Research: PALSSON and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 130


PALSSON and colleagues, Division of Digestive Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, have piloted home treatment by hypnosis for patients with IBS.


Hypnosis treatment often improves irritable bowel syndrome, but the costs and reliance on specialized therapists limit its availability. The aim of this study was to assess whether hypnosis could be provided as a home treatment.


A 3-month home-treatment version of a scripted hypnosis protocol previously shown to improve all central IBS symptoms was completed by 19 IBS patients. Outcomes were compared to those of 57 matched IBS patients from a separate study receiving only standard medical care.


10 of the hypnosis subjects (53%) responded to treatment by 3-month follow-up (response defined as more than 50% reduction in IBS severity) vs. 15 (26%) of controls. Hypnosis subjects improved more in quality of life scores compared to controls. Anxiety predicted poor treatment response. Hypnosis responders remained improved at 6-month follow-up.


Although the response rate was lower than in therapist-delivered treatment, hypnosis home treatment may double the proportion of IBS patients improving significantly in the space of 6 months.


Palsson OS, Turner MJ, Whitehead WE. Hypnosis home treatment for irritable bowel syndrome: a pilot study. International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis 54 (1): 85-99, Jan 2006.

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