Am J Gastroenterol. 2012 Feb;107(2):276-85. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2011.340. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

Effects of gut-directed hypnotherapy on IBS in different clinical settings-results from two randomized, controlled trials.

Lindfors PUnge PArvidsson PNyhlin HBjörnsson EAbrahamsson HSimrén M.

 

research introduction

This pair of controlled research trials in Sweden investigated the effects of 12 sessions of gut-directed hypnotherapy for IBS in two different clinical settings. In study 1, 90 patients were randomly assigned to receive either hypnotherapy or supportive therapy in psychology private practices, whereas in the second study 48 patients were randomly assigned to either gut-directed hypnotherapy or a waiting list in a small county hospital. Gastrointestinal symptom severity and quality of life were evaluated at baseline, at 3 months follow-up and after 1 year. In both the studies, IBS-related symptoms were improved at 3 months in the hypnosis groups but not in the control groups. In study 1, hypnosis produced a significantly greater improvement in IBS symptom severity than in the control group (P<0.05), and a trend in the same direction was seen in study 2. The benefits from hypnosis treatment seen at 3 months were sustained up to 1 year.

 

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: 

Gut-directed hypnotherapy has been found to be effective in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, randomized, controlledstudies are rare and few have been performed outside highly specialized research centers. The objective of this study was to study the effect of gut-directed hypnotherapy in IBS in different clinical settings outside the traditional research units.

METHODS: 

The study population included IBS patients refractory to standard management. In study 1, patients were randomized to receive gut-directed hypnotherapy (12 sessions, 1 h/week) in psychology private practices or supportive therapy, whereas patients were randomized to receive gut-directed hypnotherapy in a small county hospital or to serve as waiting list controls in study 2. Gastrointestinal symptom severity and quality of life were evaluated at baseline, at 3 months follow-up and after 1 year.

RESULTS: 

We randomized 138 IBS patients refractory to standard management, 90 in study 1 and 48 in study 2. In both the studies, IBS-related symptoms were improved at 3 months in the gut-directed hypnotherapy groups (P<0.05), but not in the control groups (ns). In study 1, a significantly greater improvement of IBS-related symptom severity could be detected in the gut-directed hypnotherapy group than in the control group (P<0.05), and a trend in the same direction was seen in study 2 (P=0.17). The results seen at 3 months were sustained up to 1 year.

CONCLUSIONS: 

Gut-directed hypnotherapy is an effective treatment alternative for patients with refractory IBS, but the effectiveness is lower when the therapy is given outside the highly specialized research centers.
 

Link to full paper with PMID: 21971535