”

A hypnotic state doesn’t look strange to an observer, though it’s ideal to listen to the script in privacy, without any risk of interruption. After the trance, people are completely alert, so it’s possible to listen at any time of day.

Hypnotherapy can work for children, too

The imaginary play makes the program seem ideal for children with digestive trouble, typically unexplained abdominal pain.

Colicky infants, toddlers with heartburn, and any child with chronic unexplained diarrhea or constipation, sometimes accompanied by nausea, dizziness, and pain may have IBS.

Working with Palsson, his colleague Miranda van Tilburg, Ph.D., developed a shorter protocol designed for at-home use by children ages 6 to 12.

These sessions invite listeners to float on a cloud, drift on the ocean in a gently rocking boat, or fly a magic carpet controlled by their minds. In shorter sessions, they go down a slide, swing on a swing, ride a sleigh on a snowy mountain, or bounce on the moon.

Because children often rub their painful stomachs or ask for heating pads, the kids’ tapes describe a brightly shining gem-like object with magic healing properties, which melts into the hand like butter, and can heal.

In another tape, children hear that their favorite drink applies a protective coating to their stomach, and each time they drink it, the coating gets thicker.

Six months after completion, more than 60 percent of children who went through this program had maintained their progress, cutting symptoms by at least half, the team reports, adding that “most children with both abdominal pain and headaches reported improvements in both.

Additionally, many parents reported improvements in sleep and focus at school.”

Separately, a Dutch teamTrusted Source concluded that after gut-directed hypnotherapy two-thirds of a small group of children with chronic IBS or stomach pain were at least 80 percent better almost five years later.

Lifestyle, News

5 Ways to improve IBS

KEEP A FOOD DIARY

This will help you to identify any dietary triggers, typical triggers can include spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, fats and fruits. You can use this diary to make initial adjustments to your eating habits. A food diary can also be helpful when discussing IBS with your GP or dietician. Don’t dive into a heavily restricted diet without professional guidance. Always seek the support of a qualified dietician, especially if considering a low FODMAP diet.

A point to remember: Gluten is a protein that will only cause issues if you have an allergy or coeliac disease. If you have a wheat intolerance, you will be able to tolerate small amounts of wheat. The same goes for dairy products – they only cause issues with your IBS if you have a milk protein allergy (rare) or lactose intolerance (more often). Some dairy contains very little or no lactose, so you can switch to these products.

FIND WAYS TO RELAX

For IBS patients, sleep quality is paramount. A good night’s sleep will help your body restore itself and give you the energy you need to face a new day, even with an upset tummy. If you often wake up too early, buy a silk sleeping mask – it works wonders! Go to bed at the same time and avoid blue light exposure too, it suppresses melatonin, a hormone essential for our sleep rhythm. If you must work at the computer, use blue light glasses.

One of the most effective ways to reduce your IBS symptoms is hypnotherapy. It is a form of guided hypnosis that helps you to address the brain-gut axis. Your brain and your gut are interconnected and receive the wrong messages, causing flare-ups and pain. Hypnotherapy addresses that. You meet in person or by video with a specialised therapist, who will guide you step by step into a relaxed state. It is most effective when it comes to abdominal pain- many studies showed it can reduce it by an average of half or more.

In the U.S., there has already been a change: Mount Sinai in New York, the University of Michigan, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, the University of Washington in Seattle, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Loyola University Medical Center and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in the Chicago area all offer or suggest hypnotherapy to IBS patients.

GET PLENTY OF EXERCISES

Regular movement will help your body digest food better and keep you – well, regular. Incorporate 30 minutes of daily exercise into your routine. That doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds- you can simply increase your NEAT. Non-exercise active thermogenesis (NEAT) accounts for calories burned outside your typical exercise. That can be standing, walking, climbing stairs or reaching for that cookie jar (excluding the cookies eaten afterwards).

Thanks to our largely sedentary jobs, food deliveries and labour-saving devices, our NEAT has decreased substantially in the last few years. That’s bad news as it burns between 15- 30% of a person’s daily calories and keeps your body in shape. Here are some ways to increase your NEAT:

Take the stairs

have a little dance in the kitchen when your favourite song is on

stand and move during T.V. ad breaks of your favourite show

walk when talking on the phone

Put your tea bags up high, so you get a nice stretch in every time you reach for them

Get a standing desk if you work a lot in front of a screen

EAT THE RIGHT KIND OF FIBRE

You might already know that fibre is a non-digestible carbohydrate. Why is it essential for the body? It adds bulk to our diet and makes us feel fuller for longer. Fibre also helps digestion and can prevent constipation. There is strong evidence that eating plenty of it helps to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. Yet, most of us don’t eat the recommended 30 g per day. Foods high in fibre include whole grains, vegetables (potatoes with skin are great) and fruits (especially pears, berries, melon and oranges). Nuts are also a good source of fibre.

Here comes the interesting part for those with IBS. There are two types of fibre:

Insoluble

soluble

Most plant foods contain both, but some foods are high in one type of fibre. Soluble fibre, also known as viscous fibre, absorbs water when ingested. It then creates a thick gel in the colon, and it is this gel that creates the feeling of fullness.

Soluble fibre is concentrated in beans, fruits, and oat products and is an excellent choice for most people with IBS. The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) recommends taking soluble fibre supplements for people with IBS – try and see if taking these help you.

Insoluble fibre breaks down in the water and passes straight through the digestive system, helping to eliminate unwanted leftovers in the gut. It is typically found in the roughage of foods like fruit skins and seed husks. Foods such as beans and nuts, and grain products contain good amounts of insoluble fibre. It may make the pain and bloat worse.

As you know, IBS is not a one-size-fits all- some have problems with foods rich in insoluble fibre, and others with IBS have no issues with them. Even more, some foods high in soluble fibre, like beans, can cause problems for some people who have IBS.

That’s why a food diary (see above) is so helpful. Try taking soluble fibre supplements instead if you experience pain or bloating from certain foods.

DRINK LOTS OF WATER

Drinking more water has many benefits, no matter what your IBS symptoms are. Furthermore, water intake could improve constipation. If you suffer from diarrhoea, drinking more water will prevent dehydration. If you don’t fancy drinking only water, you can buy a mint plant from the supermarket and add a few fresh mint leaves daily. Ginger tea can also be an alternative. If you are going out, punches or beers are safe if they don’t contain sweeteners on the high FODMAP list.

If you would like to know how hypnotherapy can improve your IBS contact me to discuss more.

Lifestyle, News

Hypnotherapy can help you with IBS

Yes, Hypnosis Really Can Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Using gut-directed hypnotherapy to treat IBS can have long-lasting benefits.

When you have abdominal pain — and bathroom issues — wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could send your digestive tract soothing messages?

They’ve been looking especially for a new option to treat IBS, as up to half of IBS sufferers are dissatisfied with the results of standard medical management, and continue to have frequent symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and sharp stabs of pain in the abdomen or continual aches.

A new option

Gut-directed hypnotherapy is a form of hypnosis. Patients meet in person or by video conference with a therapist or listen to recordings that guide them step by step into a relaxed state.

Once patients enter the hypnotic state, they are taken through visualization exercises and hear suggestions designed to calm their digestive tract and wean them away from focusing on gut sensations.

Unlike a meditation tape anyone might pick up, this therapy has been standardized and tested — a key reason it has won acceptance from gastroenterologists at major hospitals.

More than 20 years ago, clinical psychologist Olafur Palsson, PsyD, at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, began using a specific set of scripts in a protocol that now has been studied extensively.

From 53 to 94 percent of IBS patients responded to the treatment, depending on the trial, with benefits lasting as long as a year.

The therapy addresses a problem that seems to accompany several gastrointestinal ailments: miscommunication between the gut and the brain. The smooth muscles of the intestinal wall can be hyper-reactive, altering the normal patterns of muscle contraction. Additionally, the brain can also be misinterpreting normal signals from the gut.

This disconnect between the gut and the brain can trigger the many possible symptoms of IBS — and play a role in other problems.

Recent early research suggests, for example, that hypnotherapy can prolong remission in colitis patientsTrusted Source and soothe unexplained chronic heartburnTrusted Source.

Hypnotherapy has been found to be most effective with abdominal pain, cutting it by an average of half or more in many studies.

When does a sensitive gut need treatment?

Many people struggle with digestive symptoms but never mention them to a doctor. It’s common to try many remedies on your own — probiotics, avoiding spicy foods, or going gluten-free.

But after one or two close calls of barely making it to the bathroom, people begin to rearrange their lives to avoid crises.

Anna’s experience of growing fear is common.

“The things I was trying weren’t working, and it seemed to come out of nowhere,” she explained.

Over time, and especially in periods of stress, that fear makes the problem worse.

Getting a diagnosis is a step to effective help. To diagnose IBS — which is estimated to affect up to 15 percent of American adults — doctors look for these signs: at least three months with frequent abdominal pain that is relieved after you defecate and that originally began with a change in the frequency or quality of your stool.

IBS also tends to follow the stomach flu or round of antibiotics.

Blood in your stool, weight loss, fever, or anemia suggests other possible diagnoses. You should be checked for an autoimmune problem like Crohn’s, colitis, or celiac if you’re experiencing these symptoms. You may also want to have a radiologic test of your abdomen looking for growths.

By definition, IBS does not have one clear cause. But new science has been suggesting possible factors like genetic variations and altered gut microbiomes for subgroups of patients.

One of the more common treatments is the low-FODMAPs diet, which rules out many vegetables and fruits as well as gluten. FODMAPS stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, all molecules in food.

In a 2016 studyTrusted Source, gut-directed hypnotherapy matched the results of the low-FODMAPS diet. This is welcome news for IBS patients since it clears a potentially easier path to eventually enjoy a broader, healthier diet.

To find out how I can help you with your IBS just contact me.

 

Lifestyle, News, Tech

What is Hypnotherapy?

Welcome to hypnotherapy 101! If you’ve stumbled your way here through a maze of confusing and contradictory online sources, join the club. While hypnosis and hypnotherapy boast roots in ancient history and reams of experimentally-verified results, misinformation and mythology about the concepts abound.

As a trained, certified, and practicing Hypnotherapist, you’ve learned to seek out high-quality, science-based answers to your questions. But straight answers about hypnosis and hypnotherapy can be hard to come by.

So let’s start at the very beginning.

What Is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is the act of guiding someone into the trance state. Different experts define the trance state differently, but they almost always refer to:

  • A deep state of relaxation.
  • Hyperfocus and concentration.
  • Increased suggestibility.

If that sounds commonplace, it’s because it is. Most of us go in and out of the trance state regularly. If you’ve ever zoned out on your daily commute, fallen into a reverie while listening to music, or found yourself immersed in the world of a book or movie, you’ve been in the trance state.

The only difference between hypnosis and these everyday trance states is that, in hypnosis, someone induces the trance state to achieve something: healing, discovery, or stress relief, for example.


What Isn’t Hypnosis?

What about the part where the hypnotist tricks you into quacking like a duck or doing their evil bidding?

The idea that hypnotists can take over the minds of their subjects and control their actions is, of course, an entirely media-driven myth. In the trance state, you control all of your actions, you can hear everything around you, and you cannot be forced to do something against your will.

Certified hypnotherapist Cassie Salewske writes, “In a hypnotherapy session, clients are conscious; they are awake, participating, and remembering.”

Hypnosis, she points out, is known for harnessing “the power of suggestion.” But it’s hardly the only time our minds are susceptible to suggestion.

“Advertising, music, movies, and books routinely plant suggestions into our subconscious. Language and communication are saturated with suggestion,” Salewske writes.

Even participants in stage hypnotism shows operate under the control of their own minds, as it’s impossible for someone not to be conscious while in hypnosis.

What Is Hypnotherapy?

To understand the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy, think of hypnosis as a tool and hypnotherapy as the use of a tool. In SAT terms, hypnotherapy is to hypnotism as art therapy is to art.

The definition of hypnotherapy is clear from the word itself. Hypnotherapy is the practice of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes.

In other words, if you are a professional mental health therapist or medical doctor and you’re using hypnosis to help a client overcome a mental or physical condition, you’re practicing hypnotherapy.

The hypnotic trance state is a remarkably flexible tool for solving mental and physical health problems. Here are just a few ways mental health and medical professionals use hypnotherapy:

  • Helping people quit smoking or reduce overeating by focusing their minds and suggesting healthier behavior.
  • Accessing the mind-body link to relieve chronic and acute pain, including during surgery and childbirth. Hypnotherapy has also proven effective against stubborn physical afflictions like irritable bowel syndrome and dermatological conditions.
  • Diving deep into the subconscious mind to uncover and treat the root causes of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction.

We’ll focus the rest of this article on that last use. As many hypnotherapists have discovered, the trance state is the key to unlocking the hidden depths of our minds, memories, and motivations.

How Does Hypnotherapy Work?

The most powerful feature of the trance state is how it connects our conscious minds to our subconscious minds.

Our subconscious is like our hard drive, where we store every experience, emotion, and though we’ve had.

In the relaxed, hyper-focused state of hypnosis — under the guidance of a hypnotherapist — we can run a Google search on our subconscious, pulling up the repressed memories and buried emotions at the root of our mental health challenges.

Zimberoff writes:

“Each unhealthy current behavior, such as smoking, losing one’s temper, excessive alcohol consumption, or compulsive overeating has a chain of events that laid the foundation for all of our current unhealthy choices. Through the ‘memory chip’ that has been laid down in the subconscious mind, we can trace back the experiences and subconscious decisions we made as children that may be leading us to the behavior that is no longer healthy for us.”

This goes well beyond simple suggestibility.

Experienced hypnotherapist Judi Vitale describes two very different approaches to helping a client quit smoking using hypnotherapy:

“With hypnosis, you might help someone stop smoking by suggesting the taste or smell of cigarettes is worse than it actually is. But a hypnotherapist can also use age regression to examine the impulse that fuels the client’s habit and discover old conclusions and behaviors. The healing will take place when the client creates new conclusions about old memories and chooses new behaviors rather than smoking.”

Because the second approach gets at the root of the problem, Vitale says, it is much more effective than the first. Results come quickly and they last.


Does Hypnotherapy Work? What Does the Science Say?

Because it provides instant access to the subconscious mind, many therapists find hypnotherapy to be more efficient than traditional therapy techniques.

“Hypnotherapy allows us to drop beneath the rational part of our mind,” explains hypnotherapist Stacie Beam-Bruce. “We can get hung up on not understanding why we do something or why we feel something because it doesn’t make rational sense. Hypnotherapy accesses those emotional beliefs that are running amok.”

We spoke with 23 professional hypnotherapists recently, and each reported that hypnotherapy has transformed their practice and the lives of their clients. 

But there is more than anecdotal evidence that hypnotherapy works.

The American Psychological Association concludes, “Although hypnosis has been controversial, most clinicians now agree it can be a powerful, effective therapeutic technique for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety and mood disorders.”

The British Psychological Society commissioned a working group to survey the evidence and write a formal report on hypnotherapy in 2001. They found, “Enough studies have now accumulated to suggest that the inclusion of hypnotic procedures may be beneficial in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions and problems encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy.”

Cutting-edge brain imaging technology now gives us a window into the physical manifestations of hypnotherapy. When they scanned the brains of 57 individuals undergoing hypnosis, Stanford researchers reported that sections of the brain associated with insight and change showed “altered activity and connectivity.”

What Mental Health Issues Can Hypnotherapy Help With?

Many of the hypnotherapists trained by the Wellness Institute have found hypnotherapy to be most effective against issues stemming from repressed trauma.

“When clients can go back to a time when trauma occurred, express their feelings around events, and release their emotions, they can put a timestamp on events that might have been haunting them in a way that seemed as though they were constantly reliving that traumatizing moment,” Vitale says.

Hypnotherapist Wendy Pugh tells us hypnotherapy works exceptionally well when childhood trauma has occurred.

“With hypnotherapy, my clients have experienced so much healing and have been able to make so many connections to how their past traumas are affecting their current functioning,” she says.

For example, Pugh says, many people don’t realize how deeply their current anxieties are rooted in events of the past.

By probing the past, buried emotions, and the false conclusions locked in your clients’ subconscious minds, you can use hypnotherapy to treat some of the most debilitating and persistent mental health challenges.

Read more about how you can use hypnotherapy to treat:

  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Migraines
  • Performance anxiety
  • Addictions
  • Weight problems
  • Anxiety and stress
  • OCD
  • Grief
  • Cancer
  • Childbirth
  • Sleep
  • Dementia


How Does Hypnotherapy Work With Other Modalities?

“Learning hypnotherapy does not commit you to drastically changing your therapy practice,” says hypnotherapist Catherine Reiss. “The training will allow you to more quickly and effectively get to the cause of your clients’ unwanted behaviors and the feelings they present with it, but it also facilitates the use of trance in more traditional formats.”

Once hypnotherapy has opened up the door to your clients’ repressed memories and emotions — foregoing months or years of arduous talk therapy — you can set yourself to the task of healing using your tried-and-true techniques.

“One can continue to do cognitive behavioral therapy and add the use of trance and hypnotherapy techniques,” Reiss says.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in particular, is an effective complement to hypnotherapy.

In our recent report, we explored how the two modalities are often strongest working in tandem. We discussed recent scientific studies that have demonstrated hypnotherapy is a beneficial adjunct to CBT for promoting weight loss and treating issues like bulimia nervosa and dissociative identity disorder.

Sources https://web.wellness-institute.org/blog/bid/256330/what-is-the-difference-between-hypnosis-and-hypnotherapy

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google
Spotify
Consent to display content from Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from Sound