Traditional medicine isn’t for everyone, and some IBS sufferers will struggle to locate any specific food that triggers their symptoms. For those who think that their abdominal pain and unusual bowel movements might be aggravated by anxiety or stress, alternative therapies like mediation and self-hypnosis can be useful techniques to learn.
Yoga is another alternative therapy of sorts that many IBS sufferers use to promote mindfulness, beat stress and relax the body in similar ways to both meditation and self-hypnosis. Lots of IBS sufferers combine meditation or self-hypnosis with other treatments and diet plans to help themselves feel better.
Meditation can really improve IBS sufferers’ symptoms – this has been proven quite clearly in recent studies. The practice of ‘being present’ and concentrating deeply on breathing patterns and bodily sensations is thought to help alleviate pain in sufferers of IBS and other painful conditions like arthritis. The idea is that when we act with a full and undivided sense of awareness, we can forget the past and stop worrying about the future – two major culprits where stress and anxiety are concerned. Meditation classes are becoming increasingly popular, and you should be able to find a course (normally around eight weeks in length) in your home town or at least nearby. As it’s a relatively low-tech activity, classes can be very affordable, too. Meditation courses are also available to purchase as downloads to listen to as you meditate at home – not a bad way to try it out before taking a course. Self-hypnosis CDs and MP3s can be purchased and downloaded cheaply and easily for home self-hypnosis.
Hypnosis, like meditation, is a form of creative relaxation. A hypnosis CD will begin by encouraging you to visualise situations that bring about a sense of calm and safety, before gently coaching you in the art of awareness. Forget the trance-like escapades of stage hypnosis – this is about remaining present whilst relaxing the mind intensely. A relaxed mind leads to a relaxed body, and this can be great news for IBS sufferers, especially those whose symptoms are exacerbated by stress. Self-hypnosis sessions for IBS will teach you how to control and alleviate the stress that can trigger spasms and cramps with your subconscious mind.
Self-hypnosis is usually a more affordable option than sessions with a hypnotherapist, and it’s a good option for those who might find the stress of attending a hypnotherapy session actually exacerbates their symptoms.
But self hypnosis can also be taught by specially trained healthcare professionals and a formal gut-related self hypnosis course has been developed specifically for sufferers of IBS. This course has been tested in rigorous scientific studies and has been shown to help people when done properly.