IBS, also referred to as spastic colon, is a chronic, disabling disorder of the gastro-intestinal tract characterized by symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. While studies indicate that it affects one in five people, the condition is twice as common in women as it is in men. A proper diagnosis should be made by one’s physician or gastroenterologist, as its symptoms can mimic those of several life threatening illnesses.
“Hypnosis should be the treatment of choice for all severe cases of IBS“
Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD. National Women’s Health Network
The Western Science Approach
Scientists suspect that hormones may play a role in the cause of IBS as well as changes in the nerves that control the muscles of the GI tract. Because the exact cause of IBS is not certain, western treatment focuses on the relief of symptoms using fiber therapy, antispasmodic medications and antidepressants. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, these therapies generate a 25% success rate. There is, however, overwhelming evidence that IBS symptoms respond to both hypnosis and acupuncture, both separately and in conjunction.
How Can Hypnosis Help My IBS?
In contrast to the rather low success rate for Allopathic Medicine, independent research has shown that, all by itself, hypnosis can do much better. One such study, from the Center for Functional G.I. and Mobility Disorders, an affiliate of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, has shown that hypnosis can reduce, or eliminate, between 80 to 90% of IBS symptoms. Today, research from this center continues with the assistance from the NIH (National Institute of Health). The Wall Street Journal, in its article on Medical hypnosis, points to two studies out of Sweden wherein one hour a week of hypnotherapy for 12 weeks eased symptoms of IBS in 40% of patients. This is a decidedly lower rate than those found in this country, but still far higher (a 60% higher success rate) than the 25% average for other treatments. You can read the WSJ article here. And please look at some of the serious studies done on hypnosis for IBS. Feel free to watch and participate in my six minute, introductory relaxation recording for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
How Can Acupuncture Help Cure IBS?
Research has shown that Acupuncture treatment alone may benefit IBS symptoms by:
- Providing pain relief (Pomeranz 1987)
- Regulating the motility of the digestive tract (Yin 2010, Chen 2008)
- Raising the sensory threshold of the gut. Various possible mechanisms have been identified, involving spinal nerves and NMDA receptors and a range of neurotransmitters (Xu 2009, Ma 2009, Tian 2006, Xing 2004). A lowered threshold to bowel pain and distention are hallmarks of IBS
- Increasing parasympathetic tone (Schneider 2007). Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, which can stimulate colon spasm, resulting in abdominal discomfort. In people with IBS, the colon can be oversensitive to the smallest amount of conflict or stress (fight or flight response). Acupuncture activates the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation or ‘rest and digest’ response.
- Reducing anxiety and depression (Samuels 2008). The distress provoked by IBS symptoms can lead to a vicious cycle of anxiety-pain-anxiety. At the same time the embarrassing nature of the condition can lead to feelings of depression. Acupuncture can alter the brain’s chemistry by increasing the production of serotonin and endorphins (Han 2004), thus helping to combat these negative affective states.
- Overall there is consistent evidence that a course in acupuncture improves IBS symptoms and general wellbeing (Anastasi 2009, Trujillo 2008, Reynolds 2008, Xing 2004)
The Goals of the Blue Phoenix IBS Program:
- Promote Healing on a core physical and chemical Level
- Release and Relieve Emotions or Feelings Associated with Stressful Situations
- Dislodge toxins that impede healing without the use of drugs
- Help You Develop New Lifestyle Changes
- Help you Adapt to Stressful Situations
Our three-pronged approach goes beyond any one modality for this complex issue. By utilizing hypnosis, acupuncture and, often, supplement therapy, our complete body/mind approach both reduces anxiety and stress, and repairs the body. As such, it should come as no surprise that our success rate in treating IBS is far closer to the findings at the U of North Carolina.
How The 3-part Program Works
You are ultimately in control of your treatment plan at all times. These are the benefits of using a 3-pronged approach:
1. Hypnosis and self-hypnosis facilitate behavioral change. You’ll be able to:
- A. Quickly shift into a relaxed state when encountering a moment of fear or uncertainty.
- B. Retrain your digestive process to either speed up for constipation, or to slow it down for diarrhea.
2. Calm the GI tract with acupuncture, relax the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) and ground your energy.
3. Nutrition Testing allows us to locate toxins in the body blocking the healing process and repair the damage with targeted supplements. See Nutrition Testing section.
How Will the Hypnosis Sessions Work?
At the first session I do an intake, answer the client’s concerns and we discuss the nature of the problem. If we proceed with hypnosis, our immediate goal is to release the symptoms of IBS. At that time, the client receives suggestions to help promote accelerated change. In addition to learning self-hypnosis, the client will receive a recording of a hypnosis session that can be downloaded onto a computer or an iPod.
How Many Sessions Will I need?
- The number of hypnosis sessions needed varies, but on average 5 to 7 sessions will suffice. The session are roughly 60 minutes long. We will support you through this process. During this process we set up self-hypnosis as a way for you to handle your condition no matter where or when it might arise.
- With acupuncture the treatment protocol is normally 12 sessions in length.
- Using a combination of Hypnosis, Acupuncture and targeted supplements may cut down the amount of time it takes to relieve the symptoms and the root of the problem.