Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep or unconsciousness, but creates a hyper-attentive and hyper-responsive mental state. When a person is hypnotized, they are in an enhanced state of awareness, concentrating entirely on the hypnotherapist's voice. In this state, the conscious mind is suppressed and the subconscious mind is more open to suggestion. The hypnotherapist then suggests ideas, concepts and lifestyle changes to the person that become implanted into the subconscious mind, allowing change to happen easily.
IBS is often treated with medication, changes in diet, and stress reduction. Many IBS sufferers report that stressful situations cause their symptoms of IBS to become more severe.
Although there is no cure for IBS at this time, hypnosis has been shown to reduce stress and improve the symptoms of IBS in both the short-term and long-term. Research on the long-term follow up of those who have benefited from hypnosis for IBS shows that after a period of between 1 and 5 years, most remain well, with many requiring no further medication at all.