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There are two types of psychological interventions that are shown to be helpful for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). They are Gut Directed Hypnosis and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Zoe offers the Manchester Gut Directed Hypnosis protocol and the North Carolina protocol, both are which shown to be effective through university research. Individuals usually receive significant benefits after 4 to 6 sessions of hypnosis. Sometimes individuals may find they need a few more to address any residual symptoms. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be an integral part of the healing process, which primarily aims to understand and address unhelpful thoughts and emotions which may be triggering or exacerbating your IBS symptoms. There is a high correlation with anxiety and depression with IBS, in terms of triggering symptoms, sustaining symptoms or due to the impact of symptoms. CBT also looks at behavioural changes which may also be helpful and developing positive coping strategies such as relaxation exercises.

A recent study showed Gut Directed Hypnosis was comparable in efficacy to a low FODMAP diet for IBS. Generally individuals experience up to a 70% improvement in IBS symptoms. Studies are showing great outcomes. A recent study of 1000 patients who had gut directed hypnosis for IBS reported 76% of participants had a positive response and  some of these had refractory IBS and doesn’t seem to matter what type of IBS either (constipation or diarrhoea predominant).  

Abdominal pain, bloating or distention, and bowel activity dysfunction (diarrhea or constipation) are all improved with gut directed hypnosis. The greatest improvement is seen in abdominal pain, which is reduced by an average of 50% or more in many studies. In follow-up studies, 81% of patients who initially improved from treatment fully maintained the therapeutic effect for up to 5 years post-treatment. Further, many of the remaining 19% reported only a partial return of symptoms.

Although the motility issue with gastroparesis and the underlying pathology with IBD cannot be healed only treated; clients with IBD and gastroparesis (and many others with co-morbid psychological disorders and chronic health issues) report feeling more relaxed; more able to cope with life; better psychological well-being and report feeling 'more relaxed in their gut'.

Peters S.L., Yao C.K., Philpott H.Yelland, G.W., Muir J.G.Gibson P.R. (2016). Randomised clinical trial: the efficacy of gut-directed hypnotherapy is similar to that of the low FODMAP diet for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. (5), pp. 447-59


Peters, S.L., Muir, G. J., Gibson, P.R. (2015).  Review article: gut-directed hypnotherapy in the management of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory Bowel Disease, Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.  41, (11), pp.1104-1115.

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