What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Have you been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Do you struggle with discomfort in your stomach and gut? Do you feel bloated, have constipation or diarrhoea? Do you worry about going out in case you have an accident?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a functional disorder of the gut. It is a common illness affecting an estimated 1 in 5 of the population.

Certain foods are known to trigger IBS symptoms, such as fatty foods, caffeine and processed foods. Stress is also known to trigger IBS symptoms.

Although there is no cure for IBS some treatments are known to help including changes to diet, reducing stress, exercise and medication.

Research conducted at The University Hospital of South Manchester in Wythenshawe has shown that hypnosis is an effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of IBS and increasing quality of life in patients.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends hypnotherapy as a treatment for IBS in those whose symptoms have not improved after 12 months on medication.

What are the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

The symptoms of IBS can be uncomfortable and unpleasant for sufferers and can include:

  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • stomach pain or cramps
  • bloating of the stomach
  • flatulence

Although the cause of IBS is unknown, research suggests that it is related to increased sensitivity in the gut. For IBS sufferers potentially mild symptoms, such as indigestion, become very painful and uncomfortable.

How Can Hypno-ACT help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Hypno-ACT can be an effective treatment for IBS and it builds on the “Manchester Model Of IBS Management”, developed by Professor Whorwell and his team. It combines hypnotic techniques, mindfulness as well as helpful tools from CBT and EMDR. There are a number of reasons to choose Hypno-ACT to reduce your IBS symptoms:

  • It is a safe and natural process – reducing the need for medication
  • It focuses on developing your natural strengths and abilities for your own well being
  • It is a pleasant, enjoyable and relaxing treatment
  • It is effective at reducing stress, therefore helping you to better manage your symptoms
  • It can also be used to treat other symptoms such as migraines or tension headaches

The treatment includes:

Stress Management Techniques

Using hypnosis, mindfulness and techniques from acceptance and commitment therapy you will learn how to better manage your stress and anxiety and to feel calmer and more relaxed throughout your life.

Gut Directed Hypnotherapy

Using hypnotherapy, we will help you to use your imagination to improve the functioning of your gut.

Learn Effective Self-Hypnosis Skills

You will develop your ability to use self-hypnosis to soothe and calm uncomfortable sensations any time you need to.

What does the research on the Manchester Model for Irritable Bowel Syndrome say?

The majority of patients achieve marked improvement in symptoms and quality of life, an effect that is usually sustained.

Gonsalkorale, 2004Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy: The Manchester Approach for Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Referral for psychological interventions (cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT], hypnotherapy and/or psychological therapy) should be considered for people with IBS who do not respond to pharmacological treatments after 12 months.

NICE (National Institute For Health & Care Excellence) guidelines, 2015

Gut-directed hypnotherapy benefits patients via symptom reduction and reduced medication usage.

Roberts et al, 2006Gut-directed hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome: piloting a primary care-based randomised controlled trial

The hypnotherapy patients showed a dramatic improvement in all features, the difference between the two groups being highly significant. In the hypnotherapy group no relapses were recorded during the 3-month follow-up period, and no substitution symptoms were observed.

Whorwhell et al, 1984Controlled trial of hypnotherapy in the treatment of severe refractory irritable-bowel syndrome