Using Hypnotherapy to Treat Children with Functional Abdominal Pain and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Thursday, October 30, 2008 by: Steve G. Jones, Ed.S.
Tags: abdominal pain, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Functional Abdominal Pain (FAP) is very common in children. Pain in the abdomen is diagnosed as FAP when the pain is chronic and there seem to be no other symptoms. Children should be checked by a medical professional to rule out other illnesses.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects the digestive system. Symptoms include pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, headache, and nausea. People with IBS have sensitive intestines that result in cramping or spasms due to food and even stress.
For both functional abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome, traditional treatment includes medication and a change in diet. Eating more fiber and reducing fat intake has been shown to help relieve the symptoms.

It has been shown that hypnotherapy sessions can help adults treat IBS. A recent study was performed to test the efficacy of hypnosis in treating children with FAP or IBS. The study consisted of 53 children age 8-18 years who were suffering from FAP or IBS. There were 31 patients who had been medically diagnosed with FAP and 22 were medically diagnosed with IBS.

They were randomly put into two groups. One group received 6 sessions of hypnotherapy during the course of the three-month study. The other group, the control group, received standard medical care and 6 sessions of therapy.

All participants were asked to keep diaries on a weekly basis to keep track of their pain intensity and frequency. These diaries were recorded before the study started, during therapy, and during the 6 and 12-month follow-ups.

Results compared the two groups. The hypnotherapy group reported borderline pain intensity to be 13.5. The one-year follow-up reported a pain intensity of 1.3. The control group reported borderline pain intensity to be 14.1 and the one-year follow-up showed a pain intensity of 8.0. The hypnotherapy group reported borderline pain frequency to be 13.5 and the one-year follow-up reported a 1.1. The control group saw a decrease in pain frequency from a borderline of 14.4 to 9.3 at the one-year follow-up.

The study concluded that hypnotherapy resulted in improved pain intensity and frequency in children. The one-year follow-up showed 85% of the hypnotherapy group received successful treatment compared to 25% of the control group.

Vlieger, A., Menko-Frankenhuis, C., Wolfkamp, S., Tromp, E. and Benninga, M. (2003). Hypnotherapy for Children with Functional Abdominal Pain or Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Gastroenterology. 133(5). 1430-1436.

About the author

Steve G. Jones, Ed.S. has been practicing hypnotherapy since the 1980s. He is the author of 22 books on Hypnotherapy. Steve is a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, American Board of Hypnotherapy, president of the American Alliance of Hypnotists, on the board of directors of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Lung Association, and director of the Steve G. Jones School of Clinical Hypnotherapy.
Steve G. Jones, Ed.S. is a board certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Florida (1994), a master's degree in education from Armstrong Atlantic State University (2007), and is currently working on a doctorate in education, Ed.D., at Georgia Southern University. Learn more at:

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