Various forms of hypnosis, trance and altered states of consciousness have been documented in a number of cultures throughout history. Hypnosis-like practices can be traced to ancient Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Persia, Britain, Scandinavia, America, Africa, India and China. Wong Tai, a father of Chinese medicine, made an early written reference to hypnosis in 2600 BC. Hypnotic practices have played roles in religion and religious ceremonies. Mention is made in the Bible, Talmud and Hindu Vedas, and trance-states are included in some Native American and African ceremonies.
Early research suggests hypnotherapy may lower the sensory and motor component of the gastrocolonic response in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Better studies are necessary to make a conclusion.
In a new follow-up study, researchers evaluated the long-term effects of hypnotherapy on stomach pain and IBS in children. Fifty-two participants for a previous study were invited to complete a stomach pain diary and questionnaires.
All of the hypnotherapy patients from the previous study and 22 of the 25 supportive therapy patients participated. After an average 4.8 year follow-up period, 68 percent of the patients in the hypnotherapy group were in remission (more than an 80 percent improvement in pain scores). Twenty percent of the supportive therapy group patients were in remission. Furthermore, pain intensity and pain frequency scores were 2.8 and 2.3, respectively, for the hypnotherapy group, while scores were significantly higher in the supportive therapy group at 7.3 and 7.1.
The authors concluded that hypnotherapy may have long-term benefits for children with stomach pain and IBS. Further research is warranted.
For more information about integrative therapies for irritable bowel syndrome, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness Database.