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The Benefits of Hypnosis in Treating Gastrointestinal Disorders

Monday, February 02, 2009 by: Steve G. Jones, Ed.S.
Tags: hypnosis, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Gastrointestinal disorders plague many people. Gastroenterologists report that over 50% of the cases they see are either irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or functional dyspepsia (FD). Many studies have been done that show effective results when treating gastrointestinal disorders with hypnotherapy.

According to the Merck Manual, irritable bowel syndrome involves pain in the abdominal area and must also have 2 of the following side effects: relief by defecation and change of frequency or consistency of stool. IBS is normally treated by administering a change in diet and prescription medication. Functional dyspepsia is characterized by pain in the upper abdomen area. The causes of FD are numerous including acid reflux, ulcer, cancer, and medication.

An article appeared in a 2002 volume of Gastroenterology discussing two separate studies using hypnosis to treat IBS and FD. The first study tested 30 patients experiencing severe IBS. The participants in the study either received 7 sessions of hypnosis or 7 sessions of therapy and placebo pills. The study concluded that the hypnosis treatment was highly effective. All of the patients receiving hypnosis reported improvement in their IBS symptoms. They also maintained the improvement after a two-year follow up.

The same researchers performed a similar controlled study aimed at using hypnosis to treat functional dyspepsia. The participants involved in this study either received hypnosis, therapy with a placebo, or standard medical treatment. Researchers concluded that the hypnosis group saw the best improvements. At the end of the treatment, 59% saw improvement and at the one-year follow up, 73% of the hypnosis group saw improvement in their symptoms. They also reported reductions in medication and they reported an overall improvement in their quality of life.

Both of these studies show that hypnosis is a viable form of treatment for gastrointestinal disorders. The researchers suggested that patients with gastrointestinal disorders should have access to hypnotherapy to treat their disorder. It must also be pointed out that treating gastrointestinal problems with hypnotherapy can produce greater savings in medical costs. The reason for this is a reduction in usage of prescription drugs and a reduction in medical visits to doctors.

Many times, the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders can become worse if there is added stress on the individual. Hypnosis therapy targets stress, diminishes it and relaxes the subject. As part of the chain reaction, the symptoms of initial disorders can decrease as well. This is why many health professionals may recommend getting hypnosis therapy for patients who experience problems with their digestive system.


Palsson, O.S. & Whitehead, W.E. (2002). The Growing Case for Hypnosis as Adjunctive Therapy for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Gastroenterology, 123(6). 2132-5.

The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library

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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