FYIHypnotherapy Benefits Patients With Irritable Bowel SyndromeNEW YORK (Reuters Health) Apr 27 - In patients with refractory irritable bowel syndrome, hypnotherapy reduces the hyperresponsiveness of the colon after eating, according to Swedish researchers."Postprandial symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome are common and related to an exaggerated motor and sensory component of the gastrocolonic response," Dr. Magnus Simren and colleagues from Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Goteborg, write in the March/April issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.Twenty-eight patients with irritable bowel syndrome that had not responded to other treatments were randomly assigned to receive gut-directed hypnotherapy 1 hr/week for 12 weeks (n = 14) or supportive therapy (controls; n = 14).Hypnotherapy patients were given suggestions in the hypnotic state directed at normalizing GI function, and included imagery of "a river flowing smoothly, or a blocked river flow that was cleared by the patient," the researchers elaborate. Patients were encouraged to practice their "hypnotic skills" at home between sessions.Patients in the supportive group attended sessions on diet emphasizing "good and bad food items," and on relaxation training.At baseline and 3 months, the patients underwent a colonic distension trial before and following a 1-hour duodenal lipid infusion. The team assessed colonic sensory thresholds and tonic and phasic motor activity."At baseline, both groups had similar fasting balloon volumes in the colon and demonstrated reduced balloon volumes, indicating increased tone during the lipid infusion, without significant group differences," Dr. Simren and colleagues explain.After the treatment period, the hypnotherapy patients but not the control patients "failed to demonstrate a colonic tone response during the lipid perfusion."Based on their findings in relation to specific sensations, the investigators conclude that hypnotherapy reduces the sensory and motor components of the gastrocolonic response in irritable bowel syndrome. "This could be one of perhaps several factors responsible for the good clinical efficacy of this treatment modality in these patients."Psychosom Med 2004;66:233-238.