Research: WHITEHEAD,

Listed in Issue 130


WHITEHEAD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA, has looked at the empirical evidence for the therapeutic effects of hypnosis in IBS.

Abstract: Irritable bowel syndrome is a complex and prevalent functional gastrointestinal disorder that is treated with limited effectiveness by standard medical care. Hypnosis treatment is the psychological therapy best researched as an intervention for IBS (along with cognitive behavioural therapy). 11 studies, including 5 controlled studies, have assessed the therapeutic effects of hypnosis for IBS. Although this literature has significant limitations, such as small sample sizes and lack of parallel comparisons with other treatments, this body of research consistently shows hypnosis to have a substantial therapeutic impact on IBS, even for patients unresponsive to standard medical interventions. The median response rate to hypnosis treatment is 87%, bowel symptoms can generally be expected to improve by about 50%, psychological symptoms and quality of life improve after treatment, and therapeutic gains are well maintained for most patients for years after the end of treatment.






Whitehead WE. Hypnosis for irritable bowel syndrome: the empirical evidence of therapeutic effects. International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis 54 (1): 7-20, Jan 2006.

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