I Tried Hypnosis for My IBS and It Worked

Have you ever thought of trying hypnosis as a remedy to heal an ailment? Most people hear “hypnosis” and associate it with magic or what is shown in movies, but in some cases it can be an effective tool for health.

In a post on the NCCIH’s Research Blog, Dr. David Spiegel, Stanford University, said about “15 percent of the population is highly hypnotizabl,” which can be useful in how a person reacts to and perceives medical care and treatment.

Sally Jones, 21, of Troy, Mich., was treated with hypnosis by her doctor in an attempt to manage her ongoing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I had the chance to sit down with Sally and gain a better understanding of her experience:

Q: How long have you had IBS?
A: Symptoms fluctuate with periods of stress, but my IBS has been persisting over years.

Q: What did your doctor recommend when you visited?
A: My doctor recommended listening to standardized hypnosis treatment protocol.

Q: What was the hypnosis treatment like?
A: My doctor provided hypnosis CDs for each week. I was prescribed to listen to the audio once daily. It was a guided meditation that began with staring at a focus point on the ceiling. The audio instructs you to breathe deeply and relax your entire body. Most of the time I became hypnotized and was not able to recall what was said throughout the audio, but I always woke up at the end when he counts “3-2-1, you are fully awake.”

Q: Was this your first time being treated with hypnosis?
A: Yes. I was open minded to any type of treatment since IBS is not easily treated with medications.

Q: Did you visit a holistic doctor or just a family doctor?
A: Family doctor.

Q: What were your results?
A: My symptoms went from a seven to a three (on a scale of 1-10) within two weeks. I experienced much less discomfort after listening to the hypnosis. It gave me a general state of relaxation which also benefited other aspects of my life, as well.

Typically, hypnosis is used to treat pain, anxiety, and an overall control of one’s mind to improve perceptual processes. It has even been used to teach children to imagine themselves somewhere else during painful medical exams; resulting in a reduction of procedure time by 17 minutes. If you or someone you know is interested in trying hypnosis, please consult with a doctor.

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Photo credit: Angelina Truchan

Editor’s note: Sally Jones is a pseudonym for a real person. She preferred that we not use her real name to protect her privacy. 

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