Tuesday, 6 June 2017

How effective is gut-directed hypnotherapy in people with IBS?

Dr Simone Peters
PhD-Med, BSc(Psychophysiology)(Hons), Gut-Directed Clinical Hypnotherapist

Gut-directed hypnotherapy has recently emerged as a promising approach to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms in people with IBS. These symptoms include things like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation

During a session of gut-directed hypnotherapy the therapist provides suggestions for the control and normalisation of gastrointestinal function to the subconscious part of the mind. This includes metaphors like swallowing down medicine and imagining that this medicine provides healing and protection to the gastrointestinal tract. It differs from other psychological therapies given they’re aimed at the conscious mind.

Multiple well-controlled studies, including our own work here at Monash University, have shown that gut-directed hypnotherapy improves gastrointestinal symptoms in people with IBS by 70-80% and these improvements are maintained in the long-term.

Nonetheless, we don’t understand exactly how gut-directed hypnotherapy works other than to say that it has multiple potential mechanisms of action on the brain-gut axis. For example, gut-directed hypnotherapy has been shown to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms by improving motility (i.e. the speed of transit of food through the digestive tract) and reducing sensitivity. It has also been shown to improve psychological functioning by reducing levels of stress, anxiety and depression and enhancing overall quality of life.
Perhaps the most interesting finding of all is that gut-directed hypnotherapy is equally as effective in terms of improving gastrointestinal symptoms as the low FODMAP diet. This means that people can get the same level of symptom control without having to change what they eat. Impressive huh?

This combined evidence suggests that gut-directed hypnotherapy may be suitable as a primary therapy in some people with IBS. 


  1. I have been thinking about this for a long time but I have trouble finding a specialist I can really trust. I looked at the association in Quebec but it's hard to know whom to trust. Thanks for the blog.

    1. Hi So... In Quebec City, I recommand you Magali Binamé, a registered psychologist and hypnotherapist. She is very professional. I've seen her in the past months due to a burnout but also tried hypnotherapy for IBS. Can't explain it but it works!

  2. Thanks for a great article. How does one go about finding a Gut-Directed Clinical Hypnotherapist in one's local area? I imagine there aren't many of them out there!

  3. This is such encouraging news. I would be very interested in purchasing hypnotherapy recordings for use as personal meditations. Any chance that is in the works?

  4. What a fascinating finding. I would love to try hypnotherapy as an alternative treatment. Where would I get started in finding a practitioner of gut-directed hypnotherapy?

  5. i have done it, its great. i fell so much better.. i recommend it :-)

  6. Hello Simone have you seen the post on your blog by Dr Nick Read "So hypnotherapy is as effective as a low FODMAP diet for IBS. What does that mean?" See what you think at https://thesensitivegut.com/2017/06/12/so-hypnotherapy-is-as-effective-as-a-low-fodmap-diet-for-ibs-what-does-that-mean/

  7. I have found some nice hypnosis on youtube. Just search for stomach healing hypnosis or meditation

  8. I never realized it before, but I always loved sauerkraut and it always made my stomach upset.I always though it was normal, kinda like eating beans gives you gas.


  9. This one has some good reviews (I am not affiliated with the programme, I am just someone who has looked into this quite a bit for my own research) http://www.ibsaudioprogram.com/