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Family Practice News, Volume 37, Issue 19, Page 35 (1 October 2007)

Hypnotherapy Beats Standard IBS Care for Kids

John R. Bell

WASHINGTON -- Children and adolescents with functional abdominal pain or irritable bowel syndrome who were treated with hypnotherapy were cured of their illness in significantly greater numbers than were children given standard medical treatment in a randomized, controlled trial presented at the Dr. Arine M. Vlieger of St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, the Netherlands and her colleagues randomly assigned 53 patients (mean age 13 years) with functional abdominal pain (FAP) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to either hypnotherapy or standard medical therapy (SMT).

Hypnotherapy consisted of six half-hour sessions based on the Manchester protocol of gut-directed hypnotherapy, conducted over 3 months (27 patients). The hypnotherapy sessions started with relaxation and abdominal breathing exercises. Other sessions dealt with control of gut function, pain control, and thinking relaxing thoughts. The children in this arm were asked to practice the techniques twice daily. SMT comprised pain medication and avoidance of pain triggers, plus six half-hour sessions of supportive therapy (25 patients); 1 patient did not complete therapy.

Three-fourths of the patients were female, and the mean duration of the abdominal complaints was 3.4 years.

The investigators found that immediately after therapy, 59% of patients given hypnotherapy were cured (defined as having a greater than 80% improvement in pain scores), compared with 12% of patients given SMT. At 1 year, the difference remained, with 85% and 25% classified as cured, respectively.

The proportions of patients who reported no effect of treatment (defined as less than 30% improvement in pain scores) were 56% of the SMT group and 15% of the hypnosis group after therapy; at 1 year, the figures were 46% for SMT patients and 4% for those given hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy has been used successfully in adults with IBS, and "the quality of life in these children [pretreatment] is comparable to [that of] those with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis," Dr. Vlieger said at a press conference.

 

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Hypnotherapy for IBS.

By: Evans, Jeff
Publication: Internal Medicine News
Date: Monday, December 1 2003

Hypnotherapy may offer patients 1-5 years of relief from the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, reported Dr. Wendy M. Gonsalkorale and her colleagues at the University Hospital of South Manchester (England).

They analyzed questionnaire responses from 204 patients who had been treated with up to 12 weekly sessions of "gut-directed" hypnotherapy at least 1 year before (range, 1 year to more than 5 years). Overall, 71% of the patients described their IBS symptoms as "very much better" or "moderately better" after hypnotherapy; none reported worsening of symptoms (Gut 52[11]:1623-29, 2003).

Their symptoms improved immediately after hypnotherapy and remained improved at follow-up. Patients who continued to use a hypnotherapy tape did not have fewer symptoms than those who did not.