A recent UK study suggests that hypnotherapy may be effective for people who suffer with duodenal ulcers.
Published in UK medical journal The Lancet, the study tested hypnotherapy to see if it would prevent relapses in people who suffer with the problem.
Duodenal ulcers occur in the upper part of the small intestine and are caused by acid and digestive juices damaging the mucous lining which leaves a wound. Ulcer symptoms include heartburn, sore throats and pain in the abdomen. People suffer symptoms typically a few hours after eating particularly when acidic foods have been consumed.
This latest study used 30 people with an average age of 40. 16 were men, 14 were women. Ulcers had been diagnosed by use of an endoscopy and participants experienced relapses with the most recent being within a six month period.
Treatment of the ulcers for all participants included the drug 'ranitidine'. Ulcers were given time to heal (as highlighted by a further endoscopy) and patients were given the medication for a further ten weeks.
Patients were then divided into two groups with one receiving hypnotherapy for seven session plus a recording of each session to listen to at home. The second group had no hypnosis treatment. Patients were taken off medication and given follow-up reviews every three months for a year. The hypnotherapy group continued with hypnosis sessions.
During the hypnotherapy sessions, patients were told to focus on the abdomen. Instructions were given to help relaxation of the area by imagining a sense of warmth which would control stomach acid secretion. The process involved visualisation techniques.
One year on, participants were reviewed and the ulcer relapse rate for those who received hypnosis was just 53% compared to 100% in the group who did not receive hypnotherapy.
This result was seen as significant and showed that people who suffer frequent duodenal ulcers can be helped with hypnosis. Alongside medication, hypnotherapy was shown to be an effective complementary therapy.