Hypnotherapy might help relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) complaints for some patients for as long as 9 months after the end of treatment, according to study published in The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal.
The findings suggest that group hypnotherapy is as effective as individual sessions, which could enable many more patients with IBS to be treated at reduced cost.
The study found that IBS patients undergoing hypnotherapy reported a greater overall improvement in their condition and were more able to cope with, and were less troubled by, their symptoms compared with those who received educational supportive therapy. However, hypnotherapy did not appear to reduce the severity of symptoms.
While the findings are promising, the authors conclude that more research will be needed to test the optimum number of hypnotherapy sessions, the effect that patient expectations may have on treatment outcome, and the extent to which hypnotherapy outcomes are influenced by the magnitude of the psychological complaints of the patient.