IBS is one of those conditions that not all that long ago was not really spoken about, or was given some hideous name like spastic colon or mucous colitis. Thankfully, these days we can talk about conditions like IBS without stigma or embarrassment and you no longer have to suffer in silence. Here I will briefly explain what IBS is and how Clinical Hypnotherapy has many tools in the box to aid with the numerous and varied list of symptoms.
So you have been experiencing what you think may be IBS – diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, or other symptoms for seemingly no reason. When you do finally pluck up the courage to see your doctor they will give you a battery of tests to check for any disease. Should they all come back negative, your symptoms will probably be diagnosed as IBS as they cannot find anything wrong with you and researchers have not figured out yet what IBS actually is. Depending on your symptoms you can be offered a variety of pills and potions. You will probably get the diet and exercise lecture by your doctor, which is all very well, but you probably already know what’s good for you. Doing it is a different matter.
Stress and diet are considered the main triggers for IBS symptoms. It just so happens these are two things hypnotherapy is very good for – stress reduction and habit manipulation. Your doctor will probably say things like. You really should avoid eating XYZ foods because you know they trigger your IBS or you really need to reduce the stress in your life. It is one thing knowing something and it is quite another to have the ability to do it. Hypnotherapy can help in both areas with a variety of techniques to help you take control of your life.
Something as simple as a post hypnotic suggestion for someone having difficulty keeping a detailed food diary/journal can make a big difference. This information could yield a pattern of illness linked to certain trigger foods and events happening in the patients life. Visualization can be used to imagine an IBS symptom free future, to increase motivation for moderate exercise and avoiding trigger foods, increase confidence, assertiveness and to better deal with stressful situations.
Some people who have been diagnosed by their doctor with IBS experience a lot of abdominal pain and the symptoms may be alleviated with pain management techniques such as Glove Anesthesia which allows you to numb or change the perception of localized pain.
Gut directed therapy is used by some therapist who believe the gut acts independently from the brain and can itself respond more effectively to suggestion. Metaphor is another great tool to influence the unconscious mind indirectly. The G.I. tract can be related to a river flowing too fast or too slowly or with disturbances at certain points. As an example, a story of a river being attended to and maintained so that optimal flow is achieved could be utilized.
So if you have been diagnosed with IBS by your doctor and feel Clinical Hypnotherapy might help, seek out a qualified practitioner who ideally specialises in gastro-intestinal disorders.
Michael Orme is a Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Nailsea near Bristol, U.K. More information can be found at http://www.hypnotherapybristol.co.uk.