Gut Hypnotherapy: similar results to a low FODMAP diet!
Updated: Jul 24
The Low FODMAP diet is a great way of managing FODMAP issues and/or Irritable Bowel Syndrome but did you know there is a nod diet way of also doing this?
It has been well known for sometime that hypnotherapy designed for or the gut is just as useful as the Low FODMAP diet! This can be an excellent mode of treatment, either on its own or with dietary changes.
GUT DIRECTED HYPNOTHERAPY.
Hypnotherapy directed at the gut is a way of teaching the sub conscious mind to manage symptoms such as tummy pain, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
Typically, gut directed therapy involves presentation of how your gut can be protected followed by a transition to an altered consciousness state (in which you are fully aware of what is going on) when your subconscious mind is provided a different repertoire of gut responses different to the negative gut responses you have been experiencing. This process seems to be able to provide some 'thought protection' to your gut and reduce your upsetting gut symptoms.
While at first this may sound somewhat unusual, the results of this mind imagery has been shown in a number of well controlled research studies to improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms in 70 - 80% of cases. Most importantly, this symptom relief is maintained over time (1).
Gut directed hypnotherapy is seen to be just as effective as the low FODMAP diet yet despite this is less well known and understood.
In one interesting study, both those who did the Low FODMAP diet had just as good gut outcomes as those treated with the gut directed therapy or a 3rd group treated with a low FODMAP diet as well as the gut directed hypnotherapy (2)!
It is not known exactly how gut directed therapy protects against the debilitating effects of IBS but the very strong connection of the brain and the gut (gut-brain axis) is likely to play a crucial role. The brain and gut work closely together continuously to promote smooth operation and coordination of the gut.
This interaction works in a bilateral direction meaning information moves up and down between the brain and the gut through a variety of ways including nerves and body chemicals such as neurotransmitters.
Central to this axis is also the gut microbiome, the trillions of bacteria that reside in our gut. Although this is a complex interplay, it is easy to see how coming in from different angles, be it altering food into the gut, taking probiotics or altering perception within the body can all potentially improve outcomes.
Gut directed therapy works equally well as the low FODMAP diet and is at least as good as some of the recent and expensive pharmacological options, with the added benefit of no known side effects (3).
While you can access gut directed therapy via specialised psychologists and hypnotherapist, there are some great apps around that can also allow for self directed gut hypnotherapy with as little as 10 minutes per day.
Is gut directed therapy for you? It does work better for some people that others, and if stress is a big predictor of how your gut is feeling, maybe some gut hypnotherapy could be just the thing to help you manage your irritable bowel symptoms.
1. Monash Low FODMAP Dietitian Course 2018
2. Peters, S.L., et al., 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. 44(5): p. 447-59.
3. Lindfors, P., et al., Effects of gut-directed hypnotherapy on IBS in different clinical settings—results from two randomized, controlled trials. Am J Gastroenterol, 2011. 107(2): p. 276-285.