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Does it work? Hypnotherapy for IBSBarbara Lantin investigates an unconventional treatment for reducing gut sensitivityBetween five and eight million people in the UK suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and many can find no treatment that brings relief. Although the condition is often regarded as minor, the symptoms - including diarrhoea, pain and bloating - can seriously affect quality of life. This month, the journal Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin suggested that hypnotherapy may be worth a try for people with severe symptoms that do not respond to conventional treatment. Look into my eyes: hypnotist Paul McKenna What exactly happens?Forget those stage hypnotists who return their powerless subjects to childhood. During gut-directed hypnosis the therapist is interested in the colon and nothing else. A course usually consists of 12 one-hour sessions during which a hypnotic state is induced. Patients are given an explanation of how the gut works and what causes their symptoms, and then learn to influence and gain control of their gut function. They are sometimes given a CD so they can practise self-hypnosis at home.Does this mean IBS is all in the mind?"We do not think IBS is a psychological disorder, nor do we think this is a psychological treatment," says Peter Whorwell, professor of medicine and gastroenterology at Manchester University, who runs one of the few NHS clinics offering gut-directed hypnotherapy. "IBS is made worse by stress but it is not caused by stress. We don't know exactly how gut-directed hypnotherapy works, but it may change the way the brain modulates gut activity." Laboratory tests have shown that under hypnosis, gut sensitivity is reduced.So, does it work?Prof Whorwell has treated patients using hypnotherapy for 20 years with a success rate of about 70 per cent. "It helps all the symptoms, whereas some of the drugs available reduce only a few of the symptoms. However, men don't do quite as well as women." Several randomised controlled trials have shown good results. In one, group hypnotherapy proved as effective as individual sessions.Where can I get it?Gut-directed hypnotherapy is not widely available on the NHS. Your GP will know if there is a clinic you can be referred to. Because anybody can call themselves a hypnotherapist, it is risky to pick a name out of the phone book: IBS sufferers need somebody specifically trained in gut-directed hypnotherapy. The British Society of Medical and Dental Hypnosis may be able to help. See http://www.bsmdh.com or call 07000 560 309.http://health.telegraph.co.uk/health/main....1/hdoesit21.xml
 

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Michael Mahoney's Response to this article:=========================================You may be interested to know that a gut-specific clinical hypnotherapy method for treating IBS is available through my clinical hypnotherapy practice which also administers the UK Register of IBS Therapists. As a medical centre based clinical hypnotherapist who works alongside gastroenterologists, the Register provides training in gut-specific IBS therapy to qualified and experienced hypnotherapists who want to further their understanding of the IBS condition and provide effective services to their IBS patients. The UK Register of IBS Therapists also provides IBS Information to sufferers and also contact names of therapists. This can be found at http://www.ibs-register.co.ukFor those patients diagnosed with IBS who are unable to find a qualified hypnotherapist in their area, or cannot travel, they may receive treatment through a home use gut specific audio program that has been available to IBS sufferers since 1998. The IBS Audio Program 100® is now used by sufferers in 34 countries. In April of this year the IBS Audio Program 100® was successfully shown to gastroenterologists and medical health care professionals at the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Symposium in Milwaukee. The IBS Program 100® replicates therapy sessions used in the clinical setting onto CDs, and also includes The IBS Companion© developed for family of IBS sufferers. More information can be obtained from http://www.ibscds.com I hope you find this of interest.Best Regards,Michael Mahoney, MDHthpNote to Editor: Michael Mahoney is a member of the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, the International Functional Brain-Gut Research Group, the Hypnotherapy Association and Guild of Master Hypnotists, The British Council of Hypnotist Examiners, and The British Hypnotherapy Association, and an accredited member of the Hypnotherapy RegisterServes patients through NHS, non-NHS and BUPA He has research and patient trials experience showing success rates of 85% - 95% IBS symptom reduction.In 2003 he was named first in the Independent on Sunday ‘Top Brass Section’ of leading hypnotherapists in the UK.
 
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