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Can Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy Help Irritable Bowel Syndrome? - Women's Health

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Can Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy Help Irritable Bowel Syndrome?  Women's Health


Imagine this: You’re sitting on the deck of a wooden cottage. The sun is yet to rise, the cold air feels fresh and birdsong peppers the quiet around you. You step off the deck and walk down a path to a river. The water is flowing gently and smoothly, with no obstructions from rubble or rocks. It’s moving along at just the right pace…

Suddenly, your eyes snap open as your train neighbour spills coffee down his shirt. Headphones out; you’ll come back to this scene later. Ah, yes, sorry, this isn’t the start of a nature retreat story. The peaceful river is part of a specific guided hypnosis, one that’s designed to help settle your bowel troubles.

“That’s an example of a visualisation I’d use with my patients – the flow of the river acts as a representation of the flow of their gut, allowing the patient to change it according to their needs. Another example would be asking them to imagine going to a pharmacy and swallowing a specific medicine that provides a protective coating in the gut, thus resulting in reduced symptoms,” says Dr Simone Peters, founder of the Mind + Gut Clinic in Melbourne and a gastroenterology researcher at Monash University. A leading expert in hypnotherapy that targets gut issues – known as gut-directed hypnotherapy – she is also the head of clinical content at Nerva, a digital therapeutic that delivers a six-week program of the approach via an app.

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