Hypnotherapy and the Low-FODMAP Diet for IBS

Sep 05, 2022

Are you looking to improve your digestion and heal the body from within?

When is comes to dealing with irritable bowel syndrome, you may be feeling a little lost in the vast sea of diets, medications, lifestyle changes and treatments, and trying everything you can to regain a sense of normal in your daily life again.

Never lose hope in your body’s ability to heal itself, even though things can seem overwhelming. There is new research being done on IBS, and there are definitely things you can do to help improve your body and mind, so you can feel better on a daily basis. Not everything is going to work for everyone, but when you find that thing that works for you, it is totally worth it!

An interesting randomized clinical trial conducted by Dr Simone Peters at Monash University studied the efficacy of gut-directed hypnotherapy for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome compared with the low FODMAP diet. In this study, seventy-four participants with IBS were randomized to receive either the low FODMAP diet, gut-directed hypnotherapy, or a combination of both.  They tracked their results over six weeks, and six months later. 


What did they discover?

In both treatment groups, improvements in quality of life and IBS symptoms were seen in over 70% of participants. The symptoms they measured included bloating, abdominal pain, bowel movement satisfaction, nausea and wind. They found that gut-directed hypnotherapy is equally as effective in improving gastrointestinal symptoms as the low FODMAP diet, and the hypnosis group additionally reported a decrease in anxiety and depression.


What does this mean?

People can achieve significant symptom reduction without having to change what they eat or go on a restrictive diet. This is great news for you if:

  • You’ve tried changing your diet and you’re still struggling with your symptoms.

  • You have restricted your diet, and now want to reintroduce new foods or enjoy a wider variety of foods and feel better!

  • You feel really anxious about your food choices and want to heal your relationship with food and repattern your internal response patterns.

  • Hypnotherapy is a great alternative if you notice that stress and anxiety make your symptoms worse or trigger flare ups.

  • If you have a history of disordered eating, gut-directed hypnotherapy can be a safer alternative than going on a highly restrictive diet.


Research and Studies

There is a growing literature of research showing that gut-directed hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. The Manchester group in the UK did research on 1000 patients and found that 76% of patients that received gut-directed hypnotherapy improved their symptom severity by almost half. Other studies reported improvements in symptoms by up to 75% .


Have you tried making dietary changes, and it didn’t work for you?

When it comes to managing your symptoms of IBS, maybe you’ve noticed that one day you eat something and you feel fine, and the next day you eat the exact same thing and you feel horrible all day.

Sometimes… It’s not what you eat. There may be something deeper going on under the surface, like a miscommunication between the brain and gut.  Hypnotherapy helps address the brain-gut axis and relaxes the nervous system to support your digestion working better and more efficiently, with long-lasting results. This evidence based treatment has been shown to improve motility, reduce hypersensitivity in the gut, and reduce symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and food anxiety.

When it comes to healing the body, it’s important that we take a holistic approach.  As we know, stress and anxiety can play a major role in our digestive health. So many parts of us are interconnected, and we can’t just isolate one thing, but we should instead look at it as a whole.  Improving the way you eat so you can feel your best, eating for vitality, health and long-term wellbeing is a beautiful way of improving your quality of life and energy.  Keeping your body healthy with movement, incorporating self-care and creating balance will help you feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. 

Peters SL, Yao CK, Philpott H, Yelland GW, Muir JG, Gibson PR. Randomised clinical trial: the efficacy of gut-directed hypnotherapy is similar to that of the low FODMAP diet for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Sep;44(5):447-59. doi: 10.1111/apt.13706. Epub 2016 Jul 11. PMID: 27397586.

Miller V, Carruthers HR, Morris J, Hasan SS, Archbold S, Whorwell PJ. Hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome: an audit of one thousand adult patients. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2015 May;41(9):844-55. doi: 10.1111/apt.13145. Epub 2015 Mar 4. PMID: 25736234.

Receive free tips to transform your gut and heal your mind-body connection. Join our online newsletter community today!