Hypnosis for IBS
I have tried pretty much every ‘alternative’ treatment to help manage my wellness, specifically my mental health, and more recently, my IBS. I spent several months a while back practicing hypnosis with my therapist. My therapist was highly trained in hypnosis (among a number of other ‘specialty’ treatments). I have spent almost six years with her and I trust her completely. However, after several attempts, we determined that perhaps my mind was just a bit too busy to truly surrender to the idea of hypnosis. Surrender is sort of the key, as is trust.
The trust was there, but I think I had it in my mind that my therapist was going to somehow take over my body and I was going to be left with little to no control. I am a control freak and the idea that I was going to be ‘put under’, scared the crap out of me. After speaking with her and doing some research, I discovered that the idea of the swinging watch and the ‘you are getting very sleepy’ thing we see on TV, is not exactly how it works.
Finding the source of unrest
It’s more about relaxation and helping to focus the mind on any number of things, depending on what you want to accomplish. Some people have found that hypnosis helps with smoking cessation, alcohol and substance abuse, anxiety, depression, PTSD…I could go on. I have read several pieces of literature recently that shows that hypnosis can be quite helpful for IBS. I wondered how that worked exactly. When I asked my therapist about it, her answer was interesting.
She explained that the hypnosis would not be working directly on the specific physiological issue so much as the underlying distress, worry, tension and anxiety that can contribute to IBS. She also explained that one or two sessions probably wouldn’t show much result and that this was something we might need to work on for a while. So, instead of focusing on the very specific mental health related subjects we normally focus on, we worked specifically towards the source of my unrest. Why was it so difficult for me to relax? Where was my happy place? What triggered my stress? What helped relieve it? She was right, however. I would leave each session feeling pretty relaxed and quite peaceful. That would last a couple of hours until something stirred me up and of course, when that happens, I almost immediately start having some kind of stomach reaction.
Another fantastic tool
As the weeks went by, we continued with the hypnosis as part of every session. Maybe 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Whatever my therapist thought I was prepared for that day. Every week, the relaxed feeling seemed to last a bit longer. I was more easily able to find a peaceful spot to sit in. And…that’s it. No magic, no great epiphany. Just more relaxed, and more importantly, I had a new tool to be able to induce relaxation. Much like meditation or yoga, but more...uh...clinical. You have someone guiding you and it is a much less a solitary endeavor. I guess the conclusion I came to was this was another fantastic tool to add to your ‘Wellness Toolbox’. The more things we have to help us manage the IBS, the better. I believe this may be one more way to put us in a much better place to deal with our IBS.
Did you start experiencing IBS symptoms before adulthood?