There is an excellent Irritable Bowel Syndrome gut-directed self-hypnosis program - the IBS Audio Program 100™ - that was developed through ten years of ongoing IBS research by Michael Mahoney, one of the United Kingdom's leading clinical hypnotherapists.
Mahoney has over 13 years experience as a hypnotherapist, now specializes in treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients, and is regularly referred patients by gastroenterologists and family care physicians. He is an associate member of the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology, a worldwide organization. (He has also developed a wonderful gut-specific hypnotherapy program just for children with IBS.)
Mahoney's IBS hypnosis program follows a scheduled 100 day treatment period and is conducted on your own time in your own home. The IBS Audio Program 100™ is successful for over 80% of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients who use it, and the reduction in symptoms (such as diarrhea, constipation, pain, gas, bloating, and nausea) and their severity averages 80-90% for these users.
It's interesting to note the significant difference in success rates for this IBS-specific (gut-directed) self-hypnosis program versus general hypnotherapy tapes. In contrast to Mahoney's 80-90% success rate, general hypnotherapy tapes featuring standard relaxation techniques and visualization exercises have only produced an average 57% improvement rate for IBS patients. While any improvement is certainly better than none at all, it's clear that the benefits are far greater from a gut-directed hypnosis program specifically developed for and aimed at Irritable Bowel Syndrome (spastic colon).
Most impressively, Mahoney's statistics arise from studies with patients who were given no relief whatsoever from conventional medical therapy people who were, in fact, referred by gastroenterologists who had exhausted all other potential avenues of help. The incomparable success rates for the tapes are likely due to Mahoney's in-depth study and understanding of both IBS and hypnotherapy, which results in reducing anxiety, stress and fears directly related to IBS attacks, and increasing patient confidence, self esteem, and management of IBS-specific symptoms.
The IBS method of hypnotherapy developed by Mahoney is gut-specific, and termed "on-going progressive session induction."™ This method was created upon the basis that as a patient responds and improves, something new must continue to happen in therapy to help the patient achieve further results. Experience has shown that if the process remains the same, the patient is more likely to become stalled at some stage of the treatment. Particularly, the sounds and words used in therapy initially, when IBS symptoms are present, can become associated with this negative state of health and mind. These same sounds and words should not continue to be used throughout the therapy because the negative associations can then become anchored onto the healing methods, which will eventually limit the progress of the patient.
 Michael Mahoney has been in hypnotherapy practice since 1987 and is affiliated with the Guardian Medical Centre in Warrington, Cheshire, England. Guardian Medical Centre is a purpose-built five partner NHS (National Health Service) training practice. In addition to training doctors and providing doctors' services, the medical center houses an operating theatre, community nurses, and other medical professionals.
Audiotape Hypnotherapy Treats Irritable Bowel. Medical Tribune 40(11):13, 1999.