Scand J Gastroenterol Suppl. 1999;230:49-51.

Hypnotherapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: methods and results in Amsterdam.

Vidakovic-Vukic M


Research introduction

This paper reports the results of treatment of 27 Dutch patients treated with gut-directed hypnotherapy tailored to each individual patient. All of the 24 patients who completed treatment were found to be improve.




Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is frequently observed, but its etiology and pathogenesis are still unknown. However, it is clear that individual perception plays an important part in pathogenesis (hypersensitive, hyperreactive gut). There is no easy medical treatment of IBS. However, in recent years, hypnotherapy (HT) has been shown to be successful in the treatment of IBS.


Recently we started treating IBS patients using hypnotherapy. All our patients remained symptomatic, despite medical therapy. We applied the gut-targeted method, adding to it the view that the therapy should be tailored to the individual, in accordance with each person's unique representational style.


So far, 27 patients have been treated, with good results, comparable to results elsewhere. Of these patients two stopped the therapyprematurely, and one remained symptomatic. All other patients experienced clear improvement: pain and flatulence was reduced or completely disappeared, and bowel habits normalized.


Based on data from the literature and supported by our own experience, we conclude that hypnotherapy is a valuable addition to the conventional treatment of IBS. To improve our knowledge of sensitivity to hypnotherapy, further research is necessary to recognize cases with more hypersensitivity and those dominated by hypervigilance. More generally, we need a theoretical model of hypnotherapy as applied to treating physiological disorders.

Link to full paper with PMID: 10499462