Patients who go through a mind-body educational course are better able to manage irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a new study headed by Dr. Emeran Mayer, professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics this week.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a collection of symptoms, including stomach pain and diarrhea, that don’t have a known inflammatory component like inflammatory bowel disease.m, which affect up to 15 percent of the population.
The patients were given a group education program, of two-hour sessions once a week for five weeks. The discussions centered on the role of the brain in regulating digestion, how responses to stressful events can affect IBS, and strategies to better manage symptoms.
The benefits of the course although modest, matched the results typically seen from taking medications, ‘The program doesn’t work for everybody’, said Mayer, but for others “it changed their lives.”
The researchers couldn’t describe exactly how patients’ lives were changed, but those in the study reported having somewhat less severe symptoms and a higher quality of life after they went through the program.
This supports the positive findings of research into IBS and hypnosis published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology (2012; 107:276–285 Effects of Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy on IBS in Different Clinical Settings—Results From Two Randomized, Controlled Trials)
This and the other research in the field is very welcome, it allows this amazing scientifically based field to take its rightful place in health care, rather than being easily dismissed as some flakey hippy nonsense.