Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hypnotherapy in the treatment of severe refractory irritable-bowel syndrome (IBS)

Whorwell PJ; Prior A; Faragher EB. Controlled trial of hypnotherapy in the treatment of severe refractory irritable-bowel syndrome.The Lancet 1984, 2: 1232-4. 
This was the earliest formal study of hypnosis treatment for IBS and remains to date one of the best studies in this research area, as it was thoroughly placebo-controlled and showed dramatically greater improvement from hypnosis treatment above the placebo. 

Thirty patients with severe symptoms that had been unresponsive to other treatment were randomly chosen to receive either 7 sessions of hypnotherapy (15 patients) or 7 sessions of psychotherapy plus placebo pills (15 patients). 

The psychotherapy group showed a small but significant improvement in abdominal pain and distension, and in general well-being but not bowel activity pattern. The hypnotherapy patients showed a dramatic improvement in all IBS symptoms. The hypnotherapy group showed no relapses during the 3-month follow-up period. 

Figure adapted from the above paper by Whorwell and colleagues, showing the changes in the hypnosis group and the comparison treatment group in well-being (upper left-hand graph) and IBS symptoms during the 2-week baseline and 12-week treatment period.

How to Select a Hypnotherapist in Malaysia?
Get answers to the following three questions:
1) Is this person a licensed health professional? Be aware that hypnosis certificates and vanity letters after the person’s name such as C. Ht. ("certified hypnotherapist") mean nothing in terms of clinical qualifications. In Malaysia, A licensed clinical hypnotherapist should be registered with the professional body in Malaysia: The Association of Hypnotherapy Practitioners, Malaysia (AHPM)

2) Does this person have formal training and significant experience in clinical hypnosis and psychology field? Using hypnosis with good success requires considerable skill and knowledge. In general, 50 hours or more of certified workshop training in hypnosis would be good, although less is sometimes adequate.

3) Does this person know the details of successful hypnosis treatment protocols for IBS? Hypnosis in itself is probably not sufficient to treat IBS effectively. Specific gut-directed hypnotherapy method need to be included.


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