Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Hypnotherapy and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome can include:

Diarrhea or loose bowel movements
Mucus in the stool
Painful abdominal cramping
Rectal discomfort
Poor appetite/weight loss
Wanting to eat frequently to “move things along” – weight gain
Fluid retention

These symptoms can occur in any combination or individually. Certain foods may irritate the problem, which can cause a patient to avoid those foods and even become afraid to eat. Some are afraid to leave the house. And when they do, they have to know every bathroom between their home and their destination.

Who Suffers From Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

– It is estimated that between 10-20% of the population have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
– It affects up to 35 million people in the United States
– IBS affects 1 out of 5 people, two thirds of which are women
– Average age of onset is 20-29 years old in adults and 9-11 years old in children
– IBS is the second leading cause of employee absenteeism

What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Anything which depresses the immune system or anything disturbing the balance which allows bad bacteria to take over can cause IBS.

Why does Hypnotherapy help Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Hypnotherapy is often thought to be therapy that only affects the mind, but as mind and body are inseparably joined hypnosis can also help physical ailments.

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.

Hypnotherapy 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 of the various symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS, or “spastic colon”), including pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, nausea, and gas.

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.  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.

Over 15 years of solid scientific research has demonstrated hypnosis to be an effective, safe and inexpensive choice for IBS alleviation. 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. 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), for males and females, and there are no risks or side effects.
For high-quality, safe, and affordable hypnotherapy, contact me today!

Dr. Bunny Vreeland (805) 482-8111

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