Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a long-term ('chronic'), relapsing, and often life-long disorder, as defined by NICE in 2008.
People with IBS often have tummy ('abdominal') pain or discomfort which is associated with opening their bowels, or they experience a change in bowel habit (constipation, diarrhoea, or both). Having to go to the toilet lots ('frequency') and in a hurry ('urgency') are also common problems.
People with IBS also often experience bloating and cramping. It in not uncommon for IBS sufferers to have to own several different sized clothes in order to deal with the varying size of their tummy.
IBS is what is known as a functional disorder: there is no disease process which is causing the symptoms. The cause of IBS is not known, although many people do begin to get symptoms after a bout of sickness, such as diarrhoea and vomiting (often gastroenteritis) or an extreme emotional upset. Other people do not know exactly when their IBS began, but are able to pinpoint triggers which set off their symptoms. One trigger which almost all IBS sufferers experience is anxiety. Anxiety can also be a symptom.
When the mind is stressed, such as in anxiety, the body is in 'fight or flight'. Your body is preparing to fight, or run away from what is threatening you. In order to keep you alive, blood is diverted to your essential organs: your heart, lungs and brain. Our ancestors would have survived through using the options of 'fight' or 'flight'. A third element of the sympathetic nervous system is 'freeze' or 'fright': a person is frozen into inaction by the stress. This is the most common of the three in today's society, as many of us have not learned to deal with a stress which isn't going to kill us immediately, a stress which our ancestors would not have experienced. And the stress hormones remain in our bodies, rather than being used up in the 'fight or flight' scenarios.
It is not useful to be fighting for your life whilst digesting your Sunday roast, and the blood flow is better used to aid the fight or the flight away. This reduction in bowel blood flow may account for constipation or diarrhoea in IBS.
'Rest and digest' is the opposite state to 'fight or flight'. When you relax, bowel blood flow is restored, and digestion recommenced.
Hypnosis is a natural state, rather like daydreaming. We all go into hypnosis, or 'trance', several times a day, particularly when we lose track of time when using the internet, chatting, reading or watching TV. It is not 'sleep, and you remain in control.
Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to help you relax and focus your attention. It is a powerful tool, using imagination to create positive change. Therapeutic techniques are delivered when you are in hypnosis to help you to take direct control of your IBS.
Just by being in hypnosis, you are restoring the bowel blood flow, and improving your symptoms.
Hypnotherapy allows you to experience, rather than just picture something in your mind's eye.
By bypassing the critical chatter which many of us have in our heads, hypnotherapy can lead you to a better, happier and healthier life. One that you choose.
Carl Jung said, 'I am not what happened to me; I am what I CHOOSE to become'. Notice that he didn't say 'chose'. Each moment, you can choose how you respond to challenges in your life.
Not despite what has happened in your past, but because of it, you will succeed.