Intestinal Microbiome in Irritable Bowel Syndrome before and after Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy
This is the first paper to ever study the potential effect of hypnotherapy on gut microbiome. The study was limited by a small sample size (38 IBS patients), lack of control subjects and some difficulties in data collection about diets.
Faecal samples were collected from a heterogeneous groups of IBS patients of males and females with varying severity and symptoms from constipation to diarrhea.
Assays were conducted before and after 10 weekly group sessions of Gut-directed hypnotherapy. An RNA heatmap showed microbial characteristics appeared to remain largely unchanged after the invention of hypnotherapy. Bacterial diversity remained stable and none of the observed changes in abundance were significant after controlling for multiple testing. Nevertheless, the majority of patients did experience marked reductions in severity of IBS symptoms leading the researchers to hypothesise that hypnotherapy acts at higher levels of brain gut axis including psychological mechanisms and modulation of processing of interoceptive stimuli.