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Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy for IBS

Expert Hypnotherapy for IBS treatment (Gut Directed Hypnotherapy), based in Cambridge, UK and online

What is IBS Hypnotherapy?

IBS Hypnotherapy, also called Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy, is a powerful, scientifically proven IBS treatment that uses hypnosis and visualisation to reprogramme disrupted gut-brain connections to reduce gut sensitivity and relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms.

How Does Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy Work?

IBS Hypnotherapy effectively treats IBS by targeting the communication between your brain and digestive system:

  • Your brain is always monitoring your digestive system, even when you’re not eating.

  • In IBS, the brain becomes overly sensitive to signals from the intestines, leading to IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, irregular bowel habits, etc.

  • Hypnosis works by retraining the brain’s response to these signals by utilising hypnotherapy techniques such as hypnotic visualisations and positive suggestions. This process helps alleviate pain and discomfort while also restoring normal gut function.

How Effective Is Hypnotherapy For IBS?

Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy is one of the most effective IBS treatments. Research studies repeatedly find that hypnotherapy works for 71-80% of IBS patients. Below are the findings of two out of many studies that demonstrate a high success rate of hypnotherapy in treating IBS.

In Professor Olafur Palsson’s 2006 study, IBS symptoms improved in over 80% of patients. In Gonsalkorale et al.’s 2003 study,  71% of patients experienced IBS symptom relief. 

How Long Do The Benefits Of IBS Hypnotherapy Last?

IBS hypnotherapy has long-lasting benefits. Research studies show that 73-81% of patients experience relief for at least 4 to 5 years after completing Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy treatment. In a small minority of cases where IBS symptoms do return, they are very mild and easily manageable.

Gut Directed Hypnotherapy for IBS long term effect

Hypnotherapy For IBS:
Globally Recognised and Approved

IBS hypnotherapy is recognised and recommended by many authoritative international medical bodies, including:

  • The British Society of Gastroenterology
  • The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
  • The American Gastroenterological Association
  • The American College of Gastroenterology
  • The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
  • The Japanese Society of Gastroenterology

Who Can Benefit From Hypnotherapy For IBS?

Hypnotherapy is a suitable treatment option for a diverse range of IBS patients, regardless of their symptom severity or the duration of their condition.

Adults and Children

Patients of all ages and genders respond to hypnotherapy treatment of IBS.

Severe IBS Cases

Individuals with severe IBS symptoms respond to hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy for IBS

Low Responder Patients

Patients who haven’t responded to other IBS treatments respond to IBS hypnotherapy.

Varying Hypnotisability Patients

People who do not enter a full hypnotic state and experience a partial level of being hypnotised respond well to IBS hypnotherapy.

Additional benefits of IBS hypnotherapy​

Reduced anxiety and stress

Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy has been shown to alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress related to IBS, breaking the negative feedback loop that can exacerbate IBS symptoms.

Improved digestive function and nutritional status

By promoting healthy eating habits, Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy helps restore normal digestive function in IBS patients, leading to better nutrient absorption and reduced nutritional deficiencies.

Enhanced sleep quality

IBS-related discomfort often contributes to poor sleep quality. As IBS symptoms improve through hypnotherapy, patients experience better sleep, which in turn further reduces discomfort, elevates mood and energy levels, and boosts overall feelings of well-being.

Increased self-confidence

IBS can lead to low self-esteem and lower confidence due to its impact on daily life activities, such as socialising or exercising. Hypnotherapy helps IBS patients regain confidence, allowing them to enjoy activities they once loved and feel more in control of their lives.

Increased productivity

IBS can impede concentration and productivity. Research indicates that IBS sufferers experience a 21% decline in work productivity, equivalent to a loss of one work day a week. As hypnotherapy helps alleviate IBS symptoms, it positively impacts productivity, allowing patients to work more efficiently and effectively.

Is Virtual Hypnotherapy For IBS as Effective As In-person?

Hypnotherapy for IBS virtual consultation

Online hypnotherapy for IBS is as effective as face-to-face sessions.

A study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis in 2019 found that there was no statistically significant difference between virtual hypnotherapy and face-to-face hypnotherapy; both groups of patients reported improvements in IBS symptoms.

Virtual hypnotherapy has the advantages of being more convenient and flexible to fit around your lifestyle, not needing you to leave home and potentially feeling more comfortable in your own environment.

Specialist Training In IBS

Trained and approved provider of three leading IBS Hypnotherapy methods:

  • The North Carolina Approach
  • The Manchester Approach
  • The Bremner Method

Specialist Memberships

  • Member of the BSCAH Neuro-Gastroenterology Interest Group
  • Member of the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology


  • Over 30 years of clinical experience

Professional Qualifications

  • Advanced Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis, Staffordshire University, 2011
  • Master of Science degree in Psychobiology of Stress and Stress Management, University of Surrey, 2004
  • Diploma in Osteopathy, British School of Osteopathy, London, 1985
  • Certificate in Pain Reprocessing Therapy, 2022

Hypnotherapy Registration

  • Registered with The British Society for Clinical and Academic Hypnosis (BASCH)

Recognised Expertise

  • Authored numerous scientific publications
  • Presented at national and international conferences
  • Editor and author of a book and book chapters

Flexible and Accessible Treatment Options

  • Available for in-person hypnotherapy at Cambridge, UK clinic
  • Available for virtual hypnotherapy sessions online

Hypnotherapist in Cambridge

IBS Specialist Hypnotherapist
Alan Szmelskyj

DO, MSc, Adv Dip Clin Hyp, FRSPH

At CAM Therapies, you will be under the care of a highly experienced, dedicated and compassionate professional, Alan Szmelskyj. His expertise, combined with his commitment to his clients and staying at the forefront of research and innovation, ensures that you will receive the best possible treatment and support.

The Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy Treatment Process

A typical IBS hypnotherapy treatment course consists of 7 to 12 sessions, conducted on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

At CAM Therapies, our specialist IBS Hypnotherapy treatment course begins with an in-depth consultation, during which our highly qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Alan Szmelskyj, will take a comprehensive medical history, evaluate your symptoms, and explain the treatment process.

Alan’s unique blend of qualifications, including an Advanced Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis, Certificate in Pain Reprocessing Therapy, Diploma in Osteopathy, and a Master of Science degree in Psychobiology of Stress and Stress Management, along with over 30 years of clinical experience, enables him to conduct a thorough, multifaceted assessment, delving into every aspect of your health. For example, if he suspects a physical cause contributing to your symptoms, he may carry out a targeted osteopathic examination; if he identifies high stress levels, he could explore stress management techniques; or if he suspects neuroplastic brain changes, he may incorporate Pain Reprocessing Therapy into your treatment plan. This approach will enhance and complement Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy, increasing the likelihood of you responding well to treatment.

By taking into account your medical history, physical condition, and psychological state, Alan will devise the most effective and personalized treatment plan for you, combining hypnotherapy with other relevant approaches, to ensure you receive the best possible care tailored to your specific needs.

In the first couple of treatment sessions, building on the insights gained during the initial consultation, we will guide you through hypnotic induction and focused relaxation exercises tailored to your unique needs. By incorporating elements from your medical history, physical condition, and psychological state, we ensure a personalized and effective treatment approach to each session.

Our goal during these early sessions is to establish a strong therapeutic connection with you, foster a sense of trust, and create a comfortable environment for your healing journey. We’ll also work on easing your stress and teaching you relaxation techniques that can help you become more receptive to the healing process. This solid foundation sets the stage for the targeted Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy and any additional complementary approaches identified during the initial consultation, maximizing the potential for a successful treatment outcome.

Hypnotherapy for IBS consultation

From sessions 3 to 12, we will focus on implementing gut-directed techniques to empower you to take control of your gut function. These techniques, specifically designed based on the insights from your initial consultation and early sessions, will be tailored to address your individual needs and concerns.

Utilising a diverse array of methods, such as visualization, direct suggestions, and other evidence-based approaches, we’ll create a customized therapeutic experience that targets the root causes of your IBS symptoms. This personalized strategy ensures that each session builds upon the previous one, maximizing the impact of the therapy.

Throughout these sessions, we’ll closely monitor your progress, providing support and guidance as you navigate your healing journey. By continuously evaluating your response to the treatment, we’ll make any necessary adjustments to our approach, ensuring that the therapy remains effective and relevant to your evolving needs.

Our ultimate goal during these sessions is to equip you with the tools and techniques to manage your IBS symptoms, instilling confidence in your ability to maintain lasting improvements in your gut health and overall well-being.

Hypnotherapy for IBS induction

As part of your treatment, we will provide you with recorded audio to support your daily practice. This valuable resource enables you to refine your skills between therapy sessions, reinforcing the techniques you have learned and giving you the power to manage your IBS symptoms. By committing to regular practice at home, you will accelerate your progress and maximize the overall success of the treatment.

Hypnotherapy for IBS audio recording

Gut Directed Hypnotherapy

Is Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy safe?

Yes, it is. There are no risks associated with IBS hypnotherapy if it is administered by a qualified clinical hypnotherapist.

Do I need to have a certain level of hypnotizability to respond to Gut-DIrected Hypnotherapy for IBS?

No. Research shows that 85% of people can get into at least a light trance state, which is enough to see a benefit from hypnosis for IBS. For some people, a hypnotic state is very similar to day dreaming, and this is enough to induce a positive change.

Can Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy be used alongside other forms of IBS treatment?

Yes, Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy can be used as an adjunct to other forms of IBS treatment. Indeed, research shows that hypnotherapy may improve patients’ response to other interventions, such as medication.


IBS Hypnotherapy
Illustrative Case Studies

Explore illustrative case studies that demonstrate how Gut Directed Hypnotherapy can transform lives.

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Hypnotherapy for IBS
Alan Szmelskyj DO, MSc, Adv Dip Clin Hyp, FRSPH

How Does Gut Directed Hypnotherapy For IBS Work?

Discover Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy, a scientifically validated IBS treatment that provides long-term IBS relief. Learn about its unique approach, the scientific evidence base, how it compares to other IBS treatments, how to find a qualified Gut Directed Hypnotherapist, and what to expect throughout the treatment process.

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