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IBS and Hypnotherapy: How to Regain Control Over Your Digestive Health


Imagine fearing the prospect of a romantic dinner date, not because of the usual nerves and butterflies, but because of the unpredictable and often debilitating effects of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This common gastrointestinal disorder can significantly impact one’s ability to forge and maintain relationships, often leading to anxiety, embarrassment, and social isolation.

Fortunately, a potential solution has shown promising results – UpNow self-hypnotherapy. With a growing number of individuals seeking alternative treatments, IBS hypnotherapy is emerging as an effective method to manage this condition and help sufferers regain control of their lives and relationships.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Types

IBS sufferers, when diagnosed with this gastrointestinal issue, fall into four main categories outlined in the Rome IV criteria. This classification measures the percentages of solid components and runny stool (i.e. without any separate solid clots).

  • IBS-D (diarrhoea): >25% of the stool is fluid, and <25% are solid components,
  • IBS-C (constipation): >25% of the stool are separate solid components, <25% fluid,
  • IBS-M (mixed): >25% of the stool is fluid, and >25% are solid clots,
  • IBS-U (unclassified – symptoms may vary): separating fluid and clots is impossible.

IBS Symptoms

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder that can cause various symptoms and significantly impact a person’s quality of life. According to research, common IBS symptoms include:

  1. Abdominal pain or cramping: This is often the most prominent symptom of IBS, and it can be accompanied by bloating or a sensation of fullness. The pain may be relieved by passing gas or having a bowel movement. These uncomfortable sensations may come with varied frequency or intensity.
  2. Altered bowel habits: People with irritable bowel syndrome may experience diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both. Bowel movements may be more frequent, less frequent, or erratic.
  3. Changes in stool consistency: IBS can cause stools to become hard and lumpy or loose and watery.
  4. Urgency: Sufferers may need frequent trips to the bathroom due to a sudden and urgent need for a bowel movement.
  5. Mucus in the stool: An excess of mucus in the stool is a common symptom of IBS.

Extra-Colonic Symptoms

Apart from the primary gastrointestinal symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome can also present with other symptoms outside the gut system. These extra-colonic symptoms include:

  1. Fatigue: IBS sufferers often report feeling tired or lacking energy.
  2. Sleep disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, as well as waking up feeling unrefreshed, is common among IBS patients.
  3. Joint and muscle pain: Some people with irritable bowel syndrome experience unexplained joint or muscle pain.
  4. Headaches: Headaches are another common extra-colonic symptom of IBS.
  5. Nausea: some IBS Sufferers might experience occasional nausea.
  6. Anxiety and depression: People with IBS have a higher prevalence of anxiety and depression, which can exacerbate gastrointestinal symptoms.

What is Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy?

Gut-directed hypnotherapy is a psychological therapeutic approach that focuses on improving the functioning of the gastrointestinal system through relaxation and suggestion techniques. During hypnotherapy sessions, a trained therapist will guide the patient into a state of deep relaxation, also known as a hypnotic trance. In this relaxed state, the patient becomes highly receptive to suggestions aimed at reducing their IBS symptoms.

Gut-directed hypnotherapy can help patients gain better control over their digestive processes, reduce stress levels, and improve their overall sense of well-being. Studies have shown that gut-directed hypnotherapy can be an effective long-term treatment for IBS, with many patients experiencing a significant reduction in their symptoms and improved quality of life.

Understanding the Digestive Tract

The human digestive system is a remarkable, intricate network responsible for breaking down the food we eat, allowing our bodies to absorb essential nutrients, and eliminating waste. Think of it as an assembly line in a factory where each worker has a specific task: our digestive system has various organs, each with a unique role in processing the food we consume. This process is vital for maintaining our overall health, as it supplies our body with the necessary energy and building blocks for growth and repair.

The journey of digestion begins in the mouth, where the mechanical action of chewing, along with enzymes in saliva, starts breaking down food into smaller pieces. It then travels through the esophagus to the stomach, where acids and enzymes further degrade the food. The small intestine is the next stop, where the majority of nutrient absorption occurs. Throughout this process, the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas contribute their essential secretions to aid in digestion and absorption.

The food particles are then propelled along the digestive tube through the contraction of smooth muscles lining the intestinal tract. Finally, the remaining undigested food moves into the large intestine (colon), where water is absorbed, and the remaining waste is formed into stools. The waste then travels through the rectum and is eliminated through the anus during a bowel movement.

When the digestive tract is not functioning optimally, it can lead to various gastrointestinal disorders, including IBS. Through gut-directed hypnotherapy, patients can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their digestive function for a better quality of life.

What is Clinical Hypnosis?

Clinical hypnosis, also known as hypnotherapy or medical hypnotherapy, is a therapeutic technique in which a trained professional helps patients enter a state of focused attention and heightened suggestibility, enabling them to access their subconscious mind. Clinical hypnosis is used in medical and psychological settings to help patients manage a variety of physical and emotional conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, and gastrointestinal disorders like IBS.

During a hypnosis session, your clinical hypnotherapist guides you to a state of deep relaxing focus. When you have reached the hypnotic state, your clinical hypnosis practitioner provides tailored suggestions to release gastrointestinal problems through an online self-hypnotherapy management program.

In recent years, clinical hypnosis has gained increasing acceptance in hospitals and medical facilities worldwide, as numerous medical studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in treating a wide range of conditions.

How can Hypnosis Treatment Help with Gut Function?

Clinical hypnosis can help improve gut function and alleviate IBS symptoms through its effect on the brain-gut axis. The brain-gut axis is a complex communication network between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) with the enteric nervous system (the network of neurons within the gastrointestinal tract). This connection allows bidirectional communication, meaning that the brain can influence gut function, and the gut can affect the brain.

Through hypnosis, patients can become more aware of and gain control over their bodily functions, including digestion. By accessing the subconscious mind, hypnosis therapy can help modify the way the brain perceives and processes pain, stress, and other factors that may contribute to irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Additionally, hypnosis can aid in promoting relaxation and stress reduction, which can positively impact gut function and overall well-being.

Hypnosis for IBS

Conventional Approaches to Gut Treatment

There are several conventional approaches to managing IBS and other gastrointestinal issues. These approaches can be classified into two main categories: dietary changes and medication.

Dietary Changes & Low FODMAP Diet

One common IBS treatment is making dietary adjustments. Many IBS sufferers find certain foods can trigger or worsen their symptoms. Therefore, a low FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) diet is often recommended for IBS patients. This diet involves restricting the intake of specific carbohydrates poorly absorbed in the small intestine and which can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

The low FODMAP diet typically involves three phases:

  1. Elimination: During this phase, all high FODMAP foods are removed from the diet for 4 to 6 weeks.
  2. Reintroduction: In this phase, individual FODMAPs are systematically reintroduced to determine which specific foods or groups are responsible for triggering symptoms.
  3. Personalization: Based on the results of the reintroduction phase, a tailored diet is created to limit the problematic FODMAPs while ensuring adequate nutrition and variety.


Medications are another conventional approach to managing IBS and other gastrointestinal conditions. The choice of medication depends on the specific symptoms experienced by the patient and the IBS type. Some common medications used for IBS include:

  1. Antispasmodics: These medications help reduce muscle spasms in the gastrointestinal tract, relieving abdominal pain and cramping.
  2. Laxatives: For patients with IBS-C (constipation-predominant IBS), laxatives can help stimulate bowel movements and ease constipation.
  3. Antidiarrheals: In cases of IBS-D (diarrhoea-predominant IBS), antidiarrheal medications can help slow down stool movement through the gut and reduce the frequency of bowel movements.
  4. Antidepressants: Low doses of antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help to alleviate pain and improve overall well-being in some IBS patients.

It is essential to note that these conventional approaches should be tailored to each individual’s needs, and ongoing communication with a healthcare professional is crucial for effectively managing IBS and other gastrointestinal conditions. In addition, taking medications can bring side effects.

Other Benefits of a Hypnotherapy Treatment

Apart from its effectiveness in treating IBS, hypnotherapy offers a range of additional benefits, including:

  1. Better sleep: Hypnotherapy can help improve sleep quality and duration by addressing underlying issues such as stress, anxiety, and poor sleep habits.
  2. Increased relaxation: Hypnotherapy promotes deep relaxation, reducing stress levels and improving overall well-being.
  3. Releasing fears and phobias: Hypnotherapy can help individuals overcome fears and phobias by addressing the root cause of these issues and promoting positive behavioural changes.
  4. Improved self-confidence: Hypnotherapy can help a person enhance self-esteem and self-confidence by addressing negative thought patterns and promoting positive self-beliefs.
  5. Enhanced focus and concentration: Hypnotherapy can improve focus and concentration, which can improve academic, professional, and personal performance.
  6. Lack of side effects created by medication: therapy can help you leverage the mind and body connections through artfully crafted suggestions.

Can Hypnotherapy Calm Abdominal Pain?

Clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in managing abdominal pain associated with IBS. For instance, a study published in the Gastroenterology journal (Whorwell et al., 1984) found that hypnotherapy significantly reduced pain intensity and abdominal distension while improving bowel habits and quality of life. The control group that received psychotherapy and placebo showed a small improvement in all previous measures except for the bowel habit. This study also reported all hypnotherapy still exhibited significant improvement 3 months after the treatment. 

A 2015 review of the empirical evidence of hypnosis treatments for ibs by Olafur Palsson concluded that hypnotherapy is an efficient solution with long-lasting symptom relief, especially for people refractory to standard therapies. 

These findings suggest that hypnotherapy can effectively address the underlying psychological factors contributing to abdominal pain, such as stress and anxiety, and promote relaxation and pain relief. In fact, hypnotherapy can manage many functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as nausea and swallowing difficulties. 

What Does Research on Hypnosis for IBS Say?

A growing body of evidence supports the efficacy of hypnotherapy in treating IBS. For example, a meta-analysis and systematic review published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Peters et al., 2015) found that hypnotherapy significantly improved IBS symptoms, quality of life, and psychological well-being compared to control groups.

Another review published in the Gut journal in November 2003 concluded that gut-directed hypnotherapy is an effective and safe treatment option for IBS. In addition, the authors highlighted the long-lasting benefits of hypnotherapy, with symptom improvements persisting for up to 5 years following treatment.

These studies demonstrate the potential of hypnotherapy as a viable treatment option for IBS, with some suggesting significant improvements in symptom management and overall quality of life.

Hypnotherapy for IBS Treatment

What are the Long-Term Improvements Gained Through Hypnotherapy for IBS Treatment?

Long-term benefits of hypnotherapy for IBS include:

  1. Sustained symptom relief: Many patients experience lasting improvements in IBS symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel habits, even after the completion of hypnotherapy sessions.
  2. Improved quality of life: By reducing the severity and frequency of IBS symptoms, hypnotherapy can help patients regain control over their daily lives and enjoy better overall well-being.
  3. Enhanced stress management: Hypnotherapy can equip patients with tools for managing stress and anxiety, which may contribute to IBS symptoms.
  4. Reduced reliance on medication: As hypnotherapy helps reduce IBS symptoms, patients may require fewer medications to manage their condition.

The Importance of Continued Practice of Hypnotherapy Techniques during Follow-up

Continued practice of self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques is crucial in maintaining the benefits of hypnotherapy treatment for IBS. By regularly implementing these techniques, patients can reinforce the positive changes made during therapy sessions and improve their symptom management.

Moreover, continued practice can enhance stress resilience and promote overall mental and physical well-being. Regular self-hypnosis can be a preventative measure, reducing the likelihood of symptom flare-ups and improving the patient’s overall quality of life.

Improving Quality of Life, and Overcoming Anxiety, and Depression with Hypnosis

Gut-directed hypnotherapy has emerged as an effective and promising solution to alleviate the distressing symptoms of IBS, anxiety, and depression. With its ability to harness the power of the subconscious mind, this therapeutic approach can help you regain control over your gut function, reduce stress levels, and, most importantly, improve your overall quality of life.

It is time to take action and embrace a new, effective means of managing IBS and its related issues. For those seeking a non-invasive and comprehensive approach to combating IBS, anxiety, and depression, the UpNow Hypnosis app offers a revolutionary way to achieve lasting relief. With expertly crafted hypnosis sessions tailored to your specific needs, the UpNow Hypnosis app brings the power of professional gut-directed hypnotherapy to the palm of your hand.

By downloading the UpNow Hypnosis app, you are taking a crucial step in overcoming IBS and improving your mental well-being. The app provides an extensive library of hypnosis sessions designed by trained professionals, ensuring you receive the best possible care and support on your path to recovery. Furthermore, the app promotes self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques, equipping you with the tools to maintain the long-lasting benefits of hypnotherapy and effectively manage your symptoms.

Feeling UpNow & Managing IBS

Imagine a life free from the constraints of IBS, anxiety, and depression—a life where you can confidently navigate social situations, enjoy your favourite meals, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. With the UpNow Hypnosis app, this life is within your reach.

So, don’t wait any longer. Take the next step towards reclaiming control over your body and mind. Start your hypnosis treatment today. Download the UpNow Hypnosis app today and embark on your journey towards a happier, healthier, and IBS-free life. Experience the transformation hypnotherapy can offer and unlock your potential for lasting relief and overall well-being.

UpNow Health only uses high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed articles, to support the facts within our articles. Experts review all our articles to ensure that our content is accurate, helpful, and trustworthy.

1. Hetterich, L., & Stengel, A. (2020). Psychotherapeutic Interventions in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Frontiers in psychiatry11, 286.

2. Whorwell P. J. (2005). Review article: The history of hypnotherapy and its role in the irritable bowel syndrome. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics22(11-12), 1061–1067.

3. Chiarioni, G., Palsson, O. S., & Whitehead, W. E. (2008). Hypnosis and upper digestive function and disease. World Journal of Gastroenterology14(41), 6276–6284.

4. Kim, S., Chang, L. (2012) A Mindful Way Through IBS: Reducing Abdominal Pain And Improving Quality Of Life, Lambert Academic Publishing. DOI:

5. Peters, S.L., Yao, C.K., Philpott, H., Yelland, G.W., Muir, J.G. and Gibson, P.R. (2016), Randomised clinical trial: the efficacy of gut-directed hypnotherapy similar to that of the low FODMAP diet for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 44: 447-459.

6. Peters, S. L., Muir, J. G., & Gibson, P. R. (2015). Review article: gut-directed hypnotherapy in management of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics41(11), 1104–1115.

7. Gonsalkorale, W. M., Miller, V., Afzal, A., & Whorwell, P. J. (2003). Long term benefits of hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome. Gut52(11), 1623–1629.


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